Wednesday, October 30, 2013

John Shore's Advice to Callous Religious Leaders

In a recent post at Unfundamentalist Christians, John shore shared a letter from a woman who was sexually assaulted at age 16. When she confided in her pastor, he coldly told her, “It’s too bad that you didn’t force him to kill you instead. That way you could have at least died a virgin.”

Shore was disgusted by the pastor's callousness, as any compassionate person would be. Religious leaders have a responsibility to offer sound pastoral care to their congregants, and the woman's pastor failed miserably. Shore offered advice to other unfeeling religious leaders that I had to share.
"Are you are a pastor, priest, or ministry leader who holds that women are intrinsically inferior to men—that women should submit to their husbands, that women are less intelligent than men, less emotionally sophisticated than men, not as ambitious, driven, or proud as men? Do you believe that a woman’s highest calling is to be a good mother, that a young woman’s moral status is tied to her virginity, that women’s sexuality causes men to sin?

If you do believe those things, then I’m begging you to right now resign all of your authority in the church. Get out—and don’t talk to anyone on your way to the door, either. You do not speak for God. You wouldn’t know good counsel from bad porridge. At best you are profound and grievous embarrassment to God; at worst the devil himself wonders at the fullness of the damage you do.

Please just step away from the pulpit. Because surely you realize what a short step it is from, “God designed women to love but be inferior to men,” to, “You should have made your rapist kill you so that at least you’d have died a virgin.” If you do not realize how smoothy the latter extends from the former, then … then gosh, what a surprise: logic isn’t your strong suit."
I encourage readers to read the full post, and to show victims far more empathy than that pastor showed his congregant.

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