Sandusky has been convicted and an investigation released last week found that Joe Paterno and others “looked the other way to save face and maintain the football program’s prestige.” Yesterday, Joe Paterno’s statue was removed from Penn State and the university has been hit with severe penalties.
I am thankful justice is being served, but I have to wonder: will pastors like Shaun King issue a retraction, rescind their support and apologize for defending Paterno?
I hope they do because what happened at Penn State is happening in the Church. Children are being sexually abused, their abusers protected and some Christian teachers are even advocating sexual oppression as Biblical.
Last week I watched as my friend Rachel Held Evans courageously confronted a misogynistic theology that says wifely submission extends to the marriage bed. This theology of oppression seeks to subdue, conquer and “colonize” and is far more prevalent than we imagine. The backlash Rachel received was telling. We are looking away from horrific evil in order to maintain the prestige of our religious programs and theology.
Rachel’s brave stand reminded me of my own battle against the wicked, violent teachings of Michael & Debi Pearl.
When I first started sharing my firsthand experience with their abusive “child-training” methods, I felt very alone. There were only a few of us telling our stories. I was threatened. I was shamed. But I continued to speak out because I knew children were suffering and dying. Yes, we were a small, “vocal minority” but we kept speaking. We kept marching around those walls and one day, the walls came down.
Horrific crimes against children are allowed to continue when people love their legacy more than justice, when they prefer to save face rather than confront perpetrators.
Women and children are being abused in the name of God and when bloggers like myself and Rachel speak out against this we are called godless, slanderers, gossips, book-burning thugs.
We are shamed. We are warned about “speaking against God’s anointed.” We are accused of being “shrill,” “emotional” and “angry.” Apparently, if we have a problem with violence-enabling theology, we should politely raise our hands and submissively whisper our question. We should never, ever get angry. In fact, maybe we should just shut up altogether. You know, like Paterno did.
No, we will not be quiet. No, we will not remain calm and dispassionate in the face of horrific evil.
And so, I say it’s time for those Christians who defended Paterno to apologize. It’s shameful that Christian men were given huge, Christian-based platforms whereby they rebuked us shaming words like: Don’t you know we’re ALLLLL Paterno?
I am disturbed by this harmful idea of “grace” that is gaining popularity today. It is an idea that precludes actual accountability and directly leads to the further endangerment of children.
I find this grace to be cheap, shoddy and a false substitute for true grace. True grace is just as relentless about truth-telling as it is about restoration.
Before broken things can be restored, there must come a necessary reckoning.
We can’t fix what’s broken until we understand what broke it.
As a survivor of religiously-sanctioned abuse, I will not be quiet. Will you?