It occurs to me that I may have figured out why Christians are so quick to defend sexual predators…
King David was walking on the roof of his palace when he saw a woman bathing. Scholars believe she was performing ceremonial cleansing from her monthly period prescribed by law. David saw her, desired her, sent for her, raped her and murdered her husband. Yes, Nathan the prophet scolded David and David repented, but as punishment the child that she bore died. She wound up mourning the death of her husband and child while chained in marriage to her rapist and murderer of her husband.
Also think of the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham was ready to offer his only son as a sacrifice to God when an angel was sent to stop him. Now think of the story of Jephthah in the book of Judges, chapter 11. He offered his daughter as a sacrifice to God and no angel was sent to stop him. The daughter was given two months to mourn her fate before she was killed in sacrifice. There was plenty of time for someone to speak up. Further, Abraham believed he had been told by God to do what he was doing. Jephthah had no word from the Lord like that. Why was an angel sent to rescue Isaac, but not Jephthah’s daughter?
Lot was ready to throw his two daughters out of the house into a crowd of people who were threatening mass assault. The people of Sodom wanted to gang-rape the visitors to Sodom that Lot was hosting, and he evidently thought it would be morally acceptable to offer his daughters for this purpose instead. What a guy.
I also had some musings about the story of Esther in this article, but after some feedback I’ve removed it. It was mostly conjecture, and that drew a strong reaction. That’s fair.
Why do I bring any of this up? Well, I think it’s important to have certain contexts in mind when we read passages from scripture. It significantly changes the flavor of these stories when we read about atrocities like this and grasp, I mean really GRASP that “biblical heroes” did these things. Furthermore, with the exception of David, I see no censure from the authors of these stories, no moral outage. That means we as readers and serious students of the word should be outraged. We should be just as disgusted by these men’s treatment of women as we are proud of their wonderful contributions to God’s kingdom. It should be noted when we teach moral life lessons from the Bible that these men did terrible things. Otherwise we wind up conditioned to excuse “Men of God” when they commit serious sexual crimes. When a Pastor or other Christian Leader mistreats women (or assaults them), our trained response will be to cover it up – just like we do with Bible stories.
Search scripture yourself with this in mind. Find out of your biblical hero is a monster. It may change your perspective on some things. I think it’s time to crack open these stories and get uncomfortable about them. It may just be the thing that allows you to address your Christian Leaders’ sexual sins frankly, at least in your mind.