Anne Klassen is breaking her decades of silence about the church’s complicity in her father’s sexual abuse of her throughout her childhood.
Anne’s earliest memories of her father’s sex abuse are from when she was four, but her mother tells her it began significantly earlier. It continued until she married in her early 20s, with the full knowledge of her mother and siblings. It was just assumed that her father had full access to her body and could do as he pleased with her.
But Anne went to her pastor for help. Isn’t that a logical thing to do?
Guess what she heard. Her pastor told her he knew about it. He already knew her father was involved in an ongoing incestuous relationship with his daughter.
Then he told her she needed to forgive her father and forgive her family for their complicity.
Her pastor did not report her abuse. Granted this was years before mandated reporting – but incest has been a crime for a long time. And it has certainly been against Biblical law for longer.
Her pastor did not take this man’s sexual sin before the church for church discipline. That would have been a Biblical response.
Her pastor did not make any attempt to help her find healing – which could only have occurred after he helped her get to a place of physical safety by helping get her father the legal and Scriptural consequences required by God and country.
Her pastor did not stand up for the afflicted and needy within his own doors, thereby defying the commission of Jesus under the New Covenant.
Her pastor abetted her abuser, thereby calling evil good.
Interestingly, the current church claims they would do differently today. But I noticed that their words still want to put the problem back on the family and shake off any responsibility by the church.
That is a common problem when abuse victims reach out to the church. It is far easier if the church can turn the problem back onto the family so they don’t have to get their hands dirty and messy dealing with it. That would be icky and hard work! People might get mad at them! How not nice would that be?!
So churches do fancy little pious-sounding dances to worm their way out of being responsible to do what Jesus gave us a mandate to do – stand up for the afflicted, hold people accountable, expose sin, put unrepentant sinners out of the church, obey the law of the land by reporting illegal activity, etc.
Now Anne’s family is angry with her, but this merely indicates they are locked in their own dysfunction still. Kudos to her for speaking out! I wish her the best.
To read more about Anne Klassen and her situation, visit her website at mennonitecoverup.ca.