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Unless you’re lucky enough to be a managawd, his son, or one of his prize tithers, committing any sexual sin (save one we’ll discuss in a moment) is a certain path to the most severe punishments that fundyland has to offer. Forgiveness will inevitably be granted to those who merely steal, lie, cheat, and even kill their fellow man but if you’re a fifteen year old who gets caught trying to get to second base with the head deacon’s daughter you can expect a brief trial, quick sentencing and virtual banishment for both the perpetrators and their families.
It’s hard to say what causes this elevation of sexual sins above any other crime in fundamentalism. Is it merely a cultural artifact from a Puritan past? Or is there a darker motivation of men who demonize sex in public so they can exploit the innocent and repressed in private? Whatever the reason, fear, ignorance, control, and mind games are the order of the day.
With sex being the certain path to death and destruction, every good fundamentalist is constantly on the lookout for any hint of sexuality so that they might warn against it loudly and eradicate it if possible. Every book, every song, every article of clothing is scrutinized and analyzed for any hint of sensuality or tinge of lust. And woe be unto those who fail to realize the deadly seriousness of this enterprise and think it might not be a sign of a healthy person if they find sexual connotations everywhere.
The unhappy effect from this overactive fear of sex is that the strangest fetishes result. Without warning a tinge of lace, an errant brassiere strap, or an uncovered table leg may very well send a fundy male spiraling out of control into an animal frenzy of unbridled lust — and thus the dire warnings against sex become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For it stands to reason that if you’re conditioned to think that naked knees or open-toed shoes are a huge turn on then the world is going to become an awkward place to live in.
As I mentioned at the start, there is one exception to the constant vigilance against sexual sin and that is a watchfulness against rape and abuse. In the years of sitting through hundreds of sermons warning against pornography, fornication, adultery, and mixed bathing, I cannot remember a single sermon even mentioning rape as a sin unless it was in the context of suggesting that a woman who dresses provocatively is probably asking for it. It seems strange that fundamentalists can’t seem to find the time to decry the rapist because they’re too busy pinning scarlet letters on all but those who deserve them the most.
86 thoughts on “Fundy Sex Week Day 4: The Scarlet Letter”
Seen this happen so many times in churches. The tendency seems to be for any label to stick. Permenently.
…and along these lines. My father got some of the music my brother had purchased for piano and promptly declared that it was pornography. The music? The 1970’s groups Bread and Chicago.
“If a picture paints a thousand words…” definitely porno
Wow. So true. I’ve never thought about it until now, but I don’t remember ever hearing any condemnation of rape and sexual abuse by my IFB pastors.
I sometimes think that IFB churches want to differentiate themselves as “extra special holy” so they don’t spend much time on the “big” sins: cheating, murdering, raping, etc. They assume people already KNOW those are wrong. Instead they focus on the minutiae that people wouldn’t think are wrong on their own: stuff like open-toed shoes or listening to Amy Grant sing praise songs. The problem is that one CANNOT and SHOULD NOT assume that people already know what sins are. Also by constantly emphasizing small details and never mentioning heinous sins, churches give young people the impression that those details are most important. This gives a completely skewed view of reality and results in teens growing up thinking that it doesn’t matter how unethically you behave as long as you keep up a good outward appearance (i.e. always wear a suit and tie to church).
Awesome insight. Bravo.
Me too – at first I thought, “No way,” IFBs definitely condemn rape and sexual abuse. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that’s the most they’ll really do. A quick, “Rape and abuse is wrong and should never be permitted” and then the preacher moves on. I’m also thinking about messages about women like Tamar, or even Bath-sheba. While preachers bring up these examples to illustrate the wrongfulness of spiritual back-sliding, covetousness, lust, the consequences of sin, and sexual immorality, they never extrapolate from there that rape itself is wrong. That maybe these stories had less to do with sex, and more to do with power..
This makes me so sad. How was I hoodwinked for this long?
