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You’ve GOT to be Kidding Me

4 February, 2008

When I got home from work today, my teenage daughter was on the couch watching educational television.  Actually, she was watching Sponge Bob Squarepants, but, for a teenager, it works.  My wife was out making a forgotten hat run for my son at his job.  She left me (along with a Honey-Do list) an interesting article from todays paper:

“Dear Abby: I have a big problem. I am 16 years old, have a good job and do well in school. I go to a Christian non-demoninational church every Sunday and enjoy that, too.

The problem is my pastor. “Reverend Ron” is 48, married, and has children and grandchildren. We have become attracted to each other and have secretly become a couple since last fall.

Every Monday night, after I get off work, I go over to my church and meet Reverend Ron in his office for sex. We agreed to tell no one, so as not to shame ourselves or our families.

Six weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. I haven’t told him yet, and we continue our Monday meetings. Abortion is not an option, but neither is shaming my family, much less the whole church. Abby, what do I do?”
The Times Leader (www.timesleader.com), Page 2c, Monday, February 4, 2008

Dear Abby gives very good advice, starting with, “Tell your mother now so responsible adults who love you can give you the support you so desperately need.

Okay, that’s good advice.   However, (you just KNEW there would be a ‘however,’ right?) aren’t children taught from an early age that ministers, preachers, pastors, priests, imams, rabbis, ARE the responsible adults?  I can almost hear it now:  “Respect your elders.  He’s a pastor, respect him.  He’s your minister, he’s responsible for your soul.”   This pastor used his position as the leader of his flock to take advantage of that situation.   To tell this child (and no matter the law in the state of Washington (she signed it In True Love in Washington) regarding age of consent, she is still legally and mentally a child (my daughter is 15 and physically mature, but she still watches lots of cartoons)) to talk to a responsible adult just may not (in some cases) be the best advice. 

 “Reverend Ron” is a responsible adult, right?  And he’s the one who got her a little bit preggers, right?  Why does Dear Abby assume that her parents will approach the problem with an eye toward what is best for her? Don’t get me wrong.  I hope that her mother or father will be supportive, loving and caring, and place the blame where it belongs — right on the shoulders of this predator.

 And yes, I know that some will think I am unfair to be picking on a Christian Pastor.  I view this, though, as yet another example of authoritarianism run wild.  Certain people cannot be trusted with positions of power over others.  They tend to become predators (not all of them sexual, of course (I can’t picture Dick Cheney taking sexual advantage of anyone (brain bleach needed, aisle one!))).  Unfortunately, those least temperamentally suited to hold power are often the ones most likely to seek power.  And, unfortunately, religion and politics tend to be very attractive.

 Okay, atheospheric bloggers and commenters:  What advice would you give to In True Love in Washington?

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5 comments

  1. I agree with Abby. There is a actually a method to her advise, that seems designed to not scare off the child. If she tells mom, and once the cat is out of the bag, mom will (if she’s a good mom) report it to the authorities, who will have to arrest him, or (if 16 is above the age of consent in that state – think statutory rape) at least bring it to the attention of his employer, the church. They will have to take some action. Probably fire him. He should not be placed in a position of authority ever again.

    You don’t want her to scare the child into doing nothing, though nature will eventually out the truth.


  2. SI: That’s my take on it. I just disagree with the advice to talk to a “loving and responsible” adult. I’m sure the girl thinks that the pastor is “loving and responsible.”


  3. Abby’s technically right. And I’d go even further. I think the abused teen should stand up during a church service, demand to be heard, and tell everyone that she’s pregnant by the pastor. Then, in front of everyone, she should insist that he pay all her medical bills and agree to support the child.

    Of course, I really think she should report the guy to the police and have an abortion. But that’ll never happen. It’s possible that Abby isn’t right because the poor girl’s parents may not be responsible adults.


  4. This story sickens me to no end. I like Ex’s suggestion that “the abused teen should stand up during a church service, demand to be heard, and tell everyone that she’s pregnant by the pastor.” Unfortunately, if the pastor denied it, the sheeple in his congregation would most likely side with him until a DNA test proved him to be a liar as well as a lecher. No matter what this poor girl does, she’s going to endure a lot of hell before things get better.

    If I were this guy’s wife and I found out about this (which is bound to happen sooner or later – biology marches onward in spite of wishful thinking), I’d consider doing a Lorena Bobbitt-style operation on him.


  5. I think in addition to advising her to talk to her parents I’d advise her to talk to a counselor at her school. She should still be in school at 16, right? That way if her parents aren’t good adults, at least maybe there will be someone who can support her. In any case the counselor would be bound to report the incident to the police where her parents might try to help sweep the scandal under the rug – even if they did try to protect their daughter and leave the church over the incident.



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