So, I’m completely non-religious, however I try to live my life with an open mind. If you’re religious, cool! So long as you respect that not everyone will believe in your religion and you don’t try to force people to believe your religion, I will always support your religion.
If my parents ask me to go to their church (Willow Creek) and I don’t have anything to do on that day, I have no problem going. I even participate in the church’s activities that give back to the world. So far as I can tell as someone not internal to this church, they use their ‘mega’ influence to do a lot of awesomely good in the world.
However, I’ve had a long-running theory that the male pastors in this church abuse their power and relative fame. This theory had been evidenced by high profile pastors just completely disappearing from the church without a single comment to the congregation or oddly-placed ominous messages to the congregation about forgiveness. It wasn’t just me that has been noticing it either. A popular rumour among the churchgoers has been that the church is covering up the actions of their pastors and are either letting them continue to preach or getting rid of them overnight and hoping nobody would notice.
In the past few years, one of the most popular pastors was found out to have been cheating on his wife with multiple women in the congregation and outside of the congregation. This was the first time the church has made a statement on it since basically everyone already knew and many had already begun to feel like the church was covering up the actions of its pastors and either letting them continue to teach for decades or just kicking them out. Over the years I’ve been seeing decreased attendance (though increasing membership), I’m beginning to wonder if the rumours have had an impact.
Today’s announcement comes a month after the Chicago Tribune released their investigation against the Senior Pastor and found him to have been guilty of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and unwanted advancements to a number of victims spanning decades. He was apparently doing things like inviting women to his hotel room, touching them without consent, and so on. I can’t say I’m surprised, he’s always had the “probably a predator” vibe about him.
What I am surprised about is his lashing out trying to make the investigation and allegations out of some sort of conspiracy to eject him from the megachurch he created. Dude, you really aren’t that famous, nobody is out to get you using some elaborate plot of accusing you of sexual assault over the course of decades. And of course internal investigations are going to clear him, he’s essentially the ‘Chief Of Police’. You might as well have Trump investigate himself on Russia.
What really upsets me about this is how many members of the congregation are using this opportunity to further hate on the message of #MeToo and call the accusers liars. Seriously guys? I guess I’m naive for thinking that a church that prides itself on loving all would be above the toxic belief that women that make accusations are automatically liars. I believe the number of women that came forward. I myself am a victim of sexual harassment that to this day I’ve not gone public about. The risks are far too great without any gaurantee that anything will come of it.
There’s a reason some say that you should never meet your idols...You may just find out that they suck.
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