PART V: Christian Reconstruction, ATI, Abuse & Submission – Pedophiles


la luz 5For some strange reason, churches who have fallen pray to Christian Reconstructionism, ATI, Vision Forum, godly manhood, patriarchal, dominionism and submissive women have a very real problem with abuse.  Having ministers and godly leaders who to put it quite crudely, can’t well, you know. Praying Preying on the women (and sometimes men) of the godly flock in one thing.  For some ungodly reason, preacher-men seem to think they are studly version of Elmer Gantry.  But, when they cover up the pedophilia victim of children, and protect child molesters, that’s another story.  According  Boz Tchividjian (grandson) the conservative world of these churches is a simmering cesspool waiting to be exposed.

“...Earlier this week, I read the second amended complaint filed by eleven plaintiffs against SGM, two churches, and a number of individuals, including a man named CJ Mahaney. I won’t go into the factual details of this complaint here (if interested, you can read it here), but it is one of the most disturbing accounts of child sexual abuse and institutional “cover up” I have read in my almost 20 years of addressing this issue. Besides the horrific accounts of child victimization (some of which allegedly occurred on church property), what struck me most about these allegations is the systematic efforts by these churches to discourage and sometimes prevent the families of children who had been victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. Another aspect that struck me as I read (and re-read) through this complaint were the myriad of common threads related to the efforts made by these SGM churches to silence these survivors. As a former prosecutor, much credibility is given to disclosures made by more than one person that have distinct and unique similarities…these did….”

When it’s all over, he has stated that the conservative evangelical pedophile problem will make the Catholic priest pedophile problem pale.  Why?  (It’s the cover-up that gets you, every time).

Wade Burleson wrote:

“...Unfortunately, some evangelical churches refuse to report child sexual molestation to the proper civil authorities and practice what is called “relational restoration.” This is an attempt by church ‘authorities’ to get the victim of abuse in a room with his or her abuser and bring ‘restoration’ to the relationship through leading the molester to seek repentance for his or her molestations, and to lead the victim to forgiveness of the molester for his or her acts of abuse. It is my opinion that the practice of relational restoration is often the reason churches refuse to report child sexual molestation to police. Church authorities feel such matters should ‘stay within the church.’ It seems I’m not alone. At last year’s national convention of the Presbyterian Church of America, a motion was brought before the assembly requesting that Presbyterian churches cooperate with government officials in “exposing and bringing to justice all probable perpetrators…” and to refrain from private “church discipline” or “relational restoration”  apart from the fulfillment of mandated reporting duties….”

There is also, hidden within the patriarchal world of submissive women, godly wives, and innocent daughters, what is known as the purity culture.  There are those who think it is little more than another word for emotional abuse, emotional incest, the manipulation of young women, destroying their very lives and future, and a way for a man to stay lord and master – a godly man, of his domain.

“...Dad gave me a promise ring that night, and the next day the two of us signed a Courtship Covenant with our pastor.  One more important thing happened that night in the car at the empty church parking lot. Dad said that it would be hard for me to keep all that I was committing to for all those years, and that the best thing I could do to help with that was have an accountability partner. He suggested that anytime I had a wrong thought, or wrong action (I didn’t yet know what he meant by that), that I could confess that to him, and I would be forgiven by God. That way I could stay “clean” and true to my promises. I was nervous about this as well, but it sounded like it might work….”

Another young woman wrote:

“...By this time, we had become official members of the Advanced Training Institute (ATI). My mom called me to her room one day and kept me there for HOURS, coaxing out of me any wrong doing I had ever committed, so that I could “clear my conscience” and not have to answer to God for said wrong-doings. It would prove to be the first of countless confession sessions. Over time, I preempted her coaxing by freely confessing. Eventually, it got to the point where any time I had a thought or a dream, or even worse ACTED on such wickedness, I would run to my mom or dad (or both) and fill them in on my sinful activities. Without the confession, I could not feel clean….”

