Learning to Listen to #ChurchToo

An offshoot of the viral #MeToo campaign, the #ChurchToo hashtag has led to an outpouring of stories of harassment, assault, and abuse in the church and other Christian contexts.

#ChurchToo accounts having been pouring in for weeks now, raw and heart-wrenching in their depictions of church leaders perverting their power and positions to harm the vulnerable in their care. The stories are not isolated to moments of abuse, but include efforts by fellow church authorities to treat the abuses as garden-variety sins in need of forgiveness rather than as crimes calling for justice. Over and over again, elders, pastors, ministers, and leaders offer protection from consequences to their peers who are outed as abusers—evidence of a power dynamic in which offices of church leadership too often provide exceptions from moral standards rather than greater accountability to them.

With #ChurchToo, victims are bearing witness to years of being told to believe that they were just as culpable for “sexual sin” as their predators, pressured to forgive and forget, and being instructed not to alert public authorities.

Will we hear them?

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(Image credit: fairytaleweaver, license)