How to Create and Nurture Abusive Situations

Hey there! Here’s some helpful information on how to keep abusive situations alive and thriving in a church. The key ingredients are:

1. A good strong foundation of controlling, dominating authority. Reinforce, with all the means available to you, that adults are superior and smarter than kids. Don’t allow for any exceptions, you wouldn’t want them questioning their godly authority! Remember: the goal of protecting kids from abuse is always secondary to the goal of making them obedient, willing servants. Make sure to warn kids against the statistically rare case of the “stranger in a dark ally”, and forget to mention that most abusers are family members or close friends. That way if a church member is responsible for the abuse, they’ll doubly question their own judgement and just “forgive and forget”! (But don’t worry, that’s not what happened in the Tina Anderson case . No no, Chuck Phelps assured us of THAT!)

This authority angle will work especially well in conjunction with a child’s natural shame about the situation, compounded of course by a good conservative religious atmosphere which only reinforces that shame! Here we have a fool-proof recipe for cover-ups.

What, you say? This sounds just like a fundamental, independent Baptist church? I’m sure that’s just a coincidence. Let’s move on.

2. I’m talking to you now, pastors. What’s important in these situations is to keep your nose clean, and prevent any news of this from leaking to “the world”. How to do that? Well, certainly don’t repent of mishandling things, apologize to all involved, and let a full police investigation take place. Instead, attempt what you are so mightily qualified for–investigate and handle the situation yourself. Get all parties involved to apologize to each other, and the congregation. Oh, don’t worry if the victim seems squeamish about confessing to her being raped as if that’s a sin–she was doubtless complicit! Squash those feelings of compassion. The great thing about this is you come of looking super helpful–everyone has said they’re sorry, the spiritual pecking order has been preserved, and no outsiders have found out. And the psychological and emotional suffering of the abused, which goes unchecked for decades? Ah. That’s just psychological mumbo-jumbo! Give them the cure for “A Noisy Soul”.

(More coincidence. This is definitely not a description of conditions at IFB churches. No need to change the status quo, folks!)

3. Now, we need a helpful group of Defenders. This is where that evil Internet can actually be a help to you, pastors! If you’re unfortunate enough to receive international attention from how you’ve cared for your flock, damage control is a must. It’s very important that you belong to the extensive BJU/IFB notwork–if not, you can’t expect much help from this influential, wide-reaching web. If you do, though, you’ll get all manner of help. Let’s introduce ourselves to a few key Defenders:

The Sharper Iron spin-masters!

First, we have Sharper Iron. This shining gem of fundy wisdom occupies itself with threads about the modesty of bicycle shorts, but shuts down discussions in which precious IFB leaders might have their reputations tarnished. These folks really get it! More examples of the SI brilliance which will keep your scandals tightly under wraps:

Photobucket

Even the guy who runs the site will make sure to alleviate himself of any responsibility:

Photobucket

And when 20/20 does an expose of your helpful pastoralship, SI will joyfully parrot the “biased media” line in your defense:

Photobucket

Mr. Wooster skillfully spins scandal into profit. This is good stuff!

The IFB notwork will bring you all kinds of unexpected friends. BJU faculty member Dan Wooster helpfully provided this defense of the aforementioned IFB leader Chuck Phelps. A few highlights:

Wooster wants to

squelch the inaccurate comments that are being targeted against these two excellent biblically sound ministries

See how he preaches that bunker mentality, the “us vs. them” feeling? That’s a big theme. Make sure you turn this into an example of persecution, not one of your neglectful leadership.

Normally, the less said and written is the best approach to take when the media either misrepresents a story or when someone is maligned

Keep it silent, keep anyone from finding out. This guy is really gaining my respect!

we believe the right course of action for us to take is to commit these matters to the Lord who “judges righteously.”

This is your out. Just claim that God will handle the situation–no need to actually provide the justice yourself. You’re not responsible for what happens in your church, that’s up to God.

Mike Shrock, BJU golden boy and Defender!

Then we have Mike Shrock, BJU Representative and Defender Emeritus. Any embattled BJU graduate under persecution from the mystifying perseverance of the United States justice system can expect help from Shrock. His activities are well-documented here and here (the authors of these blogs have some strange bias against Mr. Shrock though–don’t pay attention to that. Just glean from his wise handling of these situations).

The last key group of Defenders are the Facebook crowd. Now, we all know that these social media thingies can be really detrimental to fundy ideals–that’s why they had to be blocked and castigated at Fundy U for so long. However, there is a large and helpful bloc of Facebookers standing ready to keep your scandals out of the light–basically they keep the skeletons firmly locked in the closet. You can recognize your friends there by these tactics:

Please stop criticizing these men of God. They handled these abuses as best they could, and every ministry has its faults.

