Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Greatest Story Never Told: Black Clergy Sexual Abuse


What does James H. Bell, Tyrone Forbes, Edwin House, Bruce Curtis Leon Dupree, Clarence Garrison and Willie L. Jefferson all have in common? They are pastors that have been arrested for sexual abuses against their parishioners. And in some of the cases, several have been convicted.

It is a fact that sexual abuse goes under-reported in communities of color. Now let's take that fact and apply it when it comes to outing a pastor, deacon, bishop, or other clergymen and women who serve as high power figures in black communities. Not only is it complicated, but in some instances it can be dangerous.

The recent Eddie Long church scandal has magnified an oft-overlooked flaw in the black community. We exempt our "leaders", and more readily, our religious leaders from moral or ethical scrutiny. And when this happens, we participate in our own oppression.

With the past 10 years of sexual abuse cover-ups, lawsuits and scandals becoming a mainstay in the Catholic church and among white clergymen, there is a notion among some black church members that their black pastors are absolved from this sin. It is as if their pastors' erections are somehow different, more divine, thus are stuck in the right orifices.

And in some instances, the victim at the church becomes the predator or the enemy in the eyes of church members---resulting in a collective exile, or one that is self-imposed due to the rejection from people they thought loved them as children of Christ.

It is no wonder why George H. Bush sought out leaders of predominately black mega-churches during election time. Not only do they hold the purse-strings of parishoners, but they control the consciousness of a powerful voting bloc. And just like the teabaggers, these folks vote for someone who is totally against their interest, all in the name of not passing out condoms at schools.

Though some black church-goers refuse to acknowledge that rampant sexual abuse goes on in black churches, it is as alive-and-well as Sunday morning sermons. So much so, that an organization was formed in 2003 to report sexual abuse in the largest black church in the U.S., Church of God in Christ or COGIC.

Sexual abuse doesn't start or stop at COGIC or at Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist.

Other prominent churches have been hit in the past. In April 2009, Pastor Patrick Jerome Whitehead of the famous Sixteenth Street Baptist Church was arrested for forcing sexual actions such as sodomy on a teen he taught at a local high school.

The list does not stop there. Some of these cases may make those who doubt sexual abuse by black clergy become quiet as a church mouse.

In Jackson, Ms, Rev. Freddie Parker was arrested in 2009 for impregnating a 14-year old parishioner who claims they had sex in the church building and at her home.

Harry Benson of United Methodist Church in Delaware was arrested for numerous counts of molesting a boy he had abused from ages 12 to 18.

In 2005, Pastor Leonard Ray Owens of Prayer House of Faith was arrested for raping a woman he said he was raping the "lesbian demon" out of her. WTF?

In Harlem in 2008, the Catholic Archdiocese suspended, Monsignor Wallace Harris for sexual abusing students in his high school in the 1980s; 10 men and 4 women came out to talk against him.

In 2007, Charles Dickerson out of Fresno, Ca. was arrested for molested two girls in his family, one of them were pregnant.

Since the reports of what is called "Black Collar Crimes" or sexual abuse by clergy members, there have been some clergy who have spoken out. Nevertheless, this is far and few between.

Some people may think that my mission is to destroy the black church; but as a great-grand-niece of a black clergyman from Mississippi who was killed due to his political agitation, I hope the recent expose pushes a needed restructuring of the black church from the top down.



Information regarding COGIC retrieved from: Report COGIC Abuse: http://www.reportcogicabuse.com/about.html ; thank all y'all for being in the struggle.

Thank you Valerie Shaw for giving me another site dedicated to stopping clergy abuse: Stopped Baptist Predators.

5 ish talking intellectuals holla at a sista:

Reggie said...

The wicked lesbian demon huh?!?

It's a goddamned shame, but men and women have been doing this kind of thing since the beginning of time. It seems that we've picked up on the perversions of the Catholic Church and done what we could to try and equal them (since they could NEVER EVER be surpassed).

We've got to close ranks on these disgusting mofos. The person that uses his role in a church to take advantage of young people CAN'T be trusted period.

All pedophiles should be hung. I don't believe that a pedophile is capable of change. Kill 'em all I say, God will send the righteous to heaven!!!

bayoucreole said...

I agree with Reggie. I have a very close relative that was impregnated by her pastor at 12 years old. How do you ever trust the clergy again after you've been constantly forced to have sex with a married pastor?

Reggie said...

...thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]It is no wonder why George H. Bush sought out leaders of predominately black mega-churches during election time. Not only do they hold the purse-strings of parishoners, but they control the consciousness of a powerful voting bloc. And just like the teabaggers, these folks vote for someone who is totally against their interest, all in the name of not passing out condoms at schools.[/quote]

eco.soul:

This paragraph threw me for a loop.
Please help me out.

1) 96% of all Black voters VOTED FOR OBAMA. I assure you that the Black voters in these "Mega Churches" that you lump scorn upon the voting percentages were not much different.

How is it that Bush - who has no traction in the Black community is attacked by you more than the PEOPLE WHO DO GET ELECTED? This despite the failing schools, the inability to deploy our people in jobs within our community?

Did you see the post-mortem of the "Faith Based Initiatives"? About 2.5 years ago there was an analysis done that the larger WHITE churches that already had civic engagement operations (ie: Catholic Charities) got the overwhelming majority of the money.

GUESS WHAT eco.soul? When the report was released the same "grieving Negroes" who warned Black churches that it was a TRICK by Bush to ensnare them saw the imbalance in the distribution of funds - they attacked Bush again for failing to get the money to enough Black churches. (Do you see how this works yet??)

[quote]vote for someone who is totally against their interest, all in the name of not passing out condoms at schools[/quote]

eco.soul - do you think that the Black voters of Washington DC "VOTED FOR THEIR OWN INTERESTS" last week?

With the public schools of Washington DC failing to meet the "Adequate Yearly Progress" in 2009 I heard Anti-Fenty Blacks use this as proof that Fenty/Rhee had not reformed the schools - in line with our PERMANENT INTERESTS.

What I have not heard any "Progressives who are Democrats who are Black" make note that Gray, Fenty, Williams and the rest of them are all Democrats that have been in power over the District for many decades.

All the while that you are focused upon Tea Parties and "Mega Church Black's" that "VOTE AGAINST THEIR OWN INTERESTS" it seems to me that you need to cure that River Blindness that has you unable to see the grand hijacking that is taking place in the LARGER CHURCH known as "the Black community".

Jimmie Morrison said...

Bayoucreole,l was once a part of a Black Church and married a young lady who was 19 while l was 29. The pastor brainwashed her and most of the members. Was taking money from the church for his own good. Later on l found out he was having sex with my ex wife inside my home. I knew something wasn't right when he started chastising me everyday at church. I became so depressed l started drinking again after not doing so for four years. The relapse on alcohol led to a Crack Cocaine Addiction. This pastor continues having sex with my ex wife and my brothers ex wife. You're right! How do you TRUST the pastor in particular and the church in general again. I'm now a Substance Abuse Counselor who also helps with mental illnesses/disorders. She (ex wife) ended up divorcing me for yet another pastor. Sad sad sad!