A Lack of Diversity Hurts – The Leadership Journal’s Awful Mistake

June 17, 2014

Last week Christianity Today‘s Leadership Journal published a letter from a youth pastor convicted of sexually abusing a 15 year old student.

“The post, told from the perspective of a sex offender, withheld from readers until the very end a crucial piece of information: that the sexual misconduct being described involved a minor under the youth pastor’s care. Among other failings, this post used language that implied consent and mutuality when in fact there can be no question that in situations of such disproportionate power there is no such thing as consent or mutuality.”

That’s a quote from the Leadership Journal’s own public apology, after a public outcry using the Twitter hashtag #TakeDownThatPost.

The posting of this piece was not a malicious act.  The (all male) editors at the Leadership Journal saw nothing wrong with it and posted it with no ill-intent. Yet it was hugely offensive to a great many people, not to mention injurious to the victims of this crime.

If there had been even one Christian feminist in the editorial/publishing/technical chain at the Leadership Journal this piece would never have seen the light of day.

Proving once again (to some of us, anyway) the importance of ideological diversity in any undertaking designed to reach a large constituency.  And this is especially true if most or all of the people involved are culturally privileged.

Read Christian Feminism Today contributor, Rev. Deb Vaughn’s response here.

Read Micah J. Murray’s response here.

Read Elizabeth Esther’s response here.
Esther tweeted on Sunday: “Had to close [my own] blog comments b/c sick dudes showing up claiming teen girl WANTED sex w. pastor. People be cray.

Read Benjamin Corey’s response on his Formerly Fundie blog on Patheos.

Here’s the link to the apology issued by Christianity Today, and here’s a link to a follow up post, It’s Abuse, Not an Affair, and It Appears We Need to be Reminded… Again…, by Ed Stetzer, writing on his blog, The Exchange, which is hosted on the Christianity Today website.  Stetzer’s post is well worth reading, and contains this quote:

“Evangelicalism continues to whiff on opportunities to wage war against abuse within its own walls. We don’t see the signs. We miss what’s right in front of us. As such, we enable the perpetrators.”

posted by Marg Herder

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