The Silence Of The Church

“You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break”
 Ps 82:3

Jamey Rodemeyer… 14 years old Buffalo, NY

Tyler Clementi… 18 years old Rutgers University

Phoebe Prince… 15 years old Massachusetts

These are the names of just three students from 2010-2011 that have ended their lives because of relentless harassment and bigotry. There have been many others in the last few years. Often the hateful verbage was ignored by teachers and administrators, or written off as youthful indiscretions. But at the end of the day young people were dead.

I know all to well the pain and humiliation and utter loathing one has for oneself being the brunt of vile words. I lived with my humanity and worth being castrated every day for more than 6 years when I was in school. The “harmless” bullying affected me well into my thirties, and to a much lesser extent still affects me today at 52.

But that was over thirty years ago. You would think at this point in time the issue of bullying would have been addressed, That laws and penalties would have been put in place to protect vulnerable youth. But that is not the case. So day you have more and more young people taking their lives because of hate and bullying. Why is this still happening?

The blame for this lies squarely on the shoulders of several individuals, and groups  of individuals.

It lies on the shoulders of school administrations and teachers “too busy” to care about the lost child in the corner of the classroom, and in the impotence of so many bullying policies that are created more for show than for action.

The blame also lies on the parents of the bullies themselves. Parents teach their children by their actions, words, and attitudes toward others. If parents degrade the poor, the marginalized, and others “not like themselves” their children will too. If parents carry around an air of superiority over other people groups their children will too.   

Some of the blame lies within the culture itself that sets standards and expectations for those within it and when one does not  conform to the “norm” they are demonized and rejected as weird, strange, crazy.

And some of the blame lies on the pulpits and pews of the evangelical churches. We have a tendency to mock and put down and vilify those outside of our church walls. We teach our children, not to love unconditionally as Christ loved us but to look down a  girl wearing tight clothes and the boy who likes to play with dolls. We too create bullies.

But there is something else that is of great distress to me. We as Evangelicals want to be seen as a group of people concerned with protecting human life. We have organized large organization and spent billions of dollars seeking to protect the life of the unborn. But I think that there is much more to being pro-life than that. Where have the Evangelical churches been in protesting and picketing, letter writing and pulpit preaching against bullying and the need to pass legislation that makes bullying and hate a crime? Why have we not spoken up? And why do we, in some cases, work against such laws?  We are supposed to be a voice for those who have none and to see that they are treated fairly and justly. 

Why are we silent?  


5 thoughts on “The Silence Of The Church

  1. In Texas, I hear preachers speaking against bullying all the time, I don’t think Christians are totally silent on this sad matter, I think bullying is in the conversation it just may be that other moral topics have bubbled to the top.

    Now the schools are another story, lots of work has been done to fight bullying where I’m from, but more could always be done in both schools and churches.

    1. perhaps in your area they are more vocal about it. Here in Buffalo I have heard from the politicans, the school where Jamey attended, his family and friends, and even the LGBT community…but not a word from the Evangelical church. And in reality we cannot help stop bullying if we continue to look down on people outside of the church. we need to start to stop it from within. Thanks so much for your comment and fore reading this 🙂
      Peace to you.

  2. Mark, Thank-you for your words which always makes me think!
    I totally agree with what you have written.
    In my own life, from school, to various work places, to where I am now even, I have known (Prob like so many others) what it is like to be ridiculed dislked.
    I am lucky, I have my faith but so many others do not..and, my heart goes out to them.
    Why do people treat each other so badly and love to make some feel small?
    Sometimes, I find it is just that people want to be a part of the “crowd” – they don’t want to in any way, stand out, be different.
    It takes courage to risk rejection from so-called friends and stand with that one person everyone else is bullying.
    It happens in schools, work, Churches, ,many organisations – not many will risk “rocking the boat”.
    Yet, there are some, like you, Mark and a few others I know locally- who do risk standing up for what and who they beleive in.
    For me, “knowing Jesus” is enough!
    When things get “difficult” I just trust, knowing that God understands, loves me, just as He loves us all, even those I find hard at times to keep loving.
    Thank-you.. and keep up the good writing!

  3. I think the issue for some pastors might be a fear of sounding Pro-homosexual if they come down hard on the bully. That is not an excuse but you find that attitude in many Christians and churches. We fear being too soft on sin and so we have to hammer against the sin, which often times, creates collateral damage which we are blind to. You hear the argument all the time—yes we are called to love but we cannot agree with that sin. And the person who needs to be loved is left wallowing in loneliness and despair. And once again we have failed in offering the Gospel out of fear.

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