Did you hear that Boz Tchividjian (Billy Graham’s grandson and a Liberty University law professor) claimed that evangelicals are worse than the Catholic Church when it comes to sexually abusing children and covering it up?* I’m not saying he’s wrong, but there are a few things that bother me about his assertion.
First, he offers no stats that I’ve been able to find. It seems to me that anyone making such a bold allegation should have some data.
Second, he is the executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which a church or mission organization can hire to investigate sex abuse allegations. This could make him either a) an expert on the subject or b) a savvy businessman trying to drum up business.
Third, I don’t see how it helps to compare evangelicals to Catholics. If there is a problem, just say so. Don’t say, “These people are worse than those people.” There is no “better” or “worse” when it comes to covering up child sexual abuse. It’s ALL an abomination!
If it sounds like I’m down on Mr. Tchividjian, I’m not. I applaud his concern for the problem and hope that his organization can make a positive difference. And yes, I believe a problem like this should be brought out into the open. At the same time, I think we need specifics rather than vague generalities. I already knew sexual abuse happens in religious institutions. Tell me something I don’t know.
That said, here’s a plea for every serious-minded Christian to be on the lookout for any kind of abuse, sexual or otherwise, in or out of the church. If you see something that raises alarms in your spirit, don’t ignore it. Report it. You may think that by keeping quiet you are sparing the church shame and embarrassment. Not true. Shame and embarrassment accrues to the Body of Christ when we allow the wolves to prey on the lambs, not when we identify and remove the wolves.
For further reflection read Matthew 18:6.
*Reported in the Religion News Service by Sarah Pulliam Bailey on October 1, 2013.