6/13 Flashback: #ThatPost

6/13 Flashback: #ThatPost June 13, 2022

From June 13, 2014, “A preferential option for predators: Christianity Today hires the Rev. Humbert Humbert to serve as a spiritual adviser to its readers“:

I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Robert J. Carlson, the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Louis, said in a deposition released earlier this week. Carlson was talking about the sexual abuse of a child by a priest who served under him when he was an auxiliary bishop in Minnesota.

But that, alas, is not the most appalling, foolish and inadvertently revealing statement this week about sanctimonious sexual predators who target children. That dishonor goes, instead, to Leadership Journal, the magazine for white evangelical clergy published by Christianity Today. Carlson can’t compete with CT’s horrifying decision to publish this: “My Easy Trip From Youth Minister to Felon.”

The anonymous former youth minister, writing from prison, is every bit as narcissistic and self-justifying as Humbert Humbert, if not as repulsively charming as the unreliable narrator of Nabokov’s novel. And his agenda throughout the piece is the same as Humbert’s, only with a sanctimonious sheen of religiosity and pious Bible-talk (including, of course, the obligatory self-comparison to poor King David, who in the writer’s telling was simply not spiritual strong enough to resist raping the tawdry temptress Bathsheba).

The writer’s methodical selection, isolation and grooming of his victim began when she was still in middle school — something readers will find only from reading between the lines of his apologia. But he (and the editors of Leadership Journal) presents the story as though it were a slowly developing romantic affair, a mutual sin entered into by two equals who were equally culpable.

The guy goes on to discuss the impact this “spiritual lapse” has had on him — but only on him. He mentions its effect on his wife and children only in passing, bemoaning that he’s unfairly not seen his children since she packed them up and left. (He does discuss his wife a great deal earlier in the piece — blaming her for his “affair” by piously pretending he’s not doing that.)

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