Opinion: In Church, Confessing To Sexual Abuse Can Win You A Standing Ovation


January 27, 2018

By Neil J. Young

The congregation at Highpoint Church gave pastor Andy Savage a standing ovation after he confessed to a “sexual incident” with a member of the church where he worked in 1998.

On a Sunday morning earlier this month, Andy Savage, a pastor on staff at an evangelical megachurch in Memphis, confessed to the congregation that back in 1998, as a 21-year-old man, he had been involved in a “sexual incident” with a 17-year-old young woman. Savage had met the teenager when he was in college and serving as an intern at a Baptist church near Houston. After offering her a ride home from a youth group event at church one evening, Savage parked his car in the dark woods near her home and sexually assaulted her.

Given our current #MeToo moment and also the usually strong prohibitions evangelicals hold against unwed sexual activity, Savage might have feared harsh judgment for his admission that Sunday morning. Instead, the congregation at Highpoint Church gave their pastor a long standing ovation.

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