I did not know the shocking videotape below existed until today. It is a presentation of the ABC News show called 20/20. It was first aired in 2011. From my on-line friend Bruce Gerencser, who was once a pastor for various Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) Churches, I knew that the horrifying abuses highlighted in this videotape do happen at IFB churches:
It is not my job to tell legal minors what to do if they encounter such sexual abuse at their churches. However, I will tell you kind readers what I would do if I were a child who had been sexually abused at my church. (Yours truly was a pretty saavy, gutsy, capable, and independent child when I was growing up, especially during my teen years.) If I were a child being sexually or physically abused at church, I would do the following things in this order:
(1) I WOULD NOT take the story of my sexual abuse to my parents, to my other relatives, or to anyone at my fundie church, especially not to any of its pastors or staff members. Fundie pastors, parents, relatives, and church members nearly always try to cover up the sexual abuse and blame all the abuse on the child. Why? Fundie church members spend a lot of time informing the public about how fundies are nearly perfect people and how the rest of the world is inhabited by sinners who are all going to Hell. Sexual abusers in the fundie church are something they desperately want to hide from the public to protect their phony faith narrative. If I were to tell these people about my abuse, it would only make things worse for me.
(2) I would go immediately to the office of my local newspaper, ask to talk to a female reporter, and tell the reporter the whole story of my abuse, even if it takes two hours to tell the story. I would state the name of my church and the name of its pastor. I would state the names of all my abusers and the names of every person who is helping to hide the abuse. I would then say the following: “I am walking up the street to see a lawyer. Will you come with me? Please?” If this person refused, I would go on up to the law office anyway. However, I doubt any reporter would refuse a close-in on a story like this one.
(3) Most teenagers know who the lawyers are in their town. I would walk up to a law office in my town and ask to see a lawyer—preferably a female lawyer. I would tell the lawyer my entire abuse story, even if it took two hours to do it. I would state the names of my abusers and the names of every person helping to hide the abuse. I would then say to the lawyer: “I need your help right now. From here, I am walking straight down to the police station to tell my full story to the police. Please come with me? Please?” If this person refused, I would walk on down to the police station anyway. However, I doubt they would refuse. Female lawyers love the prospect of protecting children from abusers and nailing the abusers—especially sexual abusers.
(4) I would go immediately to my local police station and ask to talk to a police officer in private—preferably a female police officer. Most police stations have female police officers who are very receptive and sensitive to children who are victims of sexual abuse and other kinds of abuse. I would tell the officer my whole abuse story, even if it took two hours to do it. I would state the names of every person doing the abuse and every person helping the abusers keep it quiet.
(5) My newspaper reporter would get the legal process rolling with a huge, front page, headline story about my sexual abuse at church. There is nothing quite as delicious in this world as a good, old-time, down-home, rusty spike crucifixion of the alleged bad guys in the news media. It softens up the abusers and their abetters—and puts them under enormous stress. People under enormous stress make mistakes, often the mistakes that will send them to prison for 20 years. This newspaper story would also ensure that the public would be solidly on my side in the coming court case. Nothing in this world is so effective as thousands of outraged old people (who vote) calling up their local District Attorney and demanding “the chair” for the abusers.
Sometimes there is an extra justice bonus that comes early with the newspaper crucifixion. The stress of the newspaper crucifixion is often so great that one of the abusers will no longer be able to take the stress, will pick up a gun, and will blow his brains out before the case even goes to trial. Chalk it up to Romans 6:23.
(6) My lawyer and the police would then see to it that my abusers and their abetters are arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to prison for their crimes—for a long time—and I would make sure they got put on the state sexual offender list for life.
(7) In John Walsh fashion, and maybe with his help, I would start a nation-wide-access website to monitor Christian fundamentalist and conservative evangelical churches for sexual and physical abuse of children in their congregations. The website would have a “safe zone” where children and adults could report child abuse in their churches. Regular, working connections with law enforcement agencies all over the nation and in every state would be established. Fundie churches and their pastors all over the nation would be informed that they are being monitored for reports of sexual abuse and physical abuse of children—and the following scripture would ring in their ears and strike terror in their hearts:
During that time a crowd of many thousands had gathered. There were so many people that they were stepping on one another. Jesus spoke first to his disciples. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees,” he said. “They just pretend to be godly. Everything that is secret will be brought out into the open. Everything that is hidden will be uncovered. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops. (Luke 12:1-3)