I have a friend, much younger than me, who came out almost a year ago with some pretty serious accusations against the pastor of her church. He began to build a relationship with her that went beyond any proper adult/child relationship. He called this mentoring, but over a period of time he became her closest confidant. He told her on a constant basis how beautiful she was and would say things like, “You aren’t the skinniest girl, but you are the prettiest.” Thus manipulating her into feeling both ugly and beautiful at the same time. She thrived and loathed his attention, convincing herself that it was innocent because he was a pastor, right? Then, once she had turned 16 (the legal age of consent in my state) he began to try and pursue a relationship with her.
One day he tried to sleep with her. Kissing her, fondling her, and telling her how much he loved her, all the while sitting in the living room with pictures of his family looking on. My friend left, feeling immense amounts of guilt and vowed to not let it happen again. And she didn’t. She distanced herself from him as much as she could. She hid the guilt and shame from everyone, including me. How I wish I had known that all this was going on. I saw a girl who clearly needed help and guidance, but I had no idea.
After four years of silence, last summer she finally decided to tell someone. It was time to cut the connections. Time to let the world see this adultorous, leachorous, predator for who he was. She told her family first. They took it to the church. He was questioned. He lied of course. Truth has a funny way of coming out though and eventually those on the board at the church saw through them. He was asked to step down. He made a confession in front of the church, owning up to his mistakes and asking for forgiveness, but without actually owning the mistake. He still thought he should be allowed to be the pastor of the church or at the very least, a member. Eventually a committee, made up of various pastors from around the area, were brought together to research the situation and decide whether this man really did deserve to be reinstated as the Pastor. Of course, they talked to him first and he lied again and just like the first time, the lies made no sense. And so my friend was asked to speak to them, reopening the wound that was just beginning to heal.
The answer in the end, was no. No, because you feel no remorse or shame in what you did. You are just angry that she finally said something and would have continued in this behavior if you hadn’t been stopped. End of story, right?
Wrong. He has tried to friend my friend on Facebook twice. When she posted a picture of herself with his mother he messaged her and asked her to take it down stating that he didn’t think it was nice to present of reminder that she was ever connected to their family. As if he was the victim. When her parents saw him at a restaurant, he had the audacity to walk over to them and ask if everything was cool between them. “No,” her step-mom said. “And if there was a way for me to bring you up on charges, I would.” There is a petition floating around from members of the church who clearly don’t understand the situation, who want him reinstated as a pastor or at the very least, to be a member of the church. My favorite quote from the petition: "For the past several years, he has been our Pastor, faithful and rightstanding." Pretty sure rightstanding people do not court teenagers when they are married men. I’m hoping none of them have teenage daughters.
And now he has decided to start a new church. See, he was smart. He didn’t commit any particular crime, beyond a moral one, so he has no record. No record means that even though this man is clearly, at the very least, an adulterer, he can continue to pastor other churches because they won’t know. Not unless someone says something, which is just not what church people do. You don’t speak ill of other churches and their pastors. And there is that whole forgiveness thing. Apparently, in church circles, forgiveness means that we let people do whatever they want and keep being pastors because “we all make mistakes.”
Makes me wonder...how many pastor’s are out there, doing these kinds of things and getting away with it? How many church members, in love with the cult personality that some of these pastors have, stand by him even when he clearly did wrong because they like him?
This is a personal, but secret, blog archiving my deconversion from a Christian to a non-believer.