When Evangelicalism Makes Things Easy for Sexual Offenders—and Hard for Their Victims

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Evangelical teachings on repentance and forgiveness create a tremendous problem when it comes to rape or other forms of abuse. If you commit a sin and repent of it, God forgives you. I remember hearing Psalm 103:12 quoted constantly: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." Of course, this was always said in a positive way---isn't it awesome that God forgives us no matter what? But it doesn't must mean God forgives us. It also means God forgives … [Read more...]

The Other Stories

contemplation

Have you ever read a books where each chapter is written from the perspective of a single character? Some of the ones that are most well written are such that you start to notice inconsistencies, things that don't quite fit, because what you are hearing is that character's spin. Gradually you start to get the hang of which characters are most trustworthy, and which characters you should suspect of spin from the first sentence. I was reminded of this genre when thinking once again over the … [Read more...]

That’s Not Good Enough, Christianity Today—Updated!

Periodico

In the face of increasingly vocal calls to pull the rapist's article (you can read my prior coverage here), the editors of Christianity Today's Leadership Journal have stood firm and refused to take the post down. Instead, they have added an editorial note to the beginning of the article. It's not enough---not nearly enough---and that the editors think it is shows just how deep the problem is. Editorial Note: Since publishing the following piece on Monday, there has been a tremendous backlash … [Read more...]

Evangelical Narratives, Sexual Predators, and Safe Places

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I have written time and again about the evangelical narratives used to excuse rape and child molestations, especially when committed by pastors. I came upon quite a few of these when reading through the comments on the recent article by a convicted rapist and child molester that was published by Christianity Today's Leadership Journal. (If you haven't read about the article yet, please do.) I want to take a moment to look at a few of the excuses I am seeing made, and to reflect on what these … [Read more...]

Why Does Purity Culture Leave out Consent?

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Samantha Field recently wrote two posts on consent on her blog, Defeating the Dragons. She was seeking to answer a question: Why evangelical purity advocates seem unable to talk about consent except to mock it. I found her insights incredibly insightful. (And this isn't an aberration for Samantha---she's brilliant and has an incredibly moving story and you should all read her blog.) In her first post, Samantha wrote that: They don’t teach consent because teaching consent would undermine … [Read more...]

A Rape Trial from behind the Scenes

Jury

I found this comment from reader enuma of interest, and thought I'd share it. The way rape trials play out will of course vary from place to place, but this idea that accused rapists are de facto considered guilty is ridiculous. I'd like to believe that consent isn't that difficult to grasp, but when I was a juror for a rape trial I watched a defense attorney come *thisclose* to convincing some of the jury that not trying to escape, and then giving up on an escape attempt from a rapist (because … [Read more...]

Pensacola Christian College Too, and Why I Care

Students

In the wake of stories of mishandling sexual assault at Bob Jones University and Patrick Henry College comes this: Samantha Field was a student at Pensacola Christian College in 2009, when she claims to have suffered repeated physical and sexual assaults—including two alleged rapes—by her ex-fiancé, a fellow student. Thanks to the school’s strict morality code, which doesn’t allow men and women to use the same elevators, much less be alone in the same room, Samantha was reluctant to … [Read more...]


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