News from the Vault: Christian Forgiveness is a Weapon
There has been no shortage of examples in the past year or so of Christians supporting the hateful policies of their proto-fascist President. But I have seen few examples of the cynicism with which churches will weaponize Christ's admonition to forgive one another more egregious than this.
It started in Houston, where a young youth group leader was to take a 17 year old high school student home. He did, but not before driving to a secluded area and forcing her to perform oral sex for his gratification.
Today, 20 years later, the girl and now woman has been empowered by the #metoo movement to confront this former youth group leader with his crime.
That man, Andy Savage, is now a pastor at a megachurch in Tennessee. Being the morally upstanding Christian leader he claims to be, he admitted his guilt in church, to his audience of fellow churchgoers. He did not describe the crime in detail, referring to it as a "sexual incident", and claimed to have thought it resolved years ago. He said he'd always been open about it with church leaders. His mea culpa culminated in an apology, of sorts:
“Jules, I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago. I remain committed to cooperate with you toward forgiveness and healing.”
For all this, Pastor Savage received a long standing ovation.
After his admission, the lead Pastor at the church told the congregation, according to the New York Times, that "[ Savage ] was one of the people 'hurt by the ripple effect of the consequences of that sin.'" He goes to pray for
Mind you, that 17 year old girl was not a victim of sexual sin, Andy Savage is, however. The girl did not sin when she was assaulted, and while she can be reasonably said to be a victim of his sin, Pastor Conlee has already stated that Savage was a victim of his own sin. Thus victim and perpetrator are equivocated in prayer, and the perpetrator is applauded for having the courage to admit his guilt.
Savage's apology, however, is a case study in passive aggressive religious coercion. What else can it mean to say he would "cooperate" with the victim "toward forgiveness and healing", except that healing for her depends on forgiveness for him?
Forgiveness for sale is the very reason the Protestant churches came to be in the first place. In the 21st century, however, things have moved on from the 17th. So called "indulgences" are no longer directly used to extort parishioners. But just as the Catholic Church and its Pope did for those priests accused of raping children, this evangelical church places forgiveness of its own as its top priority.
So my question to you is how should a victim of sexual assault feel when the perp is lauded for his admission and prayed for by the church, while the victim is hardly mentioned?
Alex Marshall-Brown is an actress and stuntwoman who recently was working on her laptop at a shady spot of grass in front of St. Paul's Lutheran Church of North Hollywood. She was quickly accosted by a Karen and a couple of - Kens? - let's just say white males representing the church. Karen actually claimed, while filming the scene from her cell phone, that Ms. Marshall-Brown was threatening her life for arguing with her. One the white males went about nailing a "No Trespassing" sign to the shade tree and threatened to call the police. As he actually uttered the phrase "all lives matter", the second white male behind him smirked grotesquely. Here is the video she took herself: https://www.facebook.com/alexmarshallbrown/videos/pcb.10105446046106991/10105447053583001/?type=3&theater What is apparent is the she can more than speak for herself, so I'm not about to describe the events for you. Watch the video. I will, however, take up what t
...but so is the so-called presumption of atheism in science... Cross-posted from Hemant Mehta's The Friendly Atheist conversation. Here's his Youtube video to which the following is addressed: Morris is, of course, exactly right about the meaning of "atheist", which is literally "not" + "god" + "beleiver". It does not mean "without" or "lacking", though these are logical consequences of the prefix ~a, which is a privative , an affix which has the logical property of negating the root to which it is attached. Logically it is not NIL or NULL, it is NOT. Now here's the thing: the word "god" ]is meaningless. There is no physical object to which the word "god" points. If there was, "god" would be as real as Pastor Morris, or the Prince of Denmark. No, not that Prince of Denmark - but Frederick , the actual human prince. The other prince, Hamlet , also has the characteristic of not
It has long been a tradition of theists to cast themselves as having belief which is founded on evidence. We know the bible tells us that For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: ~ Romans 1:20 This verse, and others like it, form the biblical basis of evidentiary faith . But what does the bible say about faith? Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. ~ John 20:29 For we walk by faith, not by sight ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5 Faith is the evidence of things not seen; much turns here on the metaphor of sight, but what does