Monday, May 14, 2007

Spankings, Sex, and Salvation

UPDATE: Why is it that Christians are so obsessed with spankings anyway?

It seems that the Rev. Sherman C. Gee Allen of the Fort Worth based Church of God in Christ has allegedly been creatively putting some extra God into his flock:

A Fort Worth pastor accused of paddling and raping women under the guise of scriptural teaching has been suspended by the national body of the Church of God in Christ.

The suspension comes more than three months after a Fort Worth woman sued the Rev. Sherman C. Gee Allen of the Shiloh Institutional Church of God in Christ, contending that he repeatedly beat her with a paddle from 2001 to 2005 and forced her to have sex with him.

Since then, eight more women have come forward with similar stories, according to the woman's lawyers.

...

Ms. Kelly, a 34-year-old mother of three, said Mr. Allen then gave her a Bible and asked her to turn to passages such as the one that yielded the phrase "spare the rod, spoil the child."

"It ended up being a lot of Scripture on spanking for the most part – parents disciplining their children," she said in a February interview. "When he had me read them, it became obvious he meant for it to be spanking me."

...

After the third meeting, she said, Mr. Allen told her to grab her ankles and swatted her once with a green wooden paddle.

"I felt a bit confused," she said. "Afterward, he hugged me, told me he loved me. He just wanted me to obey."

The paddling escalated from there, she said, with Mr. Allen ordering her to pull down her jeans and then her underwear. Ms. Kelly said she was hesitant but believed so devoutly in Mr. Allen's power that she viewed it as a spiritual father/daughter relationship.

"I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor," she said. "I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

...

Around March or April 2005, Mr. Allen made sexual advances and eventually added sex as part of her punishment, she said.

Ms. Kelly eventually sought help and left the church in September 2005. But she said she didn't call police because she was afraid.

"He had literally put his hand around my throat and said that if I ever told anybody, he would hurt me," she said.

Ms. Kelly isn't alone in making the allegations.

According to a 1983 Fort Worth police report, a 21-year-old woman said she had contacted Mr. Allen about voodoo and he had promised to bring her an antidote that she could use while bathing.

But after he came to her house to talk to her one day, she blacked out, and she believed she had either been hypnotized or drugged, the report said. The woman alleged that Mr. Allen paddled her, sodomized her with a club and raped her.


Surely, many rapes and sexual assaults take place that have nothing to do with religion. But this is one of those special religious-based instances where the injection of religious dogma into the situation allows for a sexual assault that otherwise might not have occurred.

Read carefully the words of Ms. Kelly, who said, "I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor... I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

Yet again, we see that the religion - the afterlife belief - served as a catalyst for the assault. The religion served as a tool to control the women into doing things they otherwise would not have done. Additionally, the religion served as an excuse or justification for the preacher to do things that otherwise would have not been acceptable.

I'm also curious as to how ignorant this preacher was. Rev. Allen was committing these offenses as recently as 2005, which was long after the child sex scandal broke out in churches across the US. Didn't this preacher get the memo, and decide that maybe he should lay low until the sex scandal blew over? I suppose he wasn't thinking with his right head.

11 comments:

angelsdepart said...

"I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor," she said. "I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

This line makes me sick. How many people are victims of sick twisted perverts like this because they were representing that they were acting on "God's" authority?

BlackSun said...

There are clubs where you can go to do this sort of thing. Some women like it and you won't face disgrace or charges. You can even claim to be 'god.'

The catch is, everyone eventually takes off their costumes, puts on their clothes and goes home!

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to believe."

Ross McPhee said...

A very emotive posting there, my friend. This is spiritual abuse, plain and simple, and should not be tolerated or condoned in any church. Any church leader acting in such a way should be removed from their position.

ecualegacy said...

Yeah, there's a reason why I advocate the death penalty for rapists. Absolutely shameful what that nasty piece of work did.

Aaron Kinney said...

