We know a few things about people who have been abused as children-- they tend to become abusers themselves and, if sexually abused, they tend to become sexualized (not all are stuck in this cycle. Some heal.) This means they tend to become the seducers, with the parent or relative who started the sexual abuse and with others. It's a defense mechanism-- a way to take control of an otherwise horrible situation.
Research has shown that religious fundamentalists are more likely to come from families where sexual abuse has occurred. We know about the widespread abuse by Catholic priests.
I want to be clear that I have no problem with Jesus, his teachings or the Christian faith. I have problems with the monsters in the church who abuse the teachings of Jesus and people's faith in Jesus to abuse and take advantage of their congregants. What did Jesus say about them?
David McDonald reports, on his website,"
"In 2001, I heard the Evangelical radio show "Focus on the Family", hosted by psychologist and author Dr. James Dobson, discuss a crisis among Pastors of non-Catholic churches. They reported that 21% of Evangelical/Protestant pastors had had inappropriate sexual contact with members of their congregations. Sixty percent (60%) of Evangelical pastors, most of whom are married, have a problem with pornography. In a 1984 study, 76% of pastors knew of another Evangelical pastor who had sexual intercourse with a parishioner.
Now, the latest polls show that evangelicals and southerners are among the 40 some percent of the population who still believe Bush is highly trustworthy. In other words, 57% of the population have finally figured out that Bush and his extremist right wing Republican cronies have been screwing America and Americans, abusing the trust they were given, taking advantage of their belief that he was a good man they could live with.
We know that people who are abused go into denial. Their families go into denial and they allow the abuse to continue for years, even decades and generations.
Contact, published as the health and community development
magazine of the World Council of Churches, comments, "Rape is much more than forced vaginal penetration; it includes insult, humiliation and aggression. It is violence expressed in its maximum form."
Is it rape, to force a woman to do something she does not want to do? Is it abuse to force a women to live a life in which she is controlled by others? Is the very core of the right wing fundamentalist belief in opposing the right of a woman to control her own body an abusive, anti-woman, rape of the woman's sense of self control?
Recovery from sexual abuse takes a lot of time. Often, adults "wake up" to realize they were sexually abused, only to discover that statutes of limitations have run out and they cannot pursue justice. Not surprisingly, Evangelical and Catholic churches have led the way in blocking the elimination of statutes of limitations in the case of sexual abuse.
Another problem within the Evangelical churches is they have tried to block laws requiring the reporting of sexual abuse cases, according to an article by Marci Hamilton, in Findlaw. She writes
"The evangelicals' argument, however, is that if a pastor must report known child abuse, then members won't confide in him. In other words, let the children suffer so the pedophile can speak to his pastor worry-free.
If we knew a lot less about childhood sexual abuse than we do now, this concern might carry some weight. But the truth is that religious groups have been horrendous at addressing child abuse when they learn about it. The balance between making sure ministers hear everything their members want to say and rescuing the children enduring child abuse is a no-brainer. The Catholic Church's infamous see-no-evil transfer-the-pedophile-elsewhere police is perhaps the most blatant example, but it is far from the only example, as new victims emerge on a regular basis.
There was a time when each religious institution stood for its individual beliefs in the public square, and fought what it believed was morally wrong - even if the moral wrong came from another religious institution. It seems that time is gone. One waits in vain for the religious institution that will stand up to either the Catholics or the evangelicals in these battles over much-needed changes to childhood sexual abuse laws. Their silence is deafening.
Blind Denial, Resistance to Fixing the Problem= Generations of Shame
With such high percentages of the leaders of the Evangelical movement guilty of sexually abusing those they minister to or guilty of problems with pornography, hence problems in relationships with women, it is no surprise that they have led their flocks along this primrose path-- into an abusive, destructive relationship with a political party that has raped them in so many ways. The blue collar, non-college educated people who make up the majority of the Evangelicals continually vote against their better interests in supporting right wing extremists who have sold their souls to corporations.
These evangelicals who worsen their lives to support their church leaders' politics are embracing the abuse and taking control of it, becoming political activists, just as sexually abused children become the seductresses so they can take control of their depraved situations. They have been abused into a perverted form of activism that they embrace to feel in control of their lives.
But gradually, the sexually abused DO wake up and remember and realize what they have been subjected to. And when they do, the rage and anger is strong. When they do, they seek justice and vindication.
Psychologists know that When abuse victims "wake up" it often occurs when a person plays a con game with them similar to the one used to initially abuse them. Sometimes it happens at work, or in a new situation.
Victims of abuse wake up when they have become strong enough to face the reality of their abuse, strong enough to face their abusers and strong enough to let go of their old seductive ways of dealing with their loss of power and innocence.