It seems you have a bitter spirit against BJU and many churches. Please read your Bible and stop focusing on their faults.

How are your words building up and edifying believers? We should not be posting things that tear others down.

See how this is done? Shift focus away from the victim and justice for them. Focus on keeping the sacred schools and ministries free from criticism. Take note! These are your friends. Their efforts help keep you in power, and the abused powerless.

Hopefully these tips have been helpful. To sum up: keep abuse victims quiet. Clean up the mess quickly, get back to “normal”, and involve as few trained professionals as possible. Pray you get lots of help from the prominent Defenders on the internet. I forgot to mention that one verse in Deuteronomy about stoning a rape victim. That helps too…

Advertisements

19 thoughts on “How to Create and Nurture Abusive Situations

  1. justanotherperson

    I must commend you for an interestingly satirical post. Not very subtle, but definitely satirical. I hope you don’t mind some inquisitive critiquing… What’s your point? What’s the goal of this post? What are you hoping to accomplish? I’ve yet to see good Biblically-supported reasons for a lot of this kind of stuff. Not criticizing…just wondering. You shown some extreme problems in one section of Christianity (specifically a Christian university), of which you aren’t even a part. No suggestions on what exactly you think is behind the problems. No suggestions on some good ways to deal with these problems (for insiders and outsiders). Not that it needs to be included in this specific post…just perusing through your blog doesn’t provide many answers to some readers’ potential questions. What is the desired response of your readers to this post?

    1. Clinton Verley Post author

      Definitely don’t mind the critiquing. But isn’t it obvious what I’m trying to do? Expose harmful attitudes. Change a culture of shame into one of openness and humility. I think those are pretty noble goals, and definitely positive ones.

      There’s more than one way to skin a cat. My little way is to poke at bad things and try to bring some light.

      1. Brandon Layton

        Having read many articles on this case, and concurring that Ernest Willis is guilty (his guilty plea was mildly insightful) what I fail to see is your direct connection between BJU’s standards and the crime of rape or underage sex. Type any church denomination in your search engine followed by “sex abuse” and you will get pages of sites and articles. Some are more strict (Catholics, etc.) but there are also many churches that don’t stress doctrine at all. I have pulled just 3 examples to illustrate this:

        http://www.rickross.com/reference/clergy/clergy970.html

        http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20090818/ARTICLES/908189925?Title=Lutheran-church-assistant-pastor-accused-of-sex-abuse

        http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43190666/

        Of all the church related rape and abuse cases, you find 1 that involves a man, who goes to a church, who has a pastor, which belongs to IFB, and a BJU faculty member offers help to the pastor (NOT the sex offender) concerning misrepresentation of the church’s ministry…which means that BJU is directly responsible for the underage sex or rape (its word against word with no witnesses). Allow me to borrow your line, “Hay-men!” Satire at its best!

        BJU’s standards support biblical moral purity (including honesty and good relationships with parents). These standards do not support premarital sex -automatically excluding underage sex or rape (I know you are aware of BJU’s rules against physical contact and that many students have been kicked out for disregarding these rules in severe forms).

        I fully support prosecuting the guilty party. I do not support prosecuting a school’s standards (which object to the crime) as the source of the crime.

        What I am curious about (and which has not been addressed by any news articles that I have found, nor by Clinton) is what part did the parents play? It seems to me that the parents are a big missing piece to the puzzle. If the sex was consensual then Anderson’s estrangement from her parents can be explained as being created by guilt or “covering” for her lover, but if she was indeed raped, why did she feel that she couldn’t turn to her parents? Why were her parents not a source of comfort? Why were her parents not considered trustworthy or understanding to Anderson? How could this incident create estrangement instead of a closer bond if there was any relationship to begin with?

        If the sex was rape, and not consensual, then the parents are a far likelier candidate for creating and nurturing the crime and how it was handled than church’s creed, or the pastor, and certainly more than the very distantly (if even) connected BJU standards.

        Allow me to borrow your quote:
        “If you say that the history of the Church is a long succession of scandals, you are telling the truth, though if that is all you say, you are distorting the truth.”
        -Gerald Vann

        Sexual scandal exists in every single organization in existence including churches. To judge any organization, including churches, by the sexual scandal is distortion. Clinton Verley, to imply that BJU’s standards create and nurture rape is not only distortion of truth, but also slander. However “noble” your goal is, your methods are otherwise.

    2. ukforchrist

      Thats a point Clinton. Much as I support what your doing here giving some ideas on how to deal with the problem would be awesome. The old Principle of Replacement idea.

    3. a former BJUer

      Really? How do you know he wasn’t part of BJU? And have you never read satire before? This is not really different from the Jonathan Swift’s brilliant (and sarcastic) suggestion that the poor should just eat their babies to live. It’s meant to be over the top to draw attention to how ridiculous and over the top their tactics really are. If you doubt that BJU hushes up people, talk to any number of people who got kicked out. More than likely you’ll find a good number who were kicked out for things like . . . expressing a different opinion about music or criticizing the lack of free speech on campus. Yeah, I know people who didn’t even break rules but who were asked to leave simply because the administration felt threatened that they were trying to help people think for themselves. They’re control freaks, and they send their control freak spawn out to other churches where they control churches that lead to abuse. Perhaps pointing out these tactics and flaws will help shed light on their religious abuse. Acknowledgement is always the first step towards identifying “what you think is behind the problems” and for coming up with “suggestions on some good ways to deal with these problems.” Why don’t you contribute yourself instead of just asking asanine questions?

      1. ukforchrist

        I ask as I was actually brought up in the fundamentalist world. First hand knowledge of the tactics used and ideology imposed. While obviously I object to it i’m also trying to work out practical ways of fighting it. Is it wrong? yes very. But i can’t just spend my time pointing out error without pointing out what is right

      2. Clinton Verley Post author

        But see, the antidote is there. Exposing evil and promoting good are one and the same–you can’t separate them out. It’s impossible.

    4. Roger

      justanotherperson:

      The first step to fixing a problem is to admit you have a problem. BJU can’t get through this first step (besides generically stating, “We’re human, so problems will be had by us” from time to time). The author of this post is clearly trying to help them.

      Also, maybe a parent of a prospective student will refrain from sending their child to a place where thinking is so twisted, thus preventing the perpetuation of the problem.

      One of G.I. Joe’s chapel sayins was, “Knowing is half the battle.” There’s no reason to get all Cobra Commander on him for trying to do this.

  2. former BJUer

    I was actually talking to justanotherperson, not ukforchrist . . . sorry if that was confusing.

  3. 4insix

    justanotherperson:

    Mr. Verley is doing exactly what Christ would have us do in these matters. Read for yourself about what Jesus did in these cases(THE BIBLE, by God, specifically books: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

    justanotherperson: as for suggestions on what should be done to deal with these problems (for insiders and outsiders) here are 2 that I would start with.. Pick either one:

    1.) Close BJU. Permanently. Sell all property and give the resulting money to widows, poor, sick, and the poverty stricken abused faculty members, former students that were expelled no matter the circumstance, as well as provide financially for any student or faculty members past or future therapy sessions or PTSD treatment, and any or all medical bills including prescription costs for medication due to emotional, spiritual, physical, and sexual abuse suffered by said former and present faculty/staff and students (this includes abuse that took place by one of your church plants, or affiliates) Finally any money left over should be divided into two separate donations: one part distributed to the UNCF, and the other half to the Billy Graham Foundation.

    2.) Keep BJU open, but only under these circumstances:

    A.)remove the word “Christian” or any other reference towards God, Jesus, The Bible, etc. from the “college” description or any of their websites, publications, advertisements, films, or promotional material (promotional material includes chapel messages, Alumni gatherings, Friendship banquets, musical recordings, or any event in which a president, chancellor, or spokesperson speaks in public-especially in any church platform-in or on behalf of BJU. Discontinue broadcasting former chapel messages, “Bible” Conference messages, etc from BJU.com, WMUU, and any other portal to distribute former chapel messages, or COMPLETELY edit out any reference to Christianity, The Bible, Holy Scriptures, God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, LORD, etc. from these archived recordings.
    B.)Discontinue or rename “Bible Conference” and just spend a week asking for money without any mention of God, Jesus, Sacrifice, The Bible, Work of the Lord, etc.
    C.)Discontinue the Ministerial Program, and shut down the Seminary permanently.
    D.)Discontinue any type of counseling to anyone, unless the counselors are a properly trained by any and all state or federal standards, and hold appropriate non-BJU degrees in community counseling, Psychology, etc.
    E.)Discontinue any Missionary Programs, and all Church Planting Projects permanently.
    F.)Fire Jim Berg, by the proposed standards mentioned above his duties are now more pointless than before.
    G.)In total: remove the entire BJU World away from anything at all relating to The Bible, Christianity, God, Jesus, etc. since, in reality this has already happened in practice and attitude there is no reason to label or describe the “university” as something that it is not.

