Rampant Sexual Abuse of Women, and Its Cover Up, at Hope Community Church, Gives Single Christians Another Reason to Be Leery of the Be Equally Yoked Rule or Looking for a Spouse at a Church
The following article needs to be read in full, because, among other things, one learns that the church staff of the church discussed victim-blamed a teen-aged girl for wearing shorts as the reason as to why a male hired by the church sexually assaulted her.
What I wanted to focus on in this article, however, were the comments the single women made about this church.
Remember as you are reading this, that many Christians will advise you, if you are a single woman who’d like to marry, to try finding “husband material” at your local church.
Also remember as you read this, that a lot of Christians still push the spinster-making teaching of “be equally yoked” in regards to dating or marriage. (It’s a Christian view that holds that a Christian single should not date or marry any Non-Christians.)
Feb 10, 2021
by Katie Jane Fernelius
…As members of Hope Community Church streamed in for services, the protesters held signs confronting Hope’s leadership on its record of handling sexual abuse and assault.
Over the last few months, the INDY has worked to vet these allegations and the church’s response to them.
Unfortunately, church leaders, including founder and lead pastor Mike Lee, have not responded to multiple inquiries, effectively stonewalling the INDY’s reporting around a fraught topic.
Sara Dye, who joined the megachurch looking for healing after she was raped by a stranger and went through a divorce, says she was assaulted by a member of the church’s worship team.
Katie Griffith says she was assaulted by a church member and groundskeeper when she was a high school student….
“A lot of people turn to churches or organized religion when they are going through difficult times in their lives,” Dye told the INDY. (Dye also spoke to the INDY about sexual harassment allegations at Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana last summer.) “It seemed like a safe place to be.” …
Much of Hope’s appeal to newcomers is the promise of fellowship and friendship—an entire social network built around shared values and beliefs. …
…A History of Mishandling Harassment Complaints
Danielle Rogers joined a small group of Christian singles at Hope in 2018. …
Rogers, far away from family and struggling with PTSD, thought a small group might be the right place for her to connect with other Christians, as well as find healing after leaving an abusive marriage.
Instead, she encountered what she describes as patronizing, “demeaning,” and “abusive” behavior from two men in the group, including one small group leader. Another member of the same small group who spoke with the INDY confirms Rogers’ account.
When Rogers brought these issues up to another group leader and later to pastor Andrew Yates, she says they encouraged her to privately address each man and offer him forgiveness. The INDY corroborated this through texts and direct messages from that time. Yates has not responded to requests for comment.
“They wanted me to Matthew 18 them,” Rogers says.
Rogers is referring to a Bible verse, Matthew 18:15, which advises those who witness wrongdoing to privately address the person who sinned first, and only to bring in outside authorities—such as church leaders—if that person refuses to admit to the sin and repent….
“Churches do not always understand that the impact of their responses is often greater than the abuse itself,” Stier [“programs director at Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, a Virginia-based ministry that works to combat sexual abuse in churches”] says.
…Nancy, who asked that her real name not be used, joined the Raleigh megachurch in 2014. A single mom, she says she struggled to find a good Christian community where she felt like she belonged.
But at Hope, she flourished; she became a leader of a Bible study group for women and worked to develop a singles ministry.
In a small group for singles, Nancy recalls, some men at the church openly scrutinized her romantic and sexual life and questioned her authority as a woman to comment on the Bible. [Her story was verified by others]
…In 2018, one of the same men who Rogers reported problems with began harassing Nancy, she says, repeatedly asking her out, texting her constantly, and crossing boundaries, like inviting her into his home when he was half-dressed. Nancy declined his requests for a date, told him his behavior was inappropriate, and eventually blocked his number as he continued to harass her, she says.
Nancy, too, reached out to Yates when the man wouldn’t leave her alone. She says she thought she had followed the Matthew 18 protocol, because she had privately addressed the matter with the man first, but he still wouldn’t respect her boundaries.
…A few months later, Nancy’s harasser showed up at her door one night, angry.
“He was like, ‘Are you just going to block me forever?’” she says. They argued, and she started crying. The man eventually left.
…When Nancy brought the incident up with Yates, he said he believed her, she recounts, but discouraged her from pressing charges or taking other action that could harm the man. He said he feared the man might feel pushed out of Hope and go harm women elsewhere, she recalled.
The INDY viewed text messages from the time that corroborate Nancy’s account.
—- end excerpts —
You can read that entire article (Link): here
I’ve said this before but will say it again – if you’re a single, Christian woman, if you want to marry, you will have to rid yourself of the “don’t marry a Non-Christian rule,” because a lot of self-professing men in churches (most don’t even have single men!) or on the dating sites are lunatics, abusive, controlling, perverted, or self-absorbed.
You have to look at a man’s character to judge if you’d like to date and marry him, not whether or not he says he believes in Jesus or attends a church.
Maybe churches were a safe place to meet decent, single men 20+ years ago, but I think that’s changed.
The excerpts from that article I just posted above should be jarring and concerning for you if you’re a single, Christian woman who is still hoping, expecting, or praying for God to send you a “Christian Mr. Right” at your local church.
I am sad to inform you that if there is a deity, He isn’t sending most singles a mate.
You’re on your own, and from what I’ve seen, churches are not a great place to meet a decent guy. If you begin participating at your local church in hopes of finding a Mr. Right, you may end up instead being stalked by a lunatic, or sexually assaulted by another member and then being blamed by your pastor for having been assaulted.
I think staying at home single and alone and watching NetFlix is the better option.
(Link): Update on Christian Rapist Man Who Used Christian Mingle Site To Pick His Victims (he liked to discuss Jesus and the Bible with them before raping them – other details in update) Equally Yoked Teaching IS A FARCE
(Link): Stop Believing God Told You to Marry Your Spouse by G. Thomas