Friday, April 13, 2012

Wake Up, Church, Stop Blame-Shifting!

by Neil Schori

This past I celebrated Easter at my church and it was incredible!  Three people committed their lives to following Jesus.  It was a truly moving day.  As I really took in the true meaning of Easter, I started to think about how so many people misuse religion in selfish attempts to control others.

I can't even believe how many Christians and community leaders and even pastors that I encounter that seriously believe that abused women should not leave their abusive husbands.  It is shocking to me that people are that warped about a God who modeled the exact opposite of what THEY teach.

When Jesus has just started his public ministry, he went to teach in the synagogue.  He opened the scroll of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, and he read these words:

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." (Luke 4:18, 19 NIV)

After he spoke those words, he said to the crowd: "Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."  Profound words!  Jesus came to bring good news to everyone that had been held back and was disadvantaged in his society.  He stood against suffering and pain and subjugation of all kinds.  He came to set us free!  Not just in a strange and unknowable "spiritual" sense...but in a real and tangible and life-altering way.  He really came to set us free.  And yes, that includes abused women.  Wake up, church!  Give dignity to victims.  Quit placating the aggressors and falsely applying scripture to the lives of victims.  Stop blame-shifting.  Stop enabling sinful behavior.  Stand on the side of Truth.

Jesus was all about giving dignity to women.  In a culture that made it a practice of minimizing women and their rights, Jesus flipped the script on the misogynists of his day, and he continues to do it today.  Jesus gave dignity by offering conversation and counseling to a desperate woman he met at a well (John 4).  He saved a woman from legalistic laws that called for the execution of a woman caught in adultery by reminding the men that they were not sin-free, themselves (John 7).  And Jesus, in all of his wisdom first appeared to his female followers after he defeated death by rising from the dead (Mark 16).

Throughout his earthly life, Jesus showed us what God cares about.  And as a follower of Jesus, I'm proud to carry his name and tradition of offering dignity and shelter to women who have been oppressed.  I'm grateful for all of my fellow armor-bearers as we fight for this noble cause.  That is GOOD NEWS.


Neil Schori

Neil Schori serves as lead pastor of Naperville Christian Church, and is a remarkable advocate for those in abusive relationships. He is a certified trainer of the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit through Document the Abuse. His church is known as a haven of safety for the abused.


  1. "abused women should not leave their abusive husbands."

    Oh yes, I was ordered home to obey my abuser in Ireland because I was a Catholic woman.

    I got the whole lecture re being a woman and knowing my place in society and if I dared leave I would be made homeless and peniless. I WAS. By the very court paid to protect me.

    That was my awakening.

    It is not just church leaders who believe this but lawyers, judges etc.

    You may not know- because of the law of secrecy in family courts but abused women are told not to dare mention domestic abuse to the court or they will loose their children to the perpetrator and in some areas 83% of victims do loose their children to the criminals.

    I have researched and found where this thinking comes from.

    I include one of my articles- so people understand what the collective conscience holds to be true.

    Just "Get back to your husband woman, that’s your place!”

    "The only way you can leave your husband is in a coffin, you know the rules of the Church"

    If these women defied the Priest and did not return then they were castigated, labeled as `Harlots’. and declared outcasts. Most went into exile and were never heard of again.

    Family and friends sided with the Catholic priest, so the victims were further abused and isolated.

    Oh yes, I was forced into exile, while my perpetrator moved onto his next victim- my pupil.No one bothered to check on him because he has the divine right to do as he pleases to Eve ill wombmen and children.

  2. Catholic Priests who ordered children and mothers back to the violence and abuse did not do so alone but were operating according to higher orders.

    So, where exactly did these orders come from?

    The teachings on this go back to St Augustine who lived in a dysfunctional family where his mother was beaten and forced to obey the violent father.

    This “saint” then set about writing on how it is good for women to suffer at the hands of their husbands, because all women are evil and need to repent for the sin of being born female.

    He also followed the teachings of Aristotle who also saw the subjugation of women as being necessary for society.

    The patriarchal church also taught that women who think they are being abused are simply deceiving themselves and should not be believed. Keeping the women in the institution of marriage was all that mattered.

    Children of the marriage were not believed either regarding abuse by the father, as that made would make him look bad in the eyes of the community and men’s reputations and good standing had to be protected.

    By saying and doing nothing about the abuse, the Roman Catholic Church was thereby encouraging the denial of the realities of domestic violence and intra-familial terrorism and the extreme sufferings of abused mothers and their children.
    Many mothers returned to the violence as a consequence of the Priests directives and suffered broken health and premature deaths. Children often suffered serious mental disorders or lapsed into crime and prostitution and drug addiction.
    Priests would commonly say to abused mothers, “His (the abusive violent father) soul must be saved! You must return to him and stay with him to save his soul or he will not be admitted to heaven when he dies!”
    The same patriarchal thinking has continued today into the legal system, whereby abused mothers and children are made to suffer for daring to come forward and try to escape.
    This abuse has been allowed to continue into the next generation, thus perpetuating the cycle.


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