Religion Shocker: Conservative Christian Pastor Charged With Raping Parishioners
posted by November 9 at 11:51 AMon
A least a dozen women have come forward with claims that the pastor of a Kitsap County church raped them. The alleged rapes took place over many years and began when some of the women were as young as ten. Today the PI has a front page story about Pastor Robbin Harper (“Pastor accused of child rape ruled with an iron hand.”)
As is usually the case when daily papers report on the sexual abuse of children by religious leaders, you could read the PI’s entire front-page report and conclude that this is first known instance of the priestly/pastorly sexual abuse of children in all of recorded human history.
At what point do we start to regard this kind of reporting—this kind of sniveling, deferential, credulous reporting—as complicity in the crimes of men like “religious figures” like Pastor Robb?
From the plague of sexually abusive youth pastors to the child rape franchise that is the Catholic Church, it should be clear to everyone on earth now that this pastor-rapes-kids shit happens all the fucking time. And guess what? You almost never hear about Unitarian pastors raping parishioners or Methodist youth pastors diddling kids. No, it’s always Catholics, Baptists, conservative evangelicals, and “iron-fisted” assholes like Pastor Robb. And what’s up with that? Well, it seems obvious to anyone paying attention that a statistically significant number of men like “Pastor Robb”—men who claim to speak for God, men that claim to be His representatives here on earth, men that portray God as obsessed with sex and control—turn out to be power-crazed sexual abusers that control, manipulate, and sexually abuse their “flocks.”
There’s a pattern here. And people are clearly taking a risk when they sign up with a conservative church or put themselves under the thumb of some “iron-fisted” pastor. (Hey there, Rev. Hutcherson; how you doing, Pastor Driscoll.) But the same mainstream media outlets that can’t resist drawing our attention to known risks for relatively rare cancers get all tongue tied when a certain kind of religious leaders presents a known risk. Dangerous people shouldn’t get a pass just because they wave a bibles over their damn heads.
And wither the media’s love affair with “patterns”? When something bad happens again and again and doesn’t touch on religion, the mainstream media asks, “Why did X happen? Why does X keep happening? How can we get X to stop happening?” That’s what the media is doing right now about all those poisoned toys made in China. “Why did lead turn up in this toy made in China? Why does lead keep turning up in toys made in China? How can we get lead to stop turning up in toys made in China?” Somehow those entirely obvious questions are avoided when the bad actors are “men of the cloth” and not Chinese manufacturers in some province their readers can’t pronounce. And why’s that? Because when it comes to cases like Pastor Robb, asking why this happened, why it keeps happening, and how we can stop it leads to conclusions the PI doesn’t have the guts to print: Abuse, sexual and otherwise, is hard-wired into authoritarian religious communities. It’s in their fucking DNA.
The sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults is not a shocking aberration or an unexpected violation of a “faith community” lead by a Pastor Robb or a Pope Benedict. It is known risk, a known side effect of a kind of controlling, authoritarian religious garbage peddled by Robbs and Benedicts and Discrolls and Hutchersons.
Papers can’t print that, of course, lest they be accused of being “hostile to religion.” But by avoiding the obvious follow-ups and obvious conclusions—which are only hostile to a certain brand of religion, not all religions generally—the media is effectively friendly to child rape.
From the PI:
“You want to believe that good things come from church and only good people go to church,” said Danel Swan, a former member whose 20-year-old niece was the first to make a report to police. Harper had been molesting her since age 12, the young woman said.
Initially, Swan and the girl’s father had been attracted to Harper’s no-frills style of ministry. He lived in a mobile home. He was always on-site. Swan even had him perform her marriage ceremony. But within a few years, she fled.
“It was condemnation, condemnation, condemnation—until you can’t take any more,” Swan said. “You start to think you’re going crazy. It was absolute control. He had a way of making you feel that if there was something going on in your life, you had the devil in you. And he was powerful. You believed him.”
Yep, some people want to believe that “good things come from church and only good people go to church,” like Swann says. But case after case after case—it’s a pattern!— shows that believing this to be so is deeply foolish. It’s dangerous. You know, just like those lead-spiked toys from China. Maybe fewer people would fall for Pastor Robbs if the media did a better job of informing them about the risk presented by Pastor Robbs.