There is so much truth in what you say PW. You always seem to have the best comments here. imo
By the way, Proverb 6:32-33 (pulled out of the context of the rest of the passage) is often used to support this “sexual sin is worse than any other” theory.
I don’t know Darrell. I have been one to believe that a sin is sin, if you’re guilty of one, you’re guilty of all, and I am trying to break the bad habit of proof-texting or yanking verses out of context, however combine that Proverbs passage with, of course, Romans 1, and then have a look at 1 Corinthians 6:12-20, particularly v-18 “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
I think I need to do some more study in this area, but on the surface it would seem to me that sexual sin may be in some sort of a category of its own.
Romans 1 is precisely the point. a passage that is clearly about idolatry, which mentions twenty something different sins, is taken completely out of context to elevate any sexual (and homosexual) sins above any else.
and Romans 2:1 is conveniently erased from the passage.
Romans 1 is most certainly about idolatry, but if you can’t understand the very explicit language describing homosexual acts, and the absolute condemnation of these acts, I would have no idea where to begin to try and explain it to you. Please examine yourself to see if you aren’t being “willingly ignorant”. I wouldn’t use such strong language, but when confronted with a simple passage like this in everyday English, it does make one wonder.
Greg, I’m not denying the passages related to homosexuality. (At least not in this discussion.) what I’m saying is that I have NEVER heard a sermon about Rom 1 that was not about SEX.
envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice (Rom 1:29) would seem to not be important enough…)
And, in my humble opinion, emphasis on the sins (sexual or not) detracts from the real message Paul is trying to convey in this passage.
Heh, heh…you said pulled out… 😈
Darrell = Spot on
Sadly this is true for so many moral scolds of all faiths and sometimes none. A lot to say about how the victim must have brought it on herself (and sometimes hisself) very little about how the rapist is to be deplored.
I would say something profound, but I can’t get passed the mental imagine of an uncovered table leg. Please pray for me today. There is a completely naked table in my office and it has nice legs.
Oh, man, now I’m going to spend the whole day looking at table legs. 🙁
Not to mention chair legs and arm rests. 😐
For real! IKEA catalog = porn.
Fortunately, all the table legs in my house are female, so no temptations for me! 😀
My bed has legs, and I’ve been sleeping with it for years! I need to get right with God. Do they make coulottes in twin size?
Oh, is that what bed skirts are for? 😕
Surely someone, somewhere has made a bed skirlot?
Like I’ve said on here before, I remember amovie wna it had this line:
If, when God threw Adam and Eve out of Eden, he had given Eve earmuffs and Adam Gloves then mankind’s sexual history would have been about guys trying to stick their fingers in women’s ears.”
We tend to persue that which is most repressed in a love/hate manner. We lust with both a passion and a guilt often in equal measure. It is because of legalism. Once we make a law against something it is our nature to rebel against that law. The attempt at keeping Law is what gives sin it’s power. The more repressive the law, the greater it’s power as we attemt to keep it.
I think Paul made this exact point in Romans.
I know someone who attends an IFBX church which encourages those that commit major sins–in particular, fornication–to stand up and confess in front of the whole church. Their membership status is revoked for a “probation” period of 6 months; if they exhibit repentance they gain their membership back, if not they’re expelled from the church permanently. This occurred yet again recently.
Granted, in 1 Corinthians Paul says to exclude and discipline fornicators, but it seems like that would be the most crucial time for the person to to hear the gospel and the word of the law preached.
I guess that church’s odd law makes sense in regards to Paul’s direction. 😐 I’m a theological greenhorn, so I daren’t say what should or shouldn’t be done. I wonder about that church, though… it’s IFBX so ostensibly it lives right up to the description in the article, to the point that men were prohibited from wearing short sleeve dress shirts because the crease in their elbow resembled a baby’s rear. Not to mention my acquaintance heard of several couples that were still managed to get pregnant even though they were fully chaperoned. Something ain’t right.
I would hope that the “word of the Law” is the least he/she hears, and instead the good news of Jesus and Grace are what they hear.
“Men were prohibited from wearing short sleeve dress shirts because the crease in their elbow resembled a baby’s rear.”
