A Response to #ChurchToo: Giving Rise to Women’s Voices

Given what has become a near-daily horror show of sexual abuse allegations in the Church* and across the theological spectrum, what hope is there?

I hear the critics now. “Our only hope is in Christ! We are wretched sinners, and this crisis is because we don’t place enough trust in God!”

Ok. Yeah. Sure. That’s true. So let’s follow this line of thought to its conclusion. Let’s put our hope in God and listen for the Spirit. What’s she calling us to do? If we are the Body of Christ, what healing work are we to do with his hands?

More than empty apologies, more than mass resignations, more than long-delayed exploratory committees, we need women’s voices. Continue reading “A Response to #ChurchToo: Giving Rise to Women’s Voices”

#ChurchToo Pt. Two

A week and a half ago, I wrote on the unfolding sexual harassment scandal in the upper echelons of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In the days that have followed, more has come to light. Paige Patterson’s cushy fallback position was revoked after more details were revealed. Gone are the titles, the salary, the housing. On their second try, the trustees finally made the right call. It turns out that this is a pattern for Patterson, who utilized similar tactics to cover up a report of rape and silence a survivor in 2015 as the head of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary — not to be confused with Southeastern, the site of the 2003 cover-up. As part of the 2003 cover-up, Patterson stole the survivor’s files when he left Southeastern.

And yet the rest of the SBC leadership maintains their cowardly silence.

Writing at the Religion News Service, Jacob Lupfer lauds Albert Mohler’s “strong statement that soberly grasps the implications of what is happening,” declaring Mohler as the SBC heir-apparent. But let’s consider again Albert Mohler’s act of contrition. Nowhere in the document does he specifically mention Paige Patterson. Or his pal CJ Mahaney. He has not returned to the topic in the week and a half since. As another allegation of rape and cover-up were leveled against a major SBC institution, the president of the flagship seminary has remained silent. He hasn’t publicly called for Patterson to step down from preaching at the national convention. He hasn’t announced a policy to proactively examine policies at his own school.

This isn’t to say that Mohler has been silent. If you don’t know this already, the man talks a lot. He hosts a daily podcast called “The Briefing,” which he uses to pontificate on cultural matters for twenty-five minutes at a time. What’s he been busy talking about? Samantha Bee, Roseanne Barr, and Ireland.

A constant refrain among Southern Baptists is to call sin “sin.” The modern SBC is founded on this compulsion to label. Patterson and Mohler both rose through the ranks by excommunicating people for supporting feminism and modern biblical criticism. Prominent Southern Baptists, Mohler and Patterson included, signed a statement anathematizing Christians who disagree with them on matters of same-sex marriage. Offering an explanation of the article, Mohler’s acolyte Denny Burke writes:

Anyone who persistently rejects God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue is rejecting Christianity altogether, even if they claim otherwise.

AND YET!

And yet Mohler, Burk, and the whole lot of them are too afraid to specifically and vocally condemn Patterson by name. What are they saying about “God’s revelation about sexual holiness and virtue”? Might we conclude from their silence that they don’t believe rape to be a sin, and that they are therefore “rejecting Christianity altogether”?

Following their own logic, yes.

Of course, that’s merely polemic. Only the most arrogant of people would willfully misunderstand someone that way, though in my anger I certainly understand why Mohler himself frequently falls into that exact fallacy.

My point is this: Mohler made his career on attacking those he perceives as holding “unbiblical views” on sexual issues. Now that the matter is close to home, though, he is silent. He is a coward.

If Mohler really is the de facto leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, then they have a long way to go before they’re willing to fully confront the horror of sexual violence. With Mohler at the helm, the SBC will continue to oppress women and turn a blind eye to domestic abuse and sexual violence. If Albert Mohler is a sign of things to come for the Southern Baptist Convention, then the SBC is doomed to an existence of sinful and shameful silence. Under Mohler, the Southern Baptist Convention will continue to sacrifice women and children to protect the egos of old men.

#ChurchToo: Correcting Albert Mohler on the Sin of Silence

The Southern Baptist Convention is in an uproar over allegations of blatant misogyny, its long-standing failure to denounce domestic violence, and accusations of rape and cover-up on a seminary campus.

The current turmoil is around Paige Patterson, architect of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC from the late ’70s through the ’90s. It has recently come to light that Patterson knowingly sent women back to abusive husbands. As these and other past remarks came to the surface, thousands of Southern Baptists women signed a petition for Patterson to be removed as the keynote speaker at the upcoming national convention. (For what little it’s worth, Patterson issued a statement half-heartedly apologizing for any offense.) All of this before it came to light that Patterson punished a rape survivor while taking no action against her attacker. Continue reading “#ChurchToo: Correcting Albert Mohler on the Sin of Silence”