Boz Tchividjian (grandson of Billy Graham, law professor at Liberty University, and former state prosecutor in Florida) weighs in on the SGM abuse allegations and this week’s troubling statements on that topic from The Gospel Coalition and Together for the Gospel.
The allegations, Tchividjian says, are horrifying, and based on his experience carry the hallmarks of truth and seem highly credible. So, he went searching the internet to see if Christian leaders were saying anything.
I searched online hoping to find statements by Christian “leaders” speaking out about this case or at the very least expressing grave concerns regarding the very disturbing facts alleged in the lawsuit. I was never looking for, or wanting, anyone to throw CJ Mahaney under the proverbial bus. I was simply hoping to hear statements that expressed horrors about child sexual abuse and with institutions that are not transparent about such offenses. Initially, all I found was silence from these leaders.
As some of us have been noting for several weeks, the silence has been deafening. So, what did he actually find?
What I did find was a lot of statements by Christians claiming that all of these individuals were innocent until “proven guilty by a jury”. Sadly, that is not the only time I have heard such a response from the Christian community when allegations of child sexual victimization are brought forward. What is ironic, or better yet, down right disturbing is that these same individuals don’t approach any other sinful crime in such a distorted manner…
I have personally gotten similar reactions when the topic has come up on Twitter, and I’ve seen many others get that reaction as well. Few “leaders” are saying much about the horror of the crime; what they’re saying is “nobody’s proven anything yet”.
He then makes four observations about the TGC and T4G statements:
- Neither statement makes mention that the heart of this lawsuit is about a systematic church effort to discourage and eventually prevent the families of children who were allegedly (and repeatedly) sexually victimized by church officials from speaking out and reporting to law enforcement. A statement that fails to mention that this lawsuit is less about the abuse and more about an institution that took steps to protect itself and its reputation over the victimized souls and bodies of little ones. Omitting such fundamental facts from these statements speaks volumes about the inability of the authors to grasp the eternal significance about which they write.
- Neither statement mentions that CJ Mahaney was actually the Senior Pastor at one of these churches where all of this horrific abuse allegedly occurred AND where these families were discouraged from bringing this matter to the God ordained civil authorities? Including this would simply state a known fact without implicating Mr. Mahaney in any wrongdoing. Omitting such a fundamentally important fact from this statement is extremely disturbing to me and very disheartening to so many others.
- The statement by T4G fails to mention that this lawsuit was dismissed for one reason and one reason only…expiration of the statute of limitation. Isn’t it tragic that the reason why this suit was dismissed – taking too long to file – was the very objective of these church leaders allegedly had when they discouraged these individuals and families from stepping forward.
- The statement by the members of the Gospel Coalition says the following as it relates to the statute of limitations and the dismissal of the case:
So the entire legal strategy was dependent on a conspiracy theory that was more hearsay than anything like reasonable demonstration of culpability. As to the specific matter of C. J. participating in some massive cover-up, the legal evidence was so paltry (more like non-existent) that the judge did not think a trial was even warranted. Does this sound like a statement that even appears to make an effort to be objective?
The whole piece is worth a read. I hope and pray that more Christian leaders will make their voices heard.