TIME magazine had no problem calling both 2017 and 2018 “the year(s) of women,”thanks to the groundbreaking anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements. #MeToo and Time’s Up, both of which have surfaced over the course of the previous two years, are clearly making way to jump start a revolution.
Dozens of stories of men coercing women into sexual encounters by using their power have emerged, and prominent men in almost every industry have fallen from grace. Women are rising up to say “no more.”
These movements not only upended the public conversation about women’s issues, but elevated global consciousness surrounding obstacles that women encounter in their daily professional and personal lives. Brave women across the world have exposed sexual misconduct from Hollywood to Capitol Hill, in boardrooms and newsrooms.
Charges that surfaced against men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, Larry Nassar, former Senator Al Franken and former Representative John Conyers have resulted in the swift removal of the offenders from their positions of authority and jail time for many.
With all of the attention swarming against men in entertainment, media and politics, we’re led to ask—but what about the Church?
Women have made allegations against men in positions of authority in the religious realm, but those allegations have taken much longer to spur action. But at last, the conversation that has led women in the entertainment and political realms to speak out and share their personal experiences with assault is finally catching up to the evangelical Church.
The difference? The Church has known about these allegations, some for years. The Church knew about these allegations and didn’t do anything to stop them.
Jules Woodson spoke out, saying that when she was 17 years old, Andy Savage, her 22-year-old youth pastor at the time, drove her to a location and sexually assaulted her. Woodson said that Savage apologized at the time but told her, “You have to take this to the grave with you.”
When she stepped forward and told a senior pastor at her church, she was told to keep what happened to herself and that “the church would deal with Savage on its own.” Savage was thrown an extravagant going-away party and continued his career ministry at another church.
A video of Savage’s recent confession (after Woodson came forward with her story) garnered widespread attention, though more for the response of the congregation. Instead of condemning the abuse of a high school student, the congregation supported its pastor with a standing ovation. Savage later resigned, but some critics say that leadership did too little and too late. The video has since been removed by the church.
Multiple women are seeing this reaction as a tendency in the faith culture to celebrate people for confessing their sins, no matter how great the cost elsewhere.
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Source: Relevant Magazine