This is a new one to me. A completely different level of crazy! How in the world?!!! Sounds like someone in that church has some really deep problems and needs to get into rehab pronto. To be “seeing baby’s rears” everywhere one looks cannot be normal or healthy. If I were a member of that congregation and had an infant child, I would truly fear for his or her safety. I would hope that my “molester detector” would be screaming for all to hear.
Could be wrong, a bit of a newb at hermeneutics myself, but I think Paul’s rule is meant for those with a lifestyle of immorality, not a 15 year old’s one time mistake.
“… men were prohibited from wearing short sleeve dress shirts because the crease in their elbow resembled a baby’s rear.”
Uh, what? 😯
OK, now I’ll spend the day looking at table legs AND ELBOWS.
hmm…never seen a baby butt with so much hair
Anyone who would even think of being turned on by a baby’s butt is in serious need of therapy and counseling. They have no business in leadership in a church.
or anywhere near children at any time.
Uh, yeah, why can’t people (the IFBX, not you) recognize that I Corinthians needs to be taken in context! This frustrates me more than anything. Sure, the guy in Corinth was sexually immoral. But how does Paul explain it. He was immoral in a way that even non-Christians were offended and both the guy and the church were boasting about it. It wasn’t a simply one time of going to far that IFB wants to make it. It was public, repeated and gloried in. That’s what made it so bad to demand excommunication.
This kind of immorality — the kind that the world recognizes and abhors, while the church seemingly condones it — is a PERFECT description of the molestation/rape/abuse scandals within a number of major church organizations. Sadly, many of the rapists and abusers have been protected, while their victims have been thrown to the wolves. 🙁
Caitlin, I believe that in the early church members were required to get up in front of the church and make their confesion in front of the congregation !!
I had to, and that was just last year.
I was recently talking with a Fundy friend about the Da Vinci Code. When I asked what he thought he told me about how it was wrong because it claimed Jesus had a wife and kids. He was absolutely shocked when I told him that it also was against Christ’s Divinity. Apparently it was the sexual aspect of Da Vinci’s code that was upsetting to Fundamentalists more than the Fundamentals of the faith… go figure.
Oh, and Puritan heritage? I thought IFB was of the Separatist heritage for somewhat obvious definitional reasons?
In the Scarlet Letter… It was the preacher man who got her pregnant. Nice literary reference Darrell.
A great movie on the subject is Quinceanera: http://www.sonyclassics.com/quinceanera/# a movie I love for many different reasons.
And it is about the daughter of a pastor
I thank God that I didn’t tell anyone at BJU about my sexual assault that happened 3 years earlier. Though, whenever the administration found out that my husband and I slept together, they went nuts – even though we had both confessed to the Lord, the elders of our church (who handled the matter with true class), and our parents, and we’d both withdrawn from school of our own. Somehow they found out and altered our records to say we were expelled and acted accordingly (tying us to an RA, taking away our phones, questioning us like criminals, etc.). I asked the assistant dean of women (now the dean of women) if Jesus had to die twice for that sin, if that’s why they were so upset about it. She didn’t take that well.
Try being a prodigal who walked around glorying in my shame for over a decade. Jesus rescued me, again, but none of the church people ever brought a word of Gospel to me. I was a pariah and people would rather have just counted me out than try talking to me. And now, I know what grace is really about. I have compassion on people who fall far and hard. But when that is part of your “testimony” some folks can’t handle it, which is really sad.
So sad when people would rather SEPARATE than reach out in love.
I’m so sorry for how you’ve been treated. Jesus was NOT in that, as I’m sure you know.
My brother is what most people consider a prodigal. When he left our church, only one man reached out to him…and even he gave up not long after. I used to be angry with him (my brother) – I couldn’t understand him, and I felt that he “knew better” and should just suck it up and do what’s right. But…after I came home from my expulsion from BJU, he sat down and talked to me – told me that if anyone understood how I felt being ostracized and hated, it was him – and that if I ever needed to talk or hang out, to let him know. I hadn’t seen that tender, protective, understanding side of him for years…then I suddenly realized that it was because I’d been so focused on what I took to be his sin and not seeing him through the clear eyes of love.
