A few days ago, TIME magazine released the #MeToo ‘Silence Breakers’ as its Persons of the Year for 2017; yet, what is most remarkable is that this ever-growing chorus of voices spanning workplaces, #ChurchToo, schools, sports clubs, politics, and entertainment joined in perfect harmony without ever rehearsing a single note.
No one gave a rallying cry. No political party controlled the message. One too many violations, liberties taken without permission, devaluations, and escalations finally cracked the social code. Pressure had been mounting for centuries, and the dam gave way.
Many of you, like me, have been part of this movement for months, years, even decades. Each voice raised was another chink in the wall. That elbow in the corner of the magazine’s cover is yours. It is mine. We’re telling the church, we have something to say. And, no, God doesn’t want us to be silent any longer. Qui tacet consentire videtur–“he who is silent is taken to agree.” We DON’T agree, and we won’t be silent.
It’s a tsunami-size wave, a national excavation of uncovering sexual harassment, assault, and abuse in all the nooks and crannies of society. It’s the unearthing of sexual misdeeds, buried by monumental cover-ups. It’s the crashing of kings.
It’s removing secrecy from “open secrets.”
This new book of revelation playing out on Twitter reveals the plague of abuses hovering over the church’s door. Read the outpouring of #ChurchToo posts, where the silenced, marginalized, discredited, denigrated, and dehumanized call upon willfully blind churchgoers and church leaders to settle their accounts.
What #ChurchToo Isn’t–It’s Not Revenge
#ChurchToo is not about enemies of the church. It’s not about anger or revenge. Many of us would like to see justice, but most of us don’t define justice as Old Testament retributive destruction.
We do see justice as giving a voice to the voiceless; giving love to the brokenhearted; and giving protection to victims. We also see it as requiring accountability from abusers. Justice heals, restores, rehabilitates, protects, and deters future crime. Justice does not marry forgiveness to abuse. And that’s why the #ChurchToo movement is necessary. Too many people have misapplied the Bible and manipulated forgiveness in the name of Christ. Effectually, these people are burying abuse and the abused beneath their altars.
What #ChurchToo Is–It Is About Being a True Christian & Resetting the Culture to Christ
This sharing is not a criticism of God, but it is a clear message to the men and women who abuse the name of God through their personal biases and complicit inaction. We will no longer accept the manipulation of beautiful salvation or secondary victimization. We will not tolerate complicity by action or inaction.
The rest of this post is dedicated to others’ voices, not my own. I wish I could post them all, but sadly, there are just too many. But if you ever doubt the church’s involvement in sexual violence or how pervasive sexual violence within the church is, then I implore you to go to Twitter, search #ChurchToo, and just scroll.
We're taught to obey, to be submissive and silent. We're taught that females will lead men astray, just like Eve. OF COURSE #ChurchToo
— Valerie Sweeney (@vcsweeney) December 8, 2017
#churchtoo I was groomed and outright sexually abused by men since I was quite young, but when I had the nerve to tell the pastor the first time he told me I should be grateful for these men's attention, it was Godly love and that I was causing trouble by talking about it. ? Huh?
— Shannon Dwyer (@ShannonDwyer20) December 11, 2017
#churchtoo the sexual grooming by this church member lasted from the ages of 12 to 14, I felt sick in the stomach whenever he would come near me but I was ridiculed and punished whenever I would try to disclose to someone,I hadn't figured out that they knew already and "approved"
— Shannon Dwyer (@ShannonDwyer20) December 11, 2017
— Amy in Michigan (@Amy_in_Michigan) December 5, 2017
— CBE International (@CBEInt) December 7, 2017
We trick ourselves into thinking sincerity and warm feelings heals wounds. Victims of abuse in the church don't need your warm feelings and words of peace, they need you to speak out against the abuse, fight to stop it, and exclude the abusers. #churchtoo
— SometimesPDX (@SometimesPDX) December 7, 2017
My whole life Christian leaders have told me to stand up for what's right. Now, when their voice is needed none of them want to speak up. #churchtoo trended for days & nearly every church pastor ignored it, as they ignore everything else.
— Scott Wells (@efwells101) December 5, 2017
To the churches who support Moore: You want to be trusted with children? Nope. Never. #churchtoo
— Elektra (@elektra_bbb) December 4, 2017
#churchtoo Such powerful tweets are an encouragement to others. In a small Episcopal Church, the Priest invited a convicted child predator to lead vacation Bible school. The Episcopal Church still stands behind Lynn Baumann.