  4. Roger

    @Brandon Layton,

    Do you feel totally confused at the end of every Perry Mason or Law & Order you’ve ever watched?

    Your supposedly “reasoned inquiry” into Tina’s parents reveals your total lack of familiarity with this case. Her father molested her. Her mother sold her out to protect Chuck Phelps and his institutional control. This is not an exaggeration. You ask about the role of the parents, and there you have it.

    For instance, Ms. Leaf said sending Tina to Colorado was her idea, not Pastor Phelps. Sending her to live with a family who never met, who were close friends of Phelps, but totally her idea. Riiiiight.

    The case was a total rebuke to Willis, Leaf, Phelps, Gibbs, and everyone who ignorantly defends their posture against Tina.

    Go back and learn what in the world Clinton’s even talking about before you lambaste him (I mean “slander” him, of course).

    As for BJU having any stake in this…they obviously have SOME interest. Go look at my site (http://bit.ly/jN6wFl). I’m sure you’ll hate it, and me by extension.

    Roger

    1. Brandon Layton

      Roger,

      Perry Mason was before my time and I don’t watch Law & Order because of its liberal political themes…I prefer Monk 😉

      This blog is titled “How to Create and Nurture Abusive Situations.” In this blog the standards held by BJU are called out as being cohorts along with the church and pastor and therefore responsible for the creation and nurturing of this particular crime and aftermath.

      “What I am curious about (and which has not been addressed by any news articles that I have found, nor by Clinton) is what part did the parents play? It seems to me that the parents are a big missing piece to the puzzle. If the sex was consensual then Anderson’s estrangement from her parents can be explained as being created by guilt or “covering” for her lover, but if she was indeed raped, why did she feel that she couldn’t turn to her parents? Why were her parents not a source of comfort? Why were her parents not considered trustworthy or understanding to Anderson? How could this incident create estrangement instead of a closer bond if there was any relationship to begin with?”

      I knew about her home life which was my whole point. Her parents are largely (if not entirely) responsible. Tina’s home environment was a mess. Tina grew up in an unstable and ungodly home environment. The parents should have done and been many things that would have prevented the abuse in the first place, or else resolve it in a better manner. But there was no father figure or united home. This home environment did more to create and nurture the abuse than the church, pastor and certainly more than BJU’s standards. Who is responsible for the home? The parents are responsible for the home. The parents share more blame than any party.

      (I followed your link…I object to your views and your methods, but I didn’t hate it, nor do I hate you – but since you were so quick to jump to that conclusion, I got the impression that you hoped I would hate you.)

      Neither you nor Clinton provide a direct connection between BJU’s standards and the Creation and Nurturing of Abusive situations in general, or even specifically in this case. No link is provided here and no link is established on your page -only accusations.

  5. Roger

    I’m glad you don’t hate me or my site. Bitterness only hurts the . . . you know the rest. I like to think it’s a source of thought-provoking amusement and slanted opinion.

    I’m sorry I construed your questions as signs of ignorance. My bad, totally. The nature of the questions didn’t sound like you were aware of the manner in which Tina’s mother was in compliance with Phelps.

    My site contains accusations? It mostly contains screenshots. Why, I ask you, did all of these BJU professors feel led to jump on the bandwagon to slander Tina’s motives and veracity? Why was Bibbs there? Why? I’m seriously asking you – what is the explanation? Teach me!

    Also, the connection isn’t between BJU’s standards and abuse, but between BJU/IFB’s power issues and abuse. Standards do NOTHING to prevent abuse, but don’t necessarily cause it. That flows from the heart. You know that. You know what comes next, etc. I have no need to complete the thought.

  6. Decca Duraboll

    I like your blog quite a bit. Thanks for the excellent anti-fundy view, so tired of abuse being excused by religion. I’ll be coming back often. bookmarked for future reference

  7. Pingback: Sermon Audio and Fundamentalist Silence on Abuse « Mildly Insightful

  8. Alfonzo

    Know how and when they were reliable. Thank You cards upon completion of
    contractor work? An internal Department of Labor, and trustworthy basis contractor available in Denver.

    If they are legitimate. The FAA representative and
    the Contractors State License Board. This insures that your vendors.
    Preferably ask the contractor in the decision you seek.
    Indeed, most importantly help them evaluate the documents related to your
    home and to understand their differences.

Comments are closed.