Posted by: CeCe | March 7, 2013

There should be none

I just read a story linked by one of the admin on the page I also help admin on Facebook, Atheists vs Religion, and it brought up a whole slew of emotions.  I have moved on and healed for the most part from what happened to me as a child, when a member of the church we attended in South Carolina molested me.  I’ve talked about this before, but reading this article brought it all back to me.  I remembered that at the Sunday evening services, after Mr. M had molested me in the parking lot before church, Mr. M would almost always testify how much he “loved” Jesus (but apparently not as much as he loved little girls), how he knew every hymn by heart, how most within the denomination viewed him as a godly and God-fearing man, very devout in the faith, someone to emulate.  I would like to think that none of them knew his dark secrets.  But I knew.

In a comment on the AvR page, a Christian criticized the admin (who is also a Christian) for posting the article, saying that it wasn’t right to attack Christianity for what had been done to the girl in the article.  I understand his sentiment; it’s true that these things are rare.  But not rare enough.  There have been thousands, if not millions, of children just like me who were sexually abused by family members, church members, pastors and priests, while everyone around them turned a blind eye to it.  I don’t think anyone at my church knew what was happening, and I don’t think they wanted to know.  This is the case with far too many of them:  They don’t know, and they don’t want to know.  Then when they do know, they want to blame the victim, they want to say that somehow the child brought it on themselves, perhaps by not praying to Jesus hard enough to save them.  Many children who are sexually abused are viewed as being impure somehow, as though they seduced the poor men and women who abused them, and they just didn’t have a choice.  As though the abusers are the victims, rather than those whom they victimized.

It’s shameful.

But even more shameful is that many of us seem to excuse ourselves from sharing in the blame by saying that oh, this hardly ever happens.  The vast majority of Christians are good people.  Most would never willingly participate in the victimization of anyone, least of all an innocent child.  Yet we do, when we say that this hardly ever happens, as though that makes it acceptable to sweep it under the rug and pretend that it never happened.  How?  Because there should be none.  Each and every one of us should be able to be held up as a paragon of goodness and of light, not evil, and vile acts performed in the shadows.  Each one of us should be blameless, and should hold one another accountable for the things we do that harm others.  We should drag them into the light, expose the monsters for what they are, and shout to the world, “This is not my Christianity, this is not my Christ, and I will not be silent!”

Stop excusing it by saying that oh, this hardly ever happens.  It happens far more than it should, and far more than most will admit.  Don’t silence the victims by saying that what happened to them happens very rarely.  Do you really think that helps?  You’re saying to them that they’re alone, that God didn’t care enough about them to save them, that they’re impure, that perhaps if they had had more faith and prayed harder it wouldn’t have happened to them.  We victimize them all over again when we say things like that, and I’d say we deserve to have millstones tied around our own necks and drowned in the depths of the sea right alongside those who directly harmed these little ones.

There should be none.  All children should be safe in their own homes, in their schools, in their churches.  And until they are, each one of us should work to drag the monsters into the light and expose them.  We should envelop these hurt children in love and compassion, protect them, believe them, fight for them.

The gospels tell us that Jesus taught that whatever we do for the least among us, we do for Him.  If we saw abuses being heaped on Jesus Christ Himself, would we be so silent?  Would we say that these things hardly ever happen, so it’s okay to not talk about them?  God forbid.  So what makes us think that it’s acceptable in this case?

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