Sex abuse and the church: to those sure they would have done better

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Thanks Pastor Tim. In 1996 I programmed a web shop, in C++, no less. There was of course the Internet already, and I did find a great C++ library. Without it, I couldn’t have done it. Nevertheless I went on to re-invent the hash table, a very basic and important data structure. My implementation was really bad. There were a lot more of these examples.

Yes, it’s embarrassing, yes I didn’t know better. But I also wasn’t as smart as I thought I was back then. Whenever I think back, life seems to be such a humiliating thing. I guess it’s the same for pastors and elders.


It is so easy to be wise after the event.

When I was 20 (I’m now 57) the church I was part of was shaken to its core when it was discovered that the senior pastor had been sexually abusing some women in the church, and for several years. He was dismissed, but the elders did a number of other things which, with the best will in the world, backfired on them. Principally, they tried to keep the whole thing “under wraps”, for a series of reasons - some good (protecting the other people involved); some perhaps not. But the people rebelled at the way they were being treated, and over the next year half of them voted with their feet. And the truth of the situation leaked out anyway.

One key point, is that over time my judgement is that the church is getting better at how they handle these matters. The next time there was a big scandal of this sort, the organisation concerned did deal with it better, not least because the matter had ended up with the police.

I also think that a major reason why these things could have been handled better in the past, is that the organisations concerned had decided at the time that preserving the good name of the organisation was more important that ensuring that justice was done. It’s not just the response of the Catholic Church.


The pastor abusing women of the church is a microscopic part of sexual abuse in the church. Things aren’t being handled better in the church today because they’re being discussed openly. All that’s being discussed openly is the abuse committed by male authorities with not the slightest concomitant growth in the accountability of women. No one’s exposing and shaming mothers who have covered up their son’s incest.

It will take a couple generations for fathers and husbands and pastors and elders to wake up to the hypocrisy we have brought on ourselves the past decade or two through our cheap morality plays.