This morning as I was drinking my first reviving and refreshing cup of coffee and scrolling through Facebook a post by another Patheos author came up on my feed that pulled me in. Actually, it was quite triggering, raising my blood pressure more than any coffee could. It was by the Catholic Channel author Father Longenecker from several years ago and involves a subject dear to my heart that forms the core of why No Longer Quivering exists in the first place – Spiritual Abuse.
Longenecker – does not come out and name any specific groups or persons that he’s calling a Post-Christian Crybaby Bully in his article, but as you read on, clicking through the multi-page clickbait posting you get an immediate impression who he has in mind. That would be any individual or group that isn’t poor, starving, refugees, aborted babies or persecuted Christians in the Middle East that says they have been abused. Everyone else can just go suck it, suck it up and stop whining, stop organizing, stop demanding that the abuse stop according to him.
He even goes so far as to claim that those that expose abuse and speak against it are somehow in it for financial reasons or other motives that have nothing to do with helping others.
Father Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest, speaking from a place of church authority telling others to be quiet about what’s happened to them. Sadly enough this seems to be the typical response by anyone in church leadership no matter what the denomination when abuse is brought to light – silencing the victim, bullying them until they shut down.
I’m not going to debate what is and isn’t abuse, but let me just state baldly – if your theology has a body count then you might want to rethink what it is you are actually believing in. I’m not even talking about the ancient body counts connected to religions, like the many murdered during the Spanish Inquisition by the Catholic church. The abuse is real, it’s ongoing and it needs to stop.
Reading his denigration of those actively involved in making sure no one else is abused makes me remember the recent movie ‘Spotlight’. You remember ‘Spotlight’, which won last year’s Academy Award for best picture for its depiction of the sexual abuse problem endemic in the Catholic church of children by priests. The researchers and journalists uncovered a pattern of abuse by priests of children and the involvement of the local court system and law enforcement to help the church cover it up, to silence those harmed.
I’m not going to shut up about the abuse in Quiverfull either. We have a body count too, plus those that seek to do the same thing Longenecker does, silence those harmed. Here’s just a few victims that we will not be silent about:
- The 5 murdered children of Andrea Yates.
- Hana Grace-Rose Williams – killed at the hands of an adoptive family.
- Lydia Shatz murdered – disciplined to death.
- Zariah Shatz – severely abused in the name of God.
- Kelly Silk and her children.
- The large number of babies and mothers killed by incompetent medical care by unskilled midwifes or by solo home births dictated by belief.
- The generation of young adults who’ve had to fight hard to overcome abusive parenting and lack of education in Quiverfull.
- People who’ve had their hearts and souls crushed by the cruel words, actions and teachings of abusive pastors and church leaders.
- …and the list goes on.
The last thing someone who has suffered and survived at the hands of abusive theology needs is someone telling them that they are whiners. Part of healing is expression of what it is you’ve been through.
Father Longenecker doesn’t care about the actual people he’s sworn to be the spiritual father of, he only care about protecting his organization.
Rant over, I’m going to go sit in the sunshine, have a beer and ponder why silencing others is something Father Longenecker is so actively engaged in. Perhaps he’s merely been standing on his head so long that it’s done something to his brain where his theology is not so much about Jesus as it is protecting those doing the abusing.
We will not shut up.
We should not even consider it.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She was raised Catholic, has been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for ten years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She’s moving to Costa Rica in May 2017. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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