I’m joining the chorus by singing the same verse others have sung before me, because they said it as well or better than I ever could. I am a sincere fallible Christian, a sometimes-doubting-Thomas who on my best days struggles to articulate this faith that redeems this life for me and on my worst days wishes I could knock some ranting, raving blockhead-in-the-sand who claims to be a Christian off his soapbox.
If you haven’t heard yet, Wesley Scroggins, a college professor in Missouri, has called for SPEAK to be banned. SPEAK is an honest raw novel full of Truth and Story that depicts a character who chooses not to speak after she is raped. She keeps quiet about what happened to her.
I need to be careful. I don’t want to imply that I believe Mr. Scroggins is not the Christian he claims he is. It’s not my judgement to make. And if Mr. Scroggins sincerely feels led by God and His word to make this call for banning, who am I to stand in his way? BUT I would caution him that a million and one misguided, perverted and abusive things have been done in the name of God. Are those abusive things done in the name of God reason enough for me to abandon my sincere desire to follow God and His word? Do those abusive acts done in the name of religion actually glorify God or my faith, just because someone says their intent was to glorify God? No they do not, just as a book portraying an abusive act of rape does not glorify sex just because someone says it does.
We cannot be motivated to action by what we have fashioned as truth in our minds. We cannot create God in our own image. We cannot hide Truth. We have to Speak. Loudly. And we have to Love even more Loudly. Because rape happens. Abuse happens. And Jesus would not have been ranting and raving about the sex. He would have quietly had his arm around a hurting girl, showing her True Love and Acceptance in the face of her shame and insecurity. (In fact, he DID just that in John 4:7-24 for the Woman at the Well.)
My favorite quote from the posts I’ve read so far on this subject comes from Veronica Roth:
11 thoughts on “Speak Loudly”
This is why I chose you for my spiritual director. 🙂
I’m sure there are sincere Christians who disagree with me. In fact some I love and respect.
All of us sincere Christians disagree on a lot of stuff.
It is Wesley Scroggins and others like him who have shaken my faith, not of God, but of religion. Thank you for writing this — you have touched my heart.
Thanks for letting me know it struck a note with you.
There are many who don’t agree though. 😦 I think we need more Truth in Story and I don’t think it’s always going to be pretty, is it?
exactly. Life isn’t always “happily ever after.” Actually, to my knowledge, it has never been happily ever after. What good does it do kids to build up an imbalanced view of the world by never having bad things happen to characters? Rape and sex are part of that.
I don’t like graphic and titillating depictions of sexual activity in YA, however… there’s nothing fun (or even sexual) about rape, nothing desireable about it. But a LOT of girls are going to be victims of rape, and reading about dealing with the after effects in a novel could be a life saver to some of them. And, there are girls who are going to have to also deal with the after effects of their own choices. We don’t live in a society filled with goody twoshoes, and I’m not naive enough to believe that however well my daughter is taught, that she’s not going to have sex before marriage, or do drugs, or any number of things. I hope she doesn’t, but that’s out of my hands to a degree. I want her to have tools at her disposal when the time comes, and well written YA can sometimes provide those tools.
“Frankly it’s perverted thinking to even imply that a depiction of rape glorifies sex. ”
Um, yeah. No kidding. It’s all just so beyond the pale.
This is powerful and eloquent. Thank you….
Thank you, Liz. I shared the incident with my 9th grade Creative Writing class on Friday (we are writing essays about a belief we are passionate about) and read what I wrote above as an example (a first-draft example!) of the kind of thing I want them to write. I think I interested them more in reading the book than in writing the essay though. 🙂
agrees with you. This is excellent and passionate and your 9th grade Creative Writing class should be able to readily pick up on your passion. Great article. Mom