Clergy Domestic Violence : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I understand that the AME Church voted on issues of importance at the general conference. domestic violence is a serious issue. our former pastor was jailed for beating his wife several times until she was put in the hospital. i wont mention his or her name here but she is a talented young woman we all loved. the members complained and all that happened, he told people it was his wifes fault because she was crazy even though we knew it was not so and then the bishop moved him to another church. later we found out that he has been moved from 6 churches, 4 episcopal districts and 3 different wives for the same exact thing. now he is in another episcopal district and has an opportunity to do the same thing. not to mention steal money from the church and charge cars, stereo systems and computers to the churchs name without their consent. my question is: what stand does the ame church take on domestic violence? will we allow people to keep ruining the reputation of the ame church by doing this? what hope is there for a young person like me. many times i have thought about non denominational churches because these things affect us all.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2004


Alicia, thank you for bringing up this extremely important issue "Domestic Violence". I would like to comment on the issue. My mother died when she was 28, I was 7 years old at the time. Her body was found in lake erie, in clevland,ohio. She was my father's third wife and all 3 of wives died. The police suspected my father had murdered my mother, but had no proof, and he told everyone she killed herself. We will never know the truth. My father was a deacon in the baptist church. The point I want to make it that domestic violence occurs in churches, offices, communities etc.

And it affects families! Children lives are altered, I have shared my story many times in workshops I give to get information out to the public. Until we start talking about it, there will be no change.

Our church needs young people to speak out. One area that also receives little attention is dating abuse. Teenage girls, are being beat up by their boyfriends, the girls have no one to talk to, and in this culture where women are called "whores" (ho)and portrayed as sexual objects in video's. We are not seen as human and I fear the numbers of domestic violence abuse in our young people will soar.

Alycia be pro-active talk to the wms in your church put on programs about domestic violence. You can use someone's home, meet in a coffee shop etc.

Thank you for raising our consciousness, this is one of the very reasons we need you to stay in the denomination.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2004

Thank you Alicia, for raising such an important issue. I agree with Rev. Denise, domestic violence is an issue in every walk of life, and every denominational or non-denominational entity. The AME Church does have a mechanism to address this issue within the confines of the Annual Conference, however people within the church must be brave enough to file the appropriate charges and see the process through to the end.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2004

I agree with Rev. Freeman. Talk about this issue in all our meetings and then file charges with the authorities and see to it that appropriate action is taken. Encourage the victims to report the abuse to the Police. Any man/person that will strike or even put his hands on a woman in anger is not fit to be a minister of the gospel. I know from exoerience that the aurhorities are reluctant to prosecute a minister but you can put pressure on them by reporting it to the local and if necessary National Media. Most largeer cities have support groups who will assist abused spouses. I will list some of the groups later.

-- Anonymous, July 17, 2004

Denise I'm very sorry to hear about your mother. There was a pastor in a local AME church in my area who used to abuse his wife. She finally died of a brain aneurysm at 42 y.o.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2004

Kirk, thank you for your kind words regarding my mother. My brother killed himself at age 23 after years of abuse and the loss of my mother. He jumped into Lake erie.

I am sorry about the pastor's wife who died. It is only when we tell others the devasting affects domestic abuse has on the whole family, will we get the courage to speak out and also the courage to help those who are abused.

-- Anonymous, July 18, 2004

The stories told are sad indeed. This is question begs to call attention to an issue that was brought at general conference. Upon discussion of clergy retirements one of the recommendations was that upon conviction of a felony crime the individual would forfeit the right to his/her retirement. This was briefly ammended and the motion passed. It concerned me that no one had an objection to leave this very important clause in the retirement policey. Those of us who work in corporate america live by this same rule on a dailey basis. It baffles me that we as a zion do not expect our clergy, leaders to live at a higher standard and example. The judiciary process within our zion is questionable at best as well. The theory that only clergy shall judge clergy is contemptable. The lay are stock holders in this zion which requires for the clergy who in effect are employees of the church to answer before the body. Let's be honest, if I'm a pastor stealing money from the church and another brother/sister in the ministry comes before me on the same charges, I am least likely to convict. Our legal process within the church is soft and ineffective. Because it is a religious organization, the courts touch with gentle gloves if at all. My rhetoric is to say that we must develop a system that forces individuals to answer to such crimes within the church and work with government so that these individuals face the same penalties as someone without the collar.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Having had to deal with 3 DV issues this week alone, I have been waiting to respond on this issue until I could control my anger.

If this allegation is true, then I say to the "Pastor"

YOU ARE A PMF, and do not deserve to be called a man. You are weak, and spineless. STEP DOWN FROM YOUR PASTORATE, you child of Satan, IF you have the guts. You have violated the marriage convenant 3 times too many. Step down and get help. Step down and seek God's counsel. To the Bishops(s) who allowed this to continue:

YOU ARE AS GUILTY AS THE "PASTOR". You need to make amends to the wives, their children, and the congregations affected by this PMF's actions.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Our Discipline has the statues to deal with the issue of pastors not living up to the calling of the ministry. But all of us who observe such actions MUST file the appropriate charges against such individuals until the system works. If a bishop transfers a minister who violates our rule, then theat bishop is also guilty and must be brought up on appropriate charges. I have seen pastors transferred from church to church for discipline infractions too. Those who have the evidence should not hesitate to present such evidence at the Annual Conference and make sure that justice is done. Domestic Violence can and should be handled in the Stae courts. Pastors who are guilty of a felony should be removed from the ministry and not allowed to return. Carolyn, not all pastors are theives. I believe that most pastors are honest and hardwo0rking servants of God. It only takes one bad apple to spoil the entire barrel.

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

I know personally the pastor and wife that Alicia is talking about. I want to thank you Alicia for writing all of that. I was sad to see him at the General Conference bragging about his new church in the 4th district. And to think, others are being influenced by that.

I too was an abused woman. The fortunate part is that I got out of it. The unfortunate part is that people believed what he told them and it made it so hard for me to start my life over again. When I left, my ex-husband bad mouthed me in the church, community and even in my own family. I encourage all clergy and laity to read up on it. There's Christian books on handling issues like this.

The #1 thing a perpetrator does is blame the victim. The #2 thing is that he/she tries to make the victim look bad in the eyes of others. Hence, others will say "She deserved it". NO ONE EVER DESERVES TO BE EMOTIONALLY, PHYSICALLY OR VERBALLY ABUSED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

A very special friend of mine left her abuser last year after suffering four years. The only reason she left is because he attempted her life. I did not try to make her leave, but I was so glad when she did. Just to think, she was a preacher's wife and had already written her funeral program and she couldnt have been 30-32 years old. When talking to her, she says something that I want to leave on this board.

"When a victim is crying out for help, please dont ever ignore them. They need you more than you know"

-- Anonymous, July 20, 2004

Sister Lovelace, I thank God for you and the courage you have displayed in telling your story. You and persons like you that have managed to get out of an abusive situation are ideal candidates to start a network for victims of spousal abuse. Sharing of your stories can be a ray of hope for those in a current abusive situation. Some clergy wives are reluctant to leave an abusive situation for fear of being blamed for dismantling the career of the abuser. God knows and what man thinks does not matter. Do not allow what is said about you define you. Hold your head high and trust God. Remember the sparrows; worthless to man but precious to God.

Be Blessed

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2004

Thank you for your e-mail. As lawyer and licentuate it is important that this sin (and spirit) of domestic violence be exposed for what it is. While I certainly would not want to put you on the spot to name names, I only ask that you continue to pray about it so that this sick man can be exposed and seek the appropriate remedial help before he causes and more physical and spiritual damage to women and the congregations he might serve.

Would we feel the same way if we knew that a pastor was a drug dealer or pimp, allowing him to continue to pastor, God forbid!!!.

Let us continue to pray for our church

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2004

I must admit my emotions have prevented me from participating in this thread. I am quite frankly sickened by these allegations and other testimonies about violence against women. While I do respect the principle of due process, Carolyn touches on the essential issue regarding the sluggish process we face when an AME minister is the accused party. The internal system of justice ought not be manipulated so that it favors the defendant and trivializes the plaintiff. Justice delayed is justice denied. Spousal abuse is cowardly and contemptible. There is NO "just cause" excuse since nearly all cases show a familiar pattern of power, intimidation and control. The Bible adomonishes husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave His life for us all. As a man, husband and father it pains me to read of male directed violence against women. Quite frankly, I'm sick of this satanic behavior! I better reign in my emotions or else I too might offer some colorful acronymns like those provided by Parson Harper (e.g., PMF). QED

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2004

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