If you haven’t kept up with the Trinity Baptist (NH) case, 15-year old Tina Anderson was raped by deacon Ernie Willis during a driving lesson. He later came to her house and raped her again. She discovered she was pregnant and told him. He offered her an abortion. The church leadership brought Ernie in front of the church as a repentant sinner for having engaged in extra marital sex. After that, Tina was brought before the church for sexual sin. She was made to apologize.
Though then pastor Chuck Phelps knew Ernie had raped her, he did not tell the church this. Tina was immediately withdrawn from the Christian school, kept under watch, and shuttled off to Colorado to be home schooled, where she was also kept away from her peers and forbidden to discuss what had happened. Ernie continued in the church for the next few years. When Tina had the baby, she was made to give her up for adoption.
Now, 13 years later, the story has come out. Willis has been arrested. Phelps is pastoring in Indiana. Brian Fuller, current pastor at Trinity, has defended and supported Phelps’ decisions. Phelps continues to blame the victim. Overall, many at Trinity blame the police. I was posting links on my facebook page, and I received these remarkable comments from Dr John Matzko, a teacher at Bob Jones University. I will not be surprised if he is told to remove them, so I am preserving them here.
MATZKO: Subtract the questionable public confessions before the church, and to me it looks mostly like a case of sloppy police work thirteen years ago.
Raped twice? So the girl’s raped and then goes back to see the same guy again in private. The prosecutor better have a convincing personality to get a conviction on that sort of testimony.
JERI: No John, Go read the account. The man came to her house when her mother was not home and raped her the second time.
And why should anybody subtract the “questionable public confessions” of the church when that is the heart of the moral matter? Oh wait, I forgot about Fundamentalists who will do ANYTHING, believe ANYTHING they are told to hold on to their man-centered religion. Now stop excusing the men who let a rapist come to church and kept his secret while they sent his victim off to coventry. And be ashamed of yourself if you have a conscience left. Gosh it’s tragic to see the children whose lives are ruined by unrestrained corruption in Fundamentalism. It’s even worse to see aged men whose souls have been destroyed by it. Don’t you have the sense to fear God? You knwo what Christ taught about the little ones.
MATZKO: Sorry, I’m not buying it. Neither will a jury, if it even gets that far.
JERI: No you’ve bought something else, and a long time ago, and that is tragic. And no amount of evidence is going to change your mind.
MATZKO: In New Hampshire, penetration committed on a minor younger than 16 is indeed statutory rape. But the statute of limitations runs only six years. If Phelps reported the incident, then the problem is–unless proved otherwise–with the police.
JERI: Sure John, and that means nobody sinned, you know, because it all got wiped out by American jurisprudence. Of course Phelps never did anything wrong, not by covering the rape by calling it consensual sex, not by covering the rapist by staging the “discipline” to make sure nobody thought Willis had engaged in sex with a minor member of the church, not by protecting Willis by getting that child out of there. No John, no wrong was done,m because by now I have learned the heart of Christian Fundamentalist morality: IF IT WAS DONE IN A CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH, IT WAS RIGHT. Now everybody shut your eyes and keep going.
MATZKO: I’m sure if the police wanted to know where the girl was, Phelps would have told them. And legally it’s their responsibility to follow up.
Now, as to what a pastor’s ethical responsibility is in a nasty situation like this, I’m uncertain. I’m pretty sure that in the Old Testament economy, either the girl would have become a polygamous wife or both the guy and the girl would have met their ends surrounded by a lot of hefty rocks.
It’s a study in moral bankruptcy. This is what that 15 year old girl faced at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord New Hampshire.
I have now made the thread public via screenshots: