Calling Out the Evangelical Culture of Sexual Abuse

In A Mirror Dimley

Christians have a tradition of “laying hands” on each other to impart the Holy Spirit, to heal, and to bless. My church “trains” people to pray, which basically means we teach people to ask questions like, “Can I put my hand on your shoulder as I pray for you.”

Touching and consent go “hand in hand.”

Touch has a foundationally sacred and important place in the Christian tradition.

Touching each other inappropriately undermines the healing and life that God desires to impart in our lives. Our hands can be used to destroy, imprison, and wound or they can be used to impart freedom, spiritual gifts, and blessings.

Our message collapses if we approve inappropriate touching in one moment and then reach out to heal in another. (Trigger warning below for sexual abuse and rape.)

And yet, some evangelical churches and groups have attempted to do just this. If these groups are not directly responsible for sexual abuse or covering up the abuse, they at least are responsible for failing to condemn leaders who abuse women and children. Some of these leaders are even given a free pass because they’re deemed “too important” for the cause of the Gospel.

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