— Newbets (@Newbet) December 7, 2017
You mean like your church never asking about the victim (aka me) & instead immediately launching into avoiding a lawsuit while convincing my parents to not sue? Oh & never letting members know an employee abused. #damagecontrol101 #churchtoo
— Katie Trout (@KatieSTrout) December 5, 2017
Like the sin of Christians sexually abusing members of their church with no repentance whatsoever? Or you throwing said victims under the bus for predatory political heads? #churchtoo
— Katie Trout (@KatieSTrout) December 1, 2017
For everyone who posted about abuse happening in churches, thank you for telling your story. Hearing what you had to say helped me feel less alone. #churchtoo
— Debbie McNulty (@DMcNulty70) December 4, 2017
If you read through #ChurchToo, there are many stores where young women watched churches celebrate the “repentance” of their attackers, were forced to publicly forgive them, or even apologize. Deep cancer indeed.
— S. E. Kesselring (@CaffeineAuthor) November 30, 2017
I meet with my prosecutor today to try to plead w her about taking the plea deal off the table. He seriously doesn't deserve it. He's robbed me &others while playing his Minister role. I wish I knew how to properly object to it. I feel like I'm fighting alone. #ChurchToo #MeToo
— Tanyqua Oliver (@tanyqua7) December 1, 2017
— LibertyALF (@ALFLiberty) December 1, 2017
I’m ready to not hide anymore #churchtoo
— Kristen Albert (@kristenalbert95) November 30, 2017
No. No. No. Jesus weeps over this, over the pain of those assaulted and re-traumatized by this. Jesus is grieved by His so-called followers posting something like this. I hate that church feels unsafe. #MeToo #ChurchToo
— Becky Hope (@Hermionesghost) December 1, 2017
The #ChurchToo thread calls me to lament and weep over the utter failure of the church. And give thanks for the courage of these who give powerful testimony. Preach!
— Bonnie G MacDonald (@bonniegmac) December 1, 2017
"But look at all the good he does" is a propaganda technique used by the church called "divine sanction." It attempts to excuse any bad behavior because the person is "chosen" by God and therefore exempt from criticism. It says the victim is an enemy of God. #churchtoo
— SometimesPDX (@SometimesPDX) November 30, 2017
my childhood church told girls/women we had to make sure we dressed homely (no tight clothes, nothing with the color red, minimal jewelry, skirts that almost touched the ground & our head covered with a doily). Otherwise boys/men might think of us as Jezebel #ChurchToo
— Ms. Markle’s cousin👸🏽 (@KeshRue) November 30, 2017
I was sexually assaulted by a youth pastor from Ocean View Baptist Church in MB when I was 16 years old in 1999. He destroyed my trust of the church, and he now claims I'm a liar and I "ruined HIS life". #churchtoo #MeToo
— Lord Disco (@TheLordDisco) November 30, 2017
I worked at a Christian camp in college. The director of the camp emotionally abused me for months. I was his emotional punching bag. He was very charismatic, everyone LOVED and respected him. When I reported it to the board of directors years later, NOTHING was done. #ChurchToo
— Kendallyn Frost (@KendallynFrost) November 30, 2017
#churchtoo Favorite part of letter from elders: We have a duty to protect the church spiritually from destructive people like you. (Not from slanderers, abusers, cheats, liars. Just a woman who dares to talk about what she experienced.) Elders NEVER met with me.
— Sandy Beach (@SandyBe15644853) November 30, 2017
Saw a post suggesting that when victims post #ChurchToo that they’re defaming the church. Know what defames the church? Sexual exploitation and subsequent cover-up. Standing WITH victims is what Jesus does. Anything else is sin.
— Neil Schori (@neilschori) November 30, 2017
Between the ages of 6 and 12, one of the Sunday school teachers would take me into a room, lock the door, and make me sit on his lap while he rubbed all down my legs. He’d talk to me in a soft, creepy voice and gave me candy afterwards. I had to see him every Sunday. #ChurchToo
— Erika Lawson (@erikalawson90) November 29, 2017
It’s interesting how many people who are fans of 1 Cor. 12 when it comes to discussing the interconnectedness of the body of Christ don’t want to own that abuse in any part of the church affects the whole thing. 🤔 #churchtoo
— Rachel Cohen (@pwstranger) November 29, 2017
#churchtoo While I didn't personally experience sexual abuse in the church sphere, I am indirectly involved– maybe directly involved– because of someone I esteem who WAS abused and faces ongoing slander and opposition because she didn't stay silent.
— ComoxValleyAdventist (@comoxadventist) November 29, 2017
Church leaders, PAY ATTENTION. The secular workforce is removing sexual predators because they value a safe workplace. If they are, why aren’t you? Church ought to be the safest place in the world for EVERY person. #churchtoo
— Kendra Fletcher (@KendraEFletcher) November 29, 2017
— Barbra Graber (@BarbraGraber) November 29, 2017
— Mary DeMuth (@MaryDeMuth) November 29, 2017
We need to talk about #ChurchToo. Sexual harassment and abuse is in the church and we NEED to learn how to address this. Yes, Jesus paid the price for everyone but we cannot put our guard down. https://t.co/Jrf6MPD2US
— Brian & Kathleen (@BandKmornings) November 29, 2017