I, too, have become much less judgmental…I think it’s a by-product of realizing what grace truly is and learning to see people with compassion – to see them the way Jesus sees them.
Some dude once said “Whoever is forgiven much will love much.” Of course, he was a homeless guy, so he was probably off his rocker.
Yes, you give as much grace as you have received.
After 25+ years of fundyism (HAC student, FBC Hammond deacon, song leader-choir director-young couples SS teacher at various “churches”)and a full (6) quiver,one of my sons at 16 ran away from home. No one pursued him except his parents.He was rejected and worse, knew it. My family was a shambles. Now, years later, after my dear wife of nearly forty years and I have rejected the fundy cult, and have embraced God’s grace and mercy, my family is whole again. We have liberty, we have lots of scars, we laugh much, and boy do we have stories! 😀
Recently I listened to a podcast from Mark Dever’s church, SBC. It was taught by women for women on the subject of modesty. They seemed like really earnest, sincere, God honoring women. But it still left me feeling like going even further than modest tops and taping down my chest lest a man with lust issues sins. Also, some woman had a seemingly pathological issue with bra straps. She suggested that if a woman you knew had her bra strap showing at church, she didn’t qualify whether it was due to the fashion or just as Darrell said “errant”, that you should tuck it in for her and point it out. Further adding that “she wouldn’t forget the lesson and would think about it next time she got dressed”.(paraphrased) So, hangups aren’t just in IFB.
Tuck it in for her? As in, physically tuck in her bra strap?
If someone did that to me, I would probably punch them in the face. You can point it out to me all you like so I can take care of it, but why would you just go around adjusting other people’s clothing?!
anyone who doesn’t think the SBC isn’t fundy-adjacent is off their rocker – they’ve got some weird stuff of their own (especially Dever and the church discipline crowd – I went to a SBC church that got a new pastor who was big on Dever’s stuff, and he really reminded me most of an independent baptist, because he had some unique interpretations of his own I’d never heard elsewhere)
I’d want another woman to *discreetly* point it out so I could fix it, but I’m with Annie..adjust it for me?!? Talk about a violation of personal space! 😯
And as for the “lesson”?? Did she honestly think that women (well most, anyway) purposely make theirs show or are so careless that they don’t make an effort to keep ’em from showing? AND did she think that it would cause all of the men (well the mature ones, anyway!) to fly into spasms of uncontrollable lust?!? 🙄 GIVE me a break. Here’s a news flash: Women wear bras (well, most anyway! lol); once in a while a strap will make an appearance. It’s NOT the end of the world.
Oops; just re-read and caught “she didn’t qualify whether it was due to the fashion or just as Darrell said ‘errant'”… 😳
This is so true. Growing up I can’t count how many sermons I heard preaching against sexual sins/temptations. I mean to even think a girl is attractive was to already fornicate. The sermons were always about never falling into it and were laced with stories of people who self destructed once they did fall into it. What I never heard, and I mean never, was forgiveness. I remember sitting in sermons where they preach against lusting after a girl and thinking, “yeah, but what if I’ve already done that?” Or they are preaching about how evil porn is and if you even look at once you are on your way to destruction, “Yeah, but what if I’ve already seen porn?” Or the person who is kicked out of the school for having sex, “yeah, but what if they repent can they come back?”
It was what they didn’t say that hit home. There was no forgiveness, there was only condemnation. That may keep some people on the straight and narrow for a time. It worked for me, but ultimately it fails. And more importantly it fails to show love to those who do fail. Failure happens, sin happens. And the constant condemnation works against the message. Eventually it will fail. If all you have is condemnation and consequence you haven’t really reached the child. You’ve only scared them. Eventually they grow up and realize there wasn’t anything to be scared about.
