#ME TOO! YOU SHOULD BE SAYING IT TOO.
by Rev. Julia Goldie Day
A few weeks ago, when the Me Too movement went viral I participated. I retweeted and shared on Facebook this statement:
If all the women/people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. Please copy/paste. ME TOO.
It wasn’t a surprise to me all the women who did participate. We live in this reality. Now as a wiser and more experienced woman I don’t feel defenseless, but there were times that I did when I was young. When I was a teenager no one was talking about this, at least not to me. I didn’t have the tools I needed to combat abuse and harassment. I was a victim like so many other women.
As I watch heartbreaking reporting of the women who are brave enough to share their stories, I can’t help but think how that will help. If I had heard those stories long ago I might have better protected myself or at least held my abusers accountable. More stories are coming. Undoubtedly a dam has been broken these last few weeks.
Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Al Franken, and Roy Moore to name a few. When will Christians stand up and denounce this behavior? If actions speak louder than words, then what convicted Christian could check a box beside the name of Roy Moore in Alabama’s election? There is enough evidence to not turn a blind eye.
Publisher’s Grave Error
But words are important too. Soon after the Me Too movement went viral I read an article in Children’s Ministry Magazine (Group Publishing) that illustrated this. Read what I wrote to the publisher about my concerns. Note the author is speaking about safe hiring practices – checking backgrounds and vetting potential employees who will work with children.
I am writing to express my concern about the “Walking a Legal Tightrope” article, specifically the section below:
“A church-affiliated middle school interviewed Mitch for a teaching position. But, when asked why he’d left the field three years earlier, Mitch didn’t mention that he’d gotten a 15-year-old girl from his former church pregnant. The school learned of Mitch’s past a few months after it hired him.”
The statement “he’d gotten a 15-year-old-girl from his former church pregnant” is irresponsible language on your part in the very context of keeping children safe in churches. 15-year-old girls don’t just “get pregnant” by an adult teacher. That is RAPE. While the age of consent varies from state to state, it is irresponsible on your part to use such casual language for sexual assault. Later in the article the author states that Mitch’s situation is not as clear cut because it’s “not criminal.” It is criminal even it was not reported. Unfortunately, this article is ill-informed and possibly harmful. Please take more care in in the way you speak about these very sensitive and legal issues. It is worth your time and effort to protect the children in our care.
Please respond with how you will rectify this problem.
The article has since been taken off their website, but I have been disappointed by the lack of response to how they will print a correction for readers who received a hard copy.
Silence or Me Too
Me Too. This is what we will continue to hear repeatedly if politicians, movie execs, comics, religious schools and even churches are not held accountable for their immoral and sinful behavior. Biblical references to the age difference between Joseph and Mary doesn’t excuse Roy Moore’s behavior; it only sullies our belief in a God who trusted a vulnerable woman with the savior of the world.
It is my responsibility as Minister to Families and Congregational Care at Second Baptist Church in Memphis, TN to keep children safe. To keep women safe. Brothers and sisters, it’s your job too.
A retired pastor who is also a friend of mine on Facebook posted this statement in response to the Me Too movement:
People I know and love have been sexually assaulted and posted “Me Too” on their Facebook page. I have not been sexually assaulted, but I want to stand in solidarity with those who have. This simple post is my way of doing that.
I’d like to challenge you to think how you are contributing to or helping to solve the problem. Sadly, Children’s Ministry Magazine contributed. Sadly, politicians use bad theology to contribute. Some fifty pastors even signed a letter of support for Roy Moore. Have you contributed? Will you be silent? Or will you say Me Too somehow, too?