IICSA

Peter Ball, Vicky Beeching, and Lizzy Lowe: lessons about abusive Christianity

Peter Ball, Vicky Beeching, and Lizzy Lowe: lessons about abusive Christianity

Bishop Peter Ball is gay, closeted, repressed sexuality, secretive, spiritual, and sexually, emotionally, and relationally deeply damaged, damaged, I will argue, by his Christian environment, as the IICSA Hearings laid bare.

Vicky Beeching has been and is being damaged by Christians in her environment as recounted in Undivided: Coming out, becoming whole and living free from shame. Her body system and health have been acutely damaged, emotionally and physically. So were many of the victims of Peter Ball.

Lizzie Lowe committed suicide aged 14 in September 2014. She thought she may be a lesbian, was scared of telling her parents and had struggled to reconcile her feelings with the family's strong Christian faith.

What is the first cause of the damage which so deeply affected Peter Ball, Vicky Beeching, and Lizzie Lowe? It is misguided Christian teaching and practice; abusive use of the Bible, of authority, and a seriously inadequate understanding of Jesus and his teaching.

Evidence of shockingly prejudiced attitudes to LGBTI+ people in the Church of England

Evidence of shockingly prejudiced attitudes to LGBTI+ people in the Church of England

The evidence of the effects of Christian teaching that is hostile to the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in the life and ministry of the Church of England is mounting. The evidence reveals a toxic environment in the Church of England leading to examples of extreme prejudice, abuse and homophobia. The evidence can be found in the tragic suicide of Lizzie Lowe, Jayne Ozanne’s and Vikky Beeching’s memoirs, the IICSA hearings into the Diocese of Chichester and the recent IICSA hearings into the way church leaders, most notably Archbishop George Carey, dealt with the survivors of abuse by Bishop Peter Ball. With one or two exceptions the bishops of the Church of England still do not get how shocking is the level of abuse against LGBTI people in church.

Self-examination and self-knowledge – missing essentials from the IICSA hearings

Self-examination and self-knowledge – missing essentials from the IICSA hearings

Last Friday the Church Times published a number of articles reflecting on the three weeks of hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) which focused on the Church of England in general and the diocese of Chichester in particular. Linda Woodhead named inadequate theologies as being part of the problem. She noted that everyone who spoke at the hearings agreed that procedural and structural change was insufficient without a change of culture, but none of them drew the obvious conclusion that this must include theology. There is a second critical element that is part of the problem, which again, no one seems to have identified at the hearings. The lack of interior awareness, a failure by the abuser to be conscious that what they are doing is abusive, is a fundamental reason for abusive activity.