Virginia Pastor John Blanchard's case has become a political football
I wonder why I'm not surprised. A church valuing a preacher as more important than teenagers and children. Who would have thought?
An old-fashioned term for clergy is "a man of the cloth." The "cloth" they wear is armor tougher than layers of titanium and Kevlar.
I was an alternate juror on a case against a megachurch employee, a middle-aged father running the youth musical department of the congregation. He was accused by his two teenage daughters of molesting them on multiple occasions. The first trial ended with a hung jury, and the second trial, which I attended, also ended with a hung jury. The evidence was pretty damning, and I'm convinced that if I had been able to participate in the jury deliberations, they would have convicted him. (Alternate jurors hear all the evidence, but are barred from the jury room during their deliberations.) Apparently, somebody on each jury simply could not bring themselves to convict "a man of the cloth." Some religious folks are impervious to evidence. They think that believing something with strong conviction makes that thing true.
To my even deeper disappointment, the D.A. decided not to pursue the case a third time, and the charges were dropped. As with this case, the church declared this LACK of a conclusive trial a "vindication" for the perp.
"...our assignment as believers is not to condemn, but to be agents of God’s love, healing, justice, and reconciliation.”
Unless you're a trans kid. Then plenty of condemnation.
Probably for gay kids, as well, given how often the two go together in right-wing Christians' minds.
“Although everyone must address their own convictions and consequences, our assignment as believers is not to condemn, but to be agents of God’s love, healing, justice, and reconciliation.””
Unless the subject is LGBT or female or person of color, then it’s no holds barred.
Plus, how does that statement fit with the other church statement:
“The Church condemns sexual immorality of any kind and in any form by its members and leaders and especially holds its leaders to a high standard of accountability on any lifestyle choices that could reflect negatively on the reputation of the Church or disparage the character of the Savior whom it purports to represent.
Rock Church is committed to honesty and integrity in dealing with charges or accusations of sexual misconduct or immorality among its leaders and will support any investigation…”
They seem contradictory. We can’t judge and must be forgiving, but we must hold our sinners accountable. Somehow I doubt they are supporting the investigation either.
Quite honestly, this is starting to read like some sort of twisted Christian soap opera. Yikes.
That said, I feel it's important to remember why these pastors get into this kind of trouble all too often: They have no oversight whatsoever, and Christianity promotes some incredibly lopsided bedroom dynamics as an integral part of its teachings. I suspect this sort of thing happens far more often than it gets reported, and I expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future. Yes, I am saying that this is specifically part of the Christian faith, and that while those faithful to Christianity might want to argue, the evidence is clear. Quoting the Bible to try and defend abhorrent criminal behavior isn't helping in the slightest, either, considering the attitude so many churches have against other 'sinners'.
TL;DR: Blanchard won't be the last of these we hear about. It'd be nice if the government would pursue these cases like they actually mean to make it clear this sort of behavior is completely unacceptable regardless of the perpetrator's status or standing.
𝘔𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘣𝘳𝘰𝘢𝘥𝘭𝘺, 𝘪𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘺𝘯𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘢𝘷𝘰𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴...
THIS. This and damned little other than this. Oh, throw in Christian privilege and probably some money under the table, but the two-tiered justice system is alive and well and living in Virginia Beach, VA ... among other places.
Electing lawyers to a legal office has its downside, perhaps this is one. But a failure to prosecute because "it's political" is a win for someone who deserves a day in court and perhaps time in prison.
Men who rape, or plan to rape underage girls do not fare well in prison and may become someone's "boyfriend" there. That could be life-changing, like raping underage girls is life-changing for them.
So Christians are persecuted in America, are they? Where in America is this alleged persecution taking place? I've yet to see it. In other countries, yes. But here? Not that I can see.
Oh, and that claim believers are not to condemn? BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Given the recorded history of the Christian religion, I find that "no condemnation" claim a bit like a communion wafer: hard to swallow.
OT but related: Portugal has joined the ever-growing list of countries with published reports on the number of child-molesting priests. Of course, since the report was commissioned by the church, it's probably safe to assume the numbers are off by a factor of (at least) 10.
P𝙖𝙨𝙨tor Blanchard has quite the talent for projection, doesn't he?
"Best Legal System Money CONTINUES TO BUY!"
A real nice basket of context and continuing facts about this case, too!
Journalism isn't just 'breaking the story' , but, like a lot of pieces in The New Yorker, following and reporting on the story as it evolves. That follow-up is what is so completely missing for many stories like this, and it is that short-term memory loss that the Bought-and-Paid-For Sector of the US Legal System seems to thrive on.
Also OT but related: Five Jehovah's Witnesses in SW PA are charged with child sexual abuse:
It never rains, but it pours. And you can just bet that Jehovah witnessed the whole thing and did nothing to stop it.
Everyone please be careful to remember, now: It's gay men and absolutely NOT conservative christians who groom children for sex with adults. I'm sure Pastor Blanchard must be quite scrupulous about reminding his congregation of that immutable, God-given moral truth. More evidence of it crops up all the time. 🤪
And lest anyone try to claim that Blanchard's shenanigans are "an isolated incident," more and more demonstrations of what I say crop up all the time. I'm sure we all remember the attempt in Tennessee last year to legalize marriage to children with no age limit whatever. Now it's Wyoming Republicans pushing for what they claim is a constitutional right to marry children: https://www.wonkette.com/wyoming-republicans-fight-for-their-constitutional-right-to-marry-children
But remember, always remember, never ever forget that beyond any doubt whatever it's gay men who groom children for sex. Amen, brothers and sisters, amen.
"...ready for this tight young kitty."
And there we see how much import Christian pastors place on their marriage vows and the whole "sanctity" of "traditional marriage."
Liars For Jesus, lying as per standard doctrine.
My Best guess: Bribery. They were bribed in one way or another to dropped the charges in the perverted preacher's favor. Otherwise they were threatened to drop the charges in his favor or else they get hurt badly or killed.