Ross,

A very emotive posting there, my friend.

Is it safe to take this as a compliment? I hope its emotive in a good way! ;)

This is spiritual abuse, plain and simple,

I would say that, on a more fundamental, this is mental abuse. I say this because both sexual assault and spiritual assault are forms of forced control.

Funny how religion can be used to get people to have sex with you, but atheism cannot.

What I mean is that the relevant quote to this instance of religious sexual assault is: "I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor... I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

Now can an equivalent atheistic quote be imagined? One where we can identify the imagined legitimacy of the assailants authority or permission? Lets try it:

"I looked at him as a man of godlessness, my skeptic... I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from the godless eternal natural universe."

Doesnt seem as plausible, does it?

...and should not be tolerated or condoned in any church. Any church leader acting in such a way should be removed from their position.

I totally agree here. So the question is, why did it take the church 3 months from being aware of this problem before they actually took any action? Did they learn nothing from the scandals that destroyed the reputation of their catholic counterpart just a few years prior?

Aaron Kinney said...

EC,

Yeah, there's a reason why I advocate the death penalty for rapists. Absolutely shameful what that nasty piece of work did.

I am also a supporter of the death penalty. Although in my view the threshold for receiving the death penalty should be higher than just one count of rape.

ecualegacy said...

I'm a Unit Victim Advocate at my post. In one of our training sessions I had to listen to a 911 recording of a rape in progress. I've sworn never to listen to that tape again. It was just too horrible.

Rape is like a nuclear bomb. It vaporizes life as the victim knows it and leaves lasting, lingering damage for generations. If you rape someone, you may as well have killed them for all the harm you've done. That victim is gone forever. The person left behind will never, ever be the same.

Aaron Kinney said...

EC,

Thats intense! I defintiely see your point. Ive never heard a tape of a rape so obviously I cant appreciate the horror of such a crime the way you can. Maybe if I was confronted with actual rape evidence or tapes etc, I would change my mind. My earlier comment about the death penalty was not meant in any way to lessen the horror of rape, by the way.

Ross McPhee said...

Yes, I do mean that in a good way. Abuse is abuse, even if the perpetrators try to justify their actions by spiritualising them. As you may have guessed, I'm a Christian, but that doesn't blind me to the bad things that all too often happen in churches. Lately I've been reading about this problem, and it grieves me, frankly. I don't know why the church in question was so slow to act. From the reading I've done, there's often a mentality of blaming the victim or the complainant rather than giving them a fair hearing. They often get falsely accused of rocking the boat, stirring up trouble, or attempting to undermine their spiritual leaders. Then of course when these leaders' actions finally get exposed, the victims are vindicated, but not before a lot of damage has been caused.

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Sacred Slut said...

Funny how religion can be used to get people to have sex with you, but atheism cannot.

I think it would be more along the lines of "there's no god so why not?" What you can't use atheism for is to coerce people into having sex with you out of fear.

Yet another example of someone whose sexuality is entirely fucked up because of religious teachings. And who in turn inflicted psychological damage on many other people.

This is an example of the thousands of "lesser" evil things (not to minimize what happened to these women, but it's not on the scale of say, the Inquisition) that religion does. Shermer talks about this in his book "How We Believe" where he says,

"From the Crusades' numerous attempts to cleanse the Holy Land of infidels (anyone who was not a proper Christian), to the Inquisition's efforts to purge society of heretics (anyone who dissented from Christian dogma), to the Counter Reformation's push to extirpate reforming Protestants from Catholic Lands, to the Holy Wars of the late twentieth century that continue to produce death rolls in the millions, all have been done in the name of God and the One True Religion. However, for every one of these grand tragedies there are ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good that go largely unreported in the history books or on the evening news."


I'm sure this minister also comforted people and maybe raised money for good causes. For every one of those "ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good", it seems to me there is a corresponding number of acts of personal evil that often go unreported.