Wow. So insightful. And so tremendously sad because Jesus TOOK our condemnation. Salvation is all about forgiveness. It’s heart breaking to realize how much such churches know about the Gospel while still managing to miss the most essential part.
Amen. Might I also add that having grown up under that kind of preaching that I now really need to hear about God’s love and forgiveness. At this point in my journey out of IFB I get really upset when I talk about what I’ve learned about love, grace, forgiveness and people respond with, “Yes, but God isn’t all love and forgiveness, He’s also just, holy, righteous and expects us to live “x” way, don’t go overboard”. *insert head banging against brick wall* Thank you so much, never heard that before. Please, just let me enjoy God for a change.
I have a similar struggle with seeing and feeling the love and grace of God, especially in the face of the legalism and judgment that seem to characterize so many of His followers. One book that really helped this make sense to me was Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel. The author is a former Catholic priest and a recovering alcoholic, and his writing is both humble and joyful as he gets at the heart of Jesus’ deep love for sinners and screw-ups. It’s a book that I have returned to many times over the past 9 years or so — in fact, I’m about due for another re-read.
I hear you. For as much as Fundy’s pay lip service to believing every word of the Bible and taking it literally they really don’t. They are often the worst offenders of cherry picking the Bible. They’ll ignore an entire chapter save this one verse that they “pluck” out and then make that verse mean something that within its context couldn’t possibly mean that.
God is probably the only being in the universe that can be both loving and just, both merciful and wrathful. He is all of those adjectives wrapped up into one beautiful being. How? I don’t know, but that really doesn’t matter. He tells us to love, and I think we should default to that over the other attributes when we are in doubt.
Really enjoyed “Ragmuffin Gosple” it was one of the first really non-fundy religious books I read. Although in good fundy fashion I fretted the whole time over the fact that the author was an ex RCC priest, so could I believe any of the wonderful things he was saying about love and grace? 🙄
Mark, “Love Wins” I see what you did there 😀
Another thing I’d add is this. I believe that Christian schools have their method of treating sexual sins upside down. Think about it. Someone has sex in high school it is clearly not within marriage. Someone ends up pregnant, typically how the sin is found out, and what do Christian schools do? They kick all the offending parties out in shame. Wait what? Seriously? When I grew up I just thought that was natural, but now I realize how counterintuitive and, frankly, unconscionable that truly is. The one time in a child’s life when they really, really need the church is the one time that the church decides that it is best policy to use tough love. *NO* it is the worst time. These kids might finally be ready to open their hearts and receive love and forgiveness and you snub your nose at them. Treat them like garbage and throw them out on the curb.
And what is worse is that there is no distinction between “pregnant/sex” that happens consensually and “pregnat/sex” that happens non-consensually. So rape victims are treated the same way.
To me it is really telling what kind of church you are at if they have a school and standard operating procedure is to kick a pregnant girl out of the school.If I were you I’d leave immediately. My wife works at a public school and they actually have a special day care just for young mothers so that they can finish school. It is a shame when the secular public school has more charity and love than our private “Christian” schools.
Well, that kind of depends on the attitude of the kids themselves,doesn’t it? As a Christian school teacher, I saw two types of kids. There was one set who would get pregnant and be horrified at the consequences of what they had done, be repentant, and be willing to change. On the other hand, I had a female student who talked about how much she wanted a baby and then, when she got pregnant, was quite happy to share all the details. There was no embarrassment, no shame, and certainly no awareness that she had just brought huge responsibility upon herself and her family. Obviously these two very different attitudes would need to be responded to very differently.
“Obviously these two very different attitudes would need to be responded to very differently.”
First of all Fundies don’t make that distinction. There is no distinction. If you mess up they throw you out, you can repent later, but the response I’m talking about isn’t predicated upon repentance. Secondly, to answer your question, NO. Or at least no neither one deserves the response Christian schools give. Both people deserve to be treated with love. Neither deserves to be thrown out to fend for themselves. I’m sorry, but I don’t care what the motives are the default response of Christian schools is the *exact* opposite of what it should be.
