A Tale of the Church Rapist
hen I was a believing Christian I had a cousin who was raped by a Church deacon and an elder in our church. The guy had recently paid for the new parking lot at our church. From what I recollect, the Pastor called a prayer meeting and then the elders stood around this fiend and prayed to cure him of his demons, then they prayed for god to forgive him, and there was a lying on of hands to heal his dark and shattered soul.
The next week the monster was sitting in his usual spot.
Now the Pastor who believes in God so much that he believes that saying a few prayers will "magically" cure a chronic pedophile rapist instead of holding the rapist accountable and handing him over to the authorities is just as bad as the rapist in my book. It wasn't until a couple of months later when four more families came out with the news that their eight year old girls had been complaining about the mean man touching them in their private places during Sunday school, or at his house during the adult Bible studies, that the pastor couldn't turn a blind eye any longer to the allegations.
Often times the phrase, "Hate the sin but love the sinner" gets thrown around liberally in Christian circles. How about this suggestion, hate the sin and get rid of the damn sinner and screw the damn parking lot. This all happened when I was 14 years old. I stayed a Christian for another 15 years. Looking back it had no bearing on my faith, although now I think it should have affected me more than it did. I was just too caught up in the whole "Jesus saves" business to worry about those whom Jesus wasn't saving.
The Pastor was eventually asked to leave, but the new guy, well he wasn't all that much better, nor really all that much worse, since he was genuinely delusional. He would have trances and then speak in tongues and hop around the podium on stage. Then he'd raise the Bible high, and say, "Yes Lord! I hear you!" And then he'd proceed to inform us as to the lord's message. A genuine vessel of God.
And to tell you the truth... I can't for the life of me tell you which one was the more scary.
And this all went on in my little unassuming Church. How many more churches I wonder experience this sort of thing but never make it public? Not a single local newspaper reported on these rapes. The court case was kept mum. To talk about it was to besmirch the churches name. I don't think they were intentionally trying to protect a rapist... it's just that everyone was so utterly dismayed that out of sight out of mind sounded best to them. But there is not fast track to healing something so damaging.
Literally, this event ruined lives... destroyed the lives of five little girls, shattered their families, fractured a community, and yet these sincere Christians, all because they were true believers, believed--truly believed in their heart of hearts--that God was loving enough to forgive the worst of men. The delusion runs thick.
And this annoys me to no end. I'll list a few types of Christians I simply can't tolerate (in no particular order): 1) The Christian who thinks God is all forgiving, 2) The Christian who thinks we're all sinners and that if it wasn't for God's saving grace it would have been that much worse, and 3) The Christian who thinks God is just and will punish the evil doers after they die by holding them accountable.
Yeah, tell that to the little girls who all got raped.
Well the rapist was a Christian. A depraved Christian but a Christian none-the-less. But part of the Christian premise is that we're all fallen and need of saving. It's a superstitious claim which, in part, lent itself to the horrors I spoke about. Yet if you think that rape in religion is simply a smattering of isolated incidents, think again. Christian Evangelical and also Baptist churches have a high level of rape also. Not to mention the commonly known cases in the Catholic Church. Here's a couple of articles for anyone who doubts rape is common place in Church and Holy Place, some food for thought:
This grim portrait of a rapist isn't so uncommon in Fundamentalist churches around the world. Religion has been proving excuses to oppress and abuse women for centuries, and rape is just one of its many tools. Rape is not only restricted to Christianity but is a standard fair in FLDS and in Islam as well (see: Out of the Shadows: A rape victim examines her life in and out of Mormonism by Pamela McCreary, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and A God Who Hates by Wafa Sultan).
My question to Christians would be: why the continued incidents? Is being fallen an excuse? No, it's not. These cases show one of the failures of religion--to make good on producing good people.
Of course the police were notified—but by the parents involved. I think mainly because the parents felt so much outrage and shame that this had happened in their Church, in their congregation, right under their noses. They couldn’t even protect their children from someone who they trusted. This is truly tragic.
Yet in a small town of 5,000 people, where everyone knows everyone, and the churches all maintain a sort of prestige in the region, there is a lot riding on maintaining a reputation as an institution of God. In this particular case, I feel that the community officials, the church elders, and the pastor just wanted it to blow over and let the authorities handle it all. Pass the buck onto somebody else. But what they neglected to realize was that legal proceedings would take months to get underway, and a year before a verdict, especially since the man's wife stood by his side and denied all the accusations.
When you halve a church split between those who have been victimized, and those who just don't want to believe something so awful could have occurred in their house of God--there is bound to be a rift. Some left the Church to the one across the street. Others left the town completely.
In such times the Pastor, Minister, or Priest is supposed to be the beacon of support... but some men are not made of sterner stuff. They have weak constitutions, or else they are ill-prepared, lack training, or don't know how to deal with all the added stress a leadership role requires of them.
I've seen it first hand, I've heard of numerous similar stories, and although I understand that rape is a regrettable part of the human condition, I feel that it just goes to show that we are not made in the image of any divine supreme being. We are poorly evolved, and struggle to fight our primitive natures.
Even so, I tend to be an optimist, I feel this will--this capacity to strive to become something better--to be more humane perchance to supply meaning to what it truly means to be human (and the acknowledgment that we can be more than mere primates) is astonishing.
What depresses me about the whole thing, and what I never got over, was that so many "God-fearing" folk chose to use faith-based excuse as a smoke screen for not wanting to deal with the reality of the situation. It was much easier to defer all responsibility onto God.
God will provide, God will make good, God will come through in the end. All they needed to do was have faith. But none of this helped the victims any, and a year later the pervert was tried and convicted, a month later he died of cancer. So much for justice. Oddly enough, the new Pastor said it was the hand of God smiting him for his evil ways. But he had been diagnosed with cancer before the rapes, so go figure.