Fundamental Scandals

Challenging the toxic orthodoxy taking root in clergy abuse activism

Christian School Confidential is my other blog.  It started out as a reaction to the arrest of Bob Gray , former pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, and the realization the local media would not cover the pertinent points or ask the questions I thought should have been asked.  Gray was arrested in 2006, died before going to trial, and now it’s 2013.   7 years later.  The lawsuits against Trinity are apparently stalled, forgotten, or mishandled.

Many times I wanted to quit Christian School Confidential. It’s now been over 7 years and it’s time for me to embrace those 3 dirty words that haunt and anger the mind of every survivor group on Facebook: Get Over It!

Okay, step back. . .not as bad as it seems.  During those seven years, I managed to write three scripts, two books, produced a YouTube movie that brought fundamentalist group home survivors together and culminated in the successful 2012 Survivors of Institutional Abuse convention in Long Beach, CA.

My loyalties are becoming more challenging due  to recent opportunities in the entertainment industry.   This is not to say that I won’t have a strong opinion about events as they happen, but this ‘hands on’ activism I began in 2006 has pretty much run its course with me.  I decided this Bible Madness page will be where I’ll post the occasional diatribe concerning the world of fundamentalism.

Why Bible Madness?  Primarily because, like They Didn’t Forget (the YouTube that brought survivors together), Bible Madness was used to bring media attention to the plight of church abuse victims at a public awareness event in Jacksonville (click here for video),  It also enjoyed the occasional showings on community television stations throughout the nation via the Atheist Alliance Television Outreach back in the late 90s.

That’s who I really am!  I make videos, produce gallery shows and movie screenings.  The main reason I kept going was because no one was writing about these issues to my satisfaction.  Christians were still figuring out how to hold their pastors accountable while being true to scripture.  It took Facebook to draw everybody out of the woodwork and I am satisfied those activists will be just as aggressive as I was in those early days.

My object of concern has changed.  Now that evangelical Christians are dominating Facebook activism, an unspoken ‘survivor orthodoxy’ that keeps victims from finding closure has developed.  This orthodoxy is varied.  It talks tough against child abuse while still embracing fundamentalist homophobia and xenophobia (which is ultimately the root and sustenance of abuse).

“I have come to believe that overreaction to abuse can be as bad as no reaction.”

                                                                                                                        Jerry D. Kaifetz, Profaned Pulpit

This toxic orthodoxy holds that the worst thing about clergy abuse occurs when victims abandon their Christian beliefs.  A victim must be allowed to boldly question their beliefs, especially when those doctrines were used to keep them from going to law enforcement or seeking help. If such questioning leads them to change their views, it’s necessary to champion their right to ‘own’ their thoughts.  If this process is discouraged, they live in fear and will never find closure.

A predator’s biggest friend is shame.  Keeping people afraid of their opinions and  sexuality ultimately results in silence. Yes, you can find closure and still maintain Christian beliefs.  The issue isn’t necessarily about the beliefs as much as it is discouraging a victim from owning their thoughts and becoming a true survivor.

The common wisdom ‘it’s not what you say, but how you say it’ is why I’m ceasing to blog at Christian School Confidential.  Reactions to various events in fundamentalism will be posted on this blog, but it’s not going to be my main concern. I’d rather make videos.

Art is a way of making our society’s collective unconscious visible.  Images wake people up more than the written word.  A good movie, play, or painting, like an intense dream, forces us to ask ‘why are we seeing these images?’. Those who advocate censorship of uncomfortable images will ultimately,  like those who take pills to recover from bad dreams, keep our problems always with us.

Censorship abounds in survivor orthodoxy.  Especially if finances are involved.

Art, regardless of media, has a way of breaking through groupthink. It appeals directly to the individual.

My view of art changed significantly since my fundamentalist days.  I don’t embrace this view of the Artist as a type of Moses/Ayn Rand coming down from the mountains to deliver a great unknown truth.  Art is a way of exploring the unknown in order to find the truth: the truth of what we really believe, how we got into this predicament, various ways of solving problems, understanding our true motivations, and breaking through the fearful inquisition of the orthodox.

NOTE:  For the most up to date info about scandals within the IFB movement, visit: http://chucklestravels.com

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