Recovering Grace
Recovering Grace

One of the very real problems is the fact that children are taught, via Bill Gothard’s ATI, that they are basically responsible for being molested.  They brought it on by being seductive.  Girls invite rape and molestation by their lewd behavior and their ungodly lack of modesty.  Young godly men are taught that women are responsible for their ungodly lewd sexual urges.  They are not to blame for being unable to control their urges.  Women are.  If women are to blame then why not go ahead and give them something to complain about?

“…There’s two options available to men in these situations: either the girl is simply “silly” and telling her that her dress could cause “impure thoughts” is information she should be grateful for, and she should humbly leave in shame and humiliation– or, she is dressing provocatively on purpose, which makes her a “strange woman” who is “playing the harlot” and she definitely deserves to be confronted and removed. When Clare stood up for herself, that put her firmly into “strange woman playing the harlot” category. It’s rape culture on steroids. It’s “she was asking for it” dressed up in Bible verses and cutesy Victorian language about knights and fair maidens….”

It is a system that literally encourages child abuse.

“…Under the teachings of ATI my family grew to twelve kids. And with a church to handle, and 12 kids at home, my mum and dad couldn’t handle caring for us all, let alone schooling us. Instead, older siblings were put in charge of younger siblings (kind of like the Duggar’s “Buddy System”). My older brother resented the responsibility of practically having to be a father to his younger siblings, so he began to bully and abuse us. He first sexually assaulted me when I was ten years old while he was being forced to help me with my homework.

My parents found out a year into his regular sexual abuse of me and insisted that I apologize to him. According to Bill Gothard’s “principles” on dealing with sexual abuse, I was as much to blame as my brother for “leading him on,” despite our several year age difference. We were then forced to “forgive” each other, and once again in accordance with ATI teaching, to never bring the matter up again now that it was forgiven. Since nothing was done to stop him from abusing, and he was not held accountable for what he’d done, the abuse continued with increasing severity and regularity for two more years until I hit puberty….”

It is a world where there are no checks and balances, especially when families are kept apart from the real world, their children home-schooled, with no access to anyone who might be able to tell them that what is happening to them is illegal.

When so-called celebrity godly men of God, like C. J. Mahoney, turn a blind eye to pedophiles in their midst, then lie about it when they are cornered, what possibly can happen?

“...Ultimately, the Gospel is about a God who didn’t remain silent in the face of sin, but took self-sacrificial action in order to openly confront sin and redeem those He loves for His ultimate glory. A Gospel-centered response to child sexual abuse begins with our understanding that silence is not an option. We must be willing to openly confront abuse and its surrounding silence and give of ourselves so that those impacted can experience the healing and transformative power of Jesus. This is a powerful framework for how the Church must willingly struggle alongside of survivors, even to the point of sacrifice. However, this is not limited to just abuse survivors. In fact, oftentimes it is the institutions that are in greatest need for healing and transformation. It is only when Christian institutions and their leaders truly grasp the beautiful and powerful truth that God did his most powerful work when His son was vulnerable and transparent (naked on a cross) that the Holy Spirit will be able to breath new life into their core. If we are unwilling to sacrifice our agendas, our finances, or even our reputation, on behalf of these precious souls, then we have failed to grasp the powerful countercultural reality of the Gospel….”

Unfortunately, I think that Boz Tchividjian is far too optimistic.  In many ways, the culture of patriarchy, that has inspired the rape culture that is almost endemic in the United States today, is not going away.  It has become pervasive, where women are to blame for everything.  School girls are slut slammed for wearing something that is acceptable for normal culture, but not the hyper modesty culture of the godly men of the patriarchy.  We’re starting to see judges who have come of age in the system, giving a pass to men who have raped and abused not only women, but their wives and even their children.  I have repeatedly stated that Bill Gothard has been and remains the most powerful and influential person in this country for the past quarter century.  Part of his legacy is creating a culture where women are no longer safe or valued.  We have become second class citizens.  It took an entire generation to devalue women.  I suspect it is going to take several more to undo the damage Gothard has done, if it can be undone, at all.