Every few weeks the media covers a story involving a child – or a family of children – who have been abused, attacked, bullied, injured or killed. They fuel the righteous anger of all against those who would hurt a child in any way, who would abuse them or even fail in their obligation to provide the right care, attention and education for children. Often the government, social services, local care institutions and the Church become involved in the whole case, neighbors are questioned, the school they go to brought into the spotlight and someone, somewhere, receives the blame.
The process can take a few weeks until the person who has caused the abuse is brought to justice and society can move on with a shake of its collective head. Or it can take longer, and the story fades from public consciousness and, one day, disappears into the archives as unsolved.
It is not so often that a person involved in abuse comes out into the open and advocates violence against children, and perhaps that is why there hasn’t been such a major reaction in the case of the North Carolina Pastor Sean Harris.
Harris, from the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is a hard advocate of violence against children. He believes that they should be punched. He believes that they should be violently abused. And he says it loud and clear in his sermons in the Baptist Church in Fayetteville to applause and laughter from his faithful congregation. Male children who, in his opinion, exhibit any form of effeminate characteristics should be beaten back onto the straight and narrow pathway of heterosexuality.
Harris is also a sexist, a strong believer in the old idea that women should be there merely as something pretty to look at, a worker in the kitchen, supporting her man and bringing children into the world who, in a secure Baptist family, will be raised in the faith and punched or slapped into obedience should they deviate from his strict ideals of what a boy or a girl should be.
And where are all the newspaper headlines? The problem is that Harris is advocating violence against children, not that he has been accused of actual violence or abuse. He is advising others to commit the crimes which, perhaps, he doesn’t have the strength to commit himself. And he is getting a lot of support; his congregation electing him as Pastor despite his preachings, which says a great deal about the community and their Christian spirit, their faith and their belief.
Harris, to my way of thinking, is a loud-mouthed coward. He hides behind misinterpreted words from the Bible and the belief that his idea of how God created the human race – Adam and Eve – is the only correct one.
However. We are told that God created man in his own image. That God is all things and all things are in God. And that means that even the most disabled, the most ugly, the most gay person is a part of God and created in God’s form, in God’s image.
Even Sean Harris.
And even though Sean Harris was created, according to his belief, in God’s image, he should not be in the position that he presently is. Whilst I can understand that a bigoted, short-sighted congregation may well wish to protect their own Pastor, and even accept what he preaches Sundays from the pulpit, the Baptist Church should react from above. The hierarchy within the Church should show Sean Harris that his teachings are not the Word of God, nor the Word of Jesus Christ, that homosexuality is not mentioned as such within the Bible – although there are instances where one man gets to ‘know’ another, just as there are instances of rape and so on and it depends greatly upon which version of the Bible is being used – in relation to children, and that the Bible certainly does not advocate violence against children even if they are effeminate and shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians, 6:9).
The Law of Man is the first instance which should be applied here, and notÃ‚Â an anonymous recommendation from a book of historical sayings which has been altered countless times, re-interpreted, over many generations and which, as in this case, is being used to justify the hatred of one person against others.
- Viktoria Michaelis.