I’m talking about the knee-jerk reaction that the Christian school does. Now ultimately down the road both of those girls need different things, but immediately and at the point I’m talking about the reaction should be the same and should *never* be expulsion.
Mark, you make some great points.
So many fundamentalist preachers love preaching “Law,” however, they fail to finish their sermons by stating that we cannot keep the law…only Christ can and did.
They leave out the gospel.
Michael Horton rightly calls this epidemic “Christ-less Christianity.”
And Religious Morality
Soooo right. I never heard a sermon against any kind of abuse. The lack of those types of sermons (in my mind as a child) seemed to be because if you committed those sins, you probably didn’t even go to our church because surely the righteous people in my church would never do such criminal things! 🙄 Therefore, it was completely ok to harp on the smaller sins that our people committed. As a kid, I thought our people just needed some sharp edges rounded off, not a complete change of heart. I was so wrong 🙂 My parents were some of the worst hypocrites in our church! 😕
Interesting reading about short sleeve shirts being banned because of the appearance of the crease resembling a baby’s butt. I suppose that the ban extends to making a fist with one’s fingers because the creases resemble … well you know what.
SFL has opened up some dark new places in my mind this week. Hyles sex masks, elbow butts and sexy furniture are going to fester.
The only time I have ever seen furniture sex was when my dad’s dog would make love to the ottoman. Fixing him stopped that. Perhaps that is what fundies need as well.
Excuse me. If you fix them, how are they supposed to get a quiverfull?! Goodness. Then they’d really be in sin. 🙄
So facts being what they are, my wife and I had sex before we got married even while attending a Fundy college. It happens. Anyway, at one point my wife, then fiance, was at a college chapel service and felt very guilty about what we had done. So she went to one of the female teachers at the school and confessed what had happened. The teacher appeared to be very graceful and told her that she would not report us, but would in fact be holding my wife accountable. Great, good, I’m fine with that. Then, a week or so later, this teacher’s two sons, who were good friends of mine, come to me and say, “So our mom asked us if we knew that you and your fiance were having sex.” And that was one of the very first big pushes that sent us out of Fundamentalism. Who sinned worse? Us for having sex before marriage or her for saying she would keep it in confidence and then gossiping about it to her sons and to others.
So glad to be out from the judgmental system of fundydom.
Bravo, Bravo. One of your best entries.
Okay, I do agree w/ this post. . But. . As a wife, I think I would struggle more w/ my husband having an affair than if he say, gossiped or got pulled over for speeding or even lied about something stupid. Not that I’m saying sexual sin is WORSE before GOD. . but, depending on the sexual sin, it really does have some different ramifications/consequences for the individuals involved. . .particularly in the case of an affair or sexual abuse. Even in court of law, sexual abuse of a minor would carry a higher sentence than some other forms of abuse.
An affair isn’t really a sexual sin. Not really. If I had sex with a friend, it wouldn’t be the same thing as having sex with a friend while I was married to another woman. There’s a lack of sexual self-control on one hand, which is a bad thing. But an affair is simply a different kind of sin. I can’t even think of them in the same categories. You would be right to be hurt, of course.
What I mean is that an affair goes deeper than just sex. Yeah?
An affair is a betrayal of trust, not just a sex act, yes.
On another note, the pictured harlot’s scarlet letter looks like the Bama logo. Roll Tide Roll?
This post made me think of this song…
The context of Proverbs 6:32-33 begins with verse 20. Sexual sin has greater emotional & social consequences than other sins, for the perpetrators & the victims. Example: If you had a material possession stolen from you and also had adultery committed against you, which one would inflict more pain? You can go out & replace a stolen tv alot easier than you can rebuild a broken marriage. You would feel violated after both, but infidelity involves being hurt by someone you love & trust, not a random stranger.
“Unless you’re lucky enough to be a managawd, his son, or one of his prize tithers, committing any sexual sin”
I had been thinking about this. I know of one alleged child molestation scandal at my church. It was very hush-hush and covered up, and I don’t know all the details. The accused perpetrator (a layperson serving in children’s ministries) was kicked out and we were told not to speak to him. We didn’t know whether the accusation was true, but we (I guess “we” meant the church leadership) thought it better to separate and not be involved in the case at all. I think we were told that some of the PIs might try to contact us to get more information, and we were supposed to say as little as possible. I ran into the accused individual at school a couple of years later (we were both in university) and he was seemingly not in prison so I’m not entirely sure what became of all that.
So I was thinking that – well, I don’t know where all these other IFB churches are coming from that SFL discusses, but mine doesn’t cover up for the perpetrator AND let them continue serving. (We just cover them up.) But your first sentence makes a good point – it’s the leaders that are excused, not the laymen as much.
It got me thinking about what IS the best way to deal with these kinds of scandals. Is there a point at which we can no longer forgive a person and allow them back into our circles? Is the fundy style of separating from a sinning brethren always wrong, or should it only be applied for serious sex scandals? What if they repent (whatever that means)? Is that enough to allow them back in? Can they be restored into leadership positions, or are there sins for which you can never regain trust afterwards? What if it’s not clear whether the allegations are true – is the church expected to stand behind the accused? Or is it better to just separate and stay as far away from the accused as possible? (This seems harsh, given that if the accused person turns out to be innocent, then they had failed to show support or Christ’s love to a person who needed it the most.)
Actually, just looked up the person on Megan’s Law and yeah, the guy is a registered sex offender. Still, not sure in the end what became of all that.
At the first church I ever worked at we had a pretty decent youth pastor. He came to the church about a year before me after the previous youth pastor stepped down because he molested a 14-year old girl. The family told the pastor when they found out and the pastor urged them not to press charges because it would destroy the church if people knew a child molester worked there. The parents agreed on the condition that the youth pastor was fired. He was. He is now a youth pastor at a church about 40 miles away. What really sucked was that the molester was very popular with the kids and when they did not like the new pastor, they would tell him “We wish pastor [molester] was back!” After many a Wednesday night the youth pastor and I would go back to his office to finish up work (I was his intern), several times he’d look me right in the eye and tell me, “I hope in your future ministry career you never have kids tell you they’d rather have the pervert!”
The church was so dysfunctional he ended up quitting, as did I in the same month. His replacement also molested a kid, this time the story made the local paper and half the church left.
Well, of course they don’t preach against sexual assault (remember, you can’t rape the willing), because that’s what some fundy men do to their wives. They feel it is their “right”, because the Bible says that their wives’ body is theirs.
The stories of this never cease to anger me.
For all the talk about comparing scripture to scripture, the Fundies never seem to step back an look at the big picture nor the context. They seem to get real up-close to a scripture, and then decide it means something spectacularly restrictive and specific, standing on its own. The term “loosen up” applies to them in more ways than one.
Re: The problem of the IFB condemning bare knee caps and teenagers holding hands, but nary a word about the sins rape, sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc.
I think the problem goes far deeper than the fundamentalist’s hang-ups about sex. The core issue is that fundamentalism is a self-centered religion. It’s about self-examination, confessing one’s sins, and trying to make oneself holier by following the rules,. They tell you that you shouldn’t sin because it will damage self’s relationship with God, and/or that by sinning you are hurting yourself because after all, God made you so he knows what’s best for you.
But Christianity (and Judaism) were never meant to be all about oneself and one’s personal relationship with God, to the exclusion of our fellow humans. The Bible has a lot to say about how we treat each other. Sometimes sin hurts the person being sinned against (our fellow human) more than it hurts the sinner (at least in a tangible sense). Fundamentalists do not recognize this. Rape and child abuse and domestic violence are examples of sins that hurt the person sinned against more than they hurt the sinner. Drunk driving is an example of a sin that has the potential to hurt both the sinner (the drunk driver) and those being sinned against (the innocent law-abiding drivers on the road). Yet fundamentalism only recognizes that sin hurts the sinner, which is an extremely selfish and self-centered way of viewing sin.