This Silence Won’t Do

No, this shouldn’t have to be said.

It should be obvious. There should be no wiggle room on this one, no opportunity for confusion. There should be no doubt on where we stand. But we live in strange times, and strange things are happening. Christian leaders with enormous platforms rally to defend those who seem indefensible — the sexual abusers of minors, men, and women who are our sons, daughters, wives, and husbands.

So this shouldn’t have to be said, but I’m going to say it anyway. This silence won’t do.

(Photo Credit)

I don’t care what political party someone is affiliated with, what denomination they are a part of, or what theology to which they ascribe. When the evidence points to sexual misconduct, abuse, attempted rape, or molestation, I denounce such behavior in the strongest possible terms. I cannot and will not support or defend such people. That’s Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, and Harvey Weinstein, yes. But it’s also Roy Moore and Donald Trump.

We cannot pick and choose here. If we condemn the actions of one, we must condemn the actions of all.

Even if their abusive actions go back decades, even if their violence is excused as “locker room talk,” and even if the next scandal sweeps their heinous crimes from the headlines, I can not and will not defend these criminal, horrific acts. It’s not a matter of politics for me, it’s a matter of conviction as a follower of Jesus.

I am confused by Christian leaders who rush to the defense of such people. It doesn’t only not sound Christ like, it sounds explicitly evil.

My voice doesn’t carry as far as many, but whatever platform I do have I want to stand on clearly and say:

  1. When children, women, or men come forward with accusations of abuse against people of power, whether those powers are educational, religious, familial, or political, I believe them.
  2. When people in power attempt to downplay, excuse, justify, or explain their actions as something other than inappropriate, grotesque acts against vulnerable people, I don’t trust that they are actually sorry, I believe they are simply attempting to save face.
  3. I do not believe the Church (and that’s people, not institutions) should be silent on such things, so as a member of Christ’s body I want to be clear in my condemnation of such acts. They are unacceptable simply as a humane judgment. They are oppositional to the way of Jesus. They have been long-overlooked and swept under the rug by churches of various denominations.
  4. Given the fact that many Christians wish to lend their political support to the accused, I warn against fellow believers becoming entangled in such matters. I encourage us all to be personally invested rather than politically defensive. Educate yourselves about abuse and appropriate response, equip your church with policies to protect kids and outline appropriate reporting, and become trained in counseling victims and ministering to perpetrators in appropriate ways that don’t further harm victims.

Someone you know has been sexually abused or assaulted. The statistics are staggering. As the list of accused leaders and influential artists continues to pile up right before our eyes, turning our heads in disgust is not an acceptable response by the Body of Christ.

We must engage. 

And we must stop excusing the behavior as inappropriate joking (which is also condemned in Scripture, by the way), political sabotage, or as something that happened “so long ago.”

God forbid those be our daughters, sons, husbands, and wives.

If it were, we may be slower to justify or defend. We surely would not be silent.

But as the One Body of Christ, they indeed are our daughters, sons, wives, and husbands. Our response and tone should reflect our care over them, not over the villains who sought to do them harm.

I shouldn’t have to say that. But I just did.

And you should, too.