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I hate to bring up this Roy Moore thread again, but there is an interesting article in the Washington Post this morning about Andy Savage, a pastor at "Highpoint Church, an evangelical Memphis mega-congregation that draws more than 2,000 Sunday worshipers". Savage has been outed by a women, Jules Woodsen, who as a teen was sexually assaulted by Savage. Wooden confronted Savage about his past in an e-mail below:
“Do you remember that night that you were supposed to drive me home from church and instead drove me to a deserted back road and sexually assaulted me?” Woodson wrote. “Do you remember how you acted like you loved me and cared about me in order for me to cooperate in such acts, only to run out of the vehicle later and fall to your knees begging for forgiveness and for me not to tell anyone what had just happened?”
She closed with three words and a hashtag. “Well I REMEMBER,” the email said. “#me-too.”
When Savage failed to respond to her e-mail, she went public with it. Savage dismissed it as a "sexual incident" and apologized for it in front of his congregation. “I am truly sorry more was not done. Until now I did not know there was unfinished business with Jules. So today, I say, Jules I am deeply sorry for my actions 20 years ago.”
And for that Andy Savage got a 20 second standing ovation from his congregation. This is why Roy Moore and others before him survive in the evangelical community despite their transgressions. As the WP reports, forgiveness is accepted within the evangelical community. Christa Brown an expert on church abuse scandals and coverups says. “Religious leaders use forgiveness theology as a cover, and as an avoidance, of accountability...And it’s a way of further shaming victims. ‘What a bad girl you are, you aren’t forgiving.’”