Jocelyn Zichterman’s I Fired God lets a lot ‘demons’ out of Pandora’s box. In fact, I was going to do a piece about BDSM, since Jocelyn also brings up that subject. Due to current events, I decided that is a topic best taken up at another time! Let’s wrap up this five part meditation on I Fired God with something most of us can agree on: what can be done?
Most of Jocelyn’s suggestions are common sense for anyone who has studied, or been exposed to, adults coming to terms with child sexual abuse: longer statutes of limitations so child abuse victims can properly report predators. License all boarding schools. Have a qualified counsellor in private and public schools who is certified in recognizing symptoms of child abuse. More transparency with parents who homeschool.
Certainly fundamentalists can’t be trusted to police their own! Independent studies that have been conducted by David Gibbs Christian Law Association always seem to favor the accused church. Jocelyn mentions Gibbs, but does not discuss the GRACE investigation into BJU. It’s not the most politically correct thing for someone on the side of victims to criticize GRACE. So, I’ll save Jocelyn the embarrassment and take up the slack!
Basyle ‘Boz’ Tchividjian, founder of GRACE, is a professor at Liberty University’s law school. Liberty is a ministry of Thomas Road Baptist Church, pastored by Jonathan Falwell. You remember Jonathan Falwell? He just showed up at The ROC last Saturday rallying the troops! Falwell championed the corrupt leadership of the ROC, one of whom is in a Texas jail awaiting trial for statutory rape. He encouraged them to “gird themselves up to storm the gates of hell.”
GRACE, on the other hand, is not exactly having a coniption fit over this. They are preoccupied with BJU and Sovereign Grace Ministries. Boz recently singled out “an institution that took steps to protect itself and its reputation over the victimized souls (and bodies) of little ones” . This is in reaction to Southern Baptists standing behind C.J. Mahaney, who is being attacked (as well he should be) for covering up the sexual abuse cases of children. GRACE’s Facebook page also posted a link to this article which explores ‘our tendancy to defend institutions we cherish when they are under attack’.
He’s agin’ it! Or, so he says. It would be a bit more inspiring if Boz and GRACE would have given some ‘shout outs’ to the victims of Pastor G, SET FREE, and the Richmond Outreach Center after his boss, Jonathan Falwell, went of his way to defend abusive leadership.
You doubt? Check out this video of the ROC’s service on 5/25/13. Jonathan Falwell is the third speaker. Listen as he tells the congregation that ‘everybody has made a mistake’. And it doesn’t matter what ‘the world’ thinks! God wants the ROC to prosper! Not even the slightest attempt to pray for the victims. As you listen to him, keep repeating to yourself, “This is the boss of ‘Boz’ Tchividjian talking!”
Let me get this straight: an employee of a Christian college (Liberty) that has, and is still, enabling abusive leadership (Pastor G/ROC) is leading an independent investigation into another Christian college (BJU) whose leaders are also accused of enabling other abusive leaders (Bart Janz, Chuck Phelps, Lester Roloff, etc). Yeah, that sounds pretty independent and objective, doesn’t it?
It’s not enough for Boz to boldly challenge Sovereign Grace Ministries. If I’m to actually believe that GRACE is nothing more than smoke, mirrors, and distractions, Boz is going to have to step up to the plate. He must level some criticism against his own employer, Jonathan Falwell, for his support and enabling of an abusive ministry.
Jocelyn did not address the GRACE investigation in I Fired God. I won’t even try to put words into her mouth. It doesn’t really matter anyway. Advocates come and go. Only the stalwart die hards of the blogosphere remain. If there wasn’t a blogosphere, we would be at the mercy of the media. Prior to the internet, news about religious abuse was few and far between and usually limited to the Catholics.
Where is the news of today coming from? If you said ‘facebook’ or the ‘blogosphere’, you got it!
Jocelyn got the attention of the news media through blogs and message boards. Bob Jones University, rightly or wrongly, consented to the independent investigation of GRACE because of the DO RIGHT activism in Facebook, which eventually attracted the attention of the media. The blogosphere has become the defacto ‘Holy Spirit’ of our nation. It does not take kindly to hypocrites. It either brings an institution under the conviction of accountability or destroys them when people take their money elsewhere.
Special thanks: Scott Brown and Geri Mullins