It’s time. Time to force the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia to take abuse seriously.
The diocese talks a good game. But for years, it has covered up abuse, while failing to treat survivors of abuse with dignity and respect.
Even worse, if you complain, the diocese will allow clergy to retaliate. It will demonize you. It will shun you. It will tell you it doesn’t want to get involved. It will ignore church canons. It will treat you, the victim with utter disrespect.
- In a Title IV disciplinary case against the Rev. Stephen McWhorter, the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia covered up allegations of egregious sexual harassment by him, and against a female church employee. She got zero care from the diocese and wound up with PTSD. McWhorter is still a priest and now serves a diocese in Alabama.
- In a Title IV disciplinary case at St. Thomas’ McLean, the diocese handled the manner on a worst-practices basis. No care or concern was shown for members of the parish or employees, and Canon Pat Wingo showed up out of the blue one Sunday to announce the rector’s suspension. And when parishioners complained, Bishop Shannon Johnston apologized and said he was told by attorneys not to get too involved. But in a case of cheap grace, neither Johnston nor the diocese did anything to fix the problem. Even worse, when the parish tried to hire its next rector and expressed frustation, then canon to the ordinary Mary Thorpe told the parish, “You’re damaged goods.” With the diocese involved, you ain’t kidding, Mary!
- In a case involving Bob Malm, an Episcopal priest who repeatedly committed perjury in bogus lawsuits he brought against a former church member in retaliation for complaining to the diocese about his conduct, the diocese refused to get involved. Why? Because Malm hadn’t faced criminal charges. Yet Malm’s perjury was facially obvious, as he contradicted himself under oath repeatedly. And no surprises — the diocese refused to provide the pastoral response mandated by church canons. So if you are sexually assaulted, robbed, mugged, molested, or anything else by an Episcopal priest, your only hope is that he or she will face criminal charges. Good luck there.
- Even the standing committee is corrupt. When victims of abuse contact the standing committee, they are told by hypocrites/asshats Tom Baker that they are “completely out of line.” Or to take members off their mailing list. Seriously. But hey, they are all about respecting the dignity of every human being….yeah. Uh-huh.
- The bishops are personally involved. That includes Susan Goff, aka Goof, and General Shannon Johnston, whose forebears proudly fought for the Confederacy. Hardly a moment of which to be proud, but things have been downhill ever since.
But victims of abuse are powerful. We have forced the Catholic Church to come clean, the Southern Baptist Convention to be accountable, and more. And we won‘t hesitate to hold the Episcopal Church accountable, or its corrupt leaders.
We won’t be silent. We can speak out, we can withhold money, and we can insist on change. If the diocese won’t change, it will collapse as we bring more and more pressure to bear.
We aren’t interested in “inclusion” when what we’re being included in is a church that promotes spiritual and emotional violence.
We are withholding support until the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia comes clean and cleans up. No money. No volunteers. Nothing.
We aren’t fooled by a bunch of empty Jesus-babble about the “baptismal covenant” and “respecting the dignity of every human being.” Actions speak louder than words.
We’re naming names.
And we won’t be brushed off. At its current rate of decline, the entire Episcopal Church only has about 15 Easters left. If nothing else, we can and will outlast the church.
Stay tuned for additional content and features as we gear up for the election of the 14th
Bishop Bozo-in-Chief of the Diocese of Virginia
In the meantime, read SNAP’s press release on the matter: https://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_calls_on_episcopal_church_to_conduct_full_fair_impartial_investigation_into_allegations_of_abuse