Since the Josh Duggar molestation scandal broke, the Christian Right has shown just how immoral the “family values crowd really is. They have actively defended a pedophile and the people who helped cover up his crimes. Well, as it turns out, you don’t need to be a famous Christian warrior like Josh Duggar to be defended in the face of admitted child molestation.
In one Dallas, Texas area megachurch, not only are people who commit such heinous crimes defended and offered a path to repentance, those hurt most by their sick and criminal behavior are placed under “church discipline” for wanting the criminals out of their lives. The Village Church has around 11,000 followers, and its pastor, Matt Chandler, gets to decide what is right for the lives of the members of his mighty Southern Baptist empire. If you don’t comply with his wishes, you will be publicly humiliated.
This is what happened to Karen Hinkely (formerly Karen Root), who wanted to divorce her husband once she found out that he is into kiddie porn. Now, most people would think that divorce is a reasonable option for a woman who discovers something like that about her husband, but not Matt Chandler. Instead of supporting Karen, he instead chose to send a letter all 11,000 members of his church detailing the situation and placing her under “church discipline” for not standing by her pedophile husband.
At the time of the discovery of her husband Jordan Root’s penchant for kiddie diddling, Karen says her world was turned upside down:
The discovery of Jordan’s pedophilia and use of child pornography was an indescribable shock and triggered a thorough upheaval of every aspect of my life.
Karen and Jordan, had, at the time, been doing Christian missionary work in South Asia. Upon the discovery of Jordan’s criminal activity, The Village Church brought them back home to Dallas, and decided to give Jordan a path to so-called “repentance.”
Karen, of course, like any reasonable woman, wanted nothing to do with the man she had married, and filed for an annulment of the marriage four weeks after returning home. This wasn’t good enough for the church, though, which led to the aforementioned “discipline” and humiliating letter. As if this wasn’t enough, the church refused to allow Karen to resign from membership at The Village Church:
Karen’s decision to pursue immediate annulment, to decline any attempt of reconciliation, to disregard her Membership Covenant and pastoral counsel, and to break fellowship with the body has led her into formal church discipline. While members in good standing are free to leave the church and seek membership elsewhere, those in the disciplinary process have covenanted to see that process through before leaving the church. Because of this, we have attempted to fulfill our biblical commitment to love and care for her according to the Membership Covenant she affirmed and subsequently renewed on multiple occasions.
These people are insane. Do they really think they can hold a woman hostage in their church? This Matt Chandler and his elders are nothing more than a cult, as I am finding many Christian churches are. They have complete and utter control of the minds and lives of roughly 11,000 people. Considering the insane action that was taken in this case, and their wish for a woman to stay married to an admitted pedophile, I’d say that’s a very frightening thing. If they approve of forcing a woman to stay married to a pedophile rather than seeking divorce and legal justice, one has to wonder just how many predators are being harbored there, and how many victims are suffering in silence.
Karen says of the situation and her need to remove herself from both her now ex-husband as well as The Village Church:
Jordan’s admitted pedophilia and use of child pornography over many years is no small thing. The child pornography industry relies on the exploitation and abuse of children and their bodies, and the use of child pornography harms children by driving the demand for more. What is even more disturbing than his use of child pornography is that throughout the duration of these years, Jordan sought and gained access to a large number of children, many of whom represent some of the most vulnerable populations of children in our society. His ability to successfully manipulate others is evidenced by the complete trust that was placed in him by many parents, companies, churches, and organizations over the course of these years. It is my sincere hope that Jordan has not sexually abused any children, but I believe the circumstances warrant his exposure so that any victims who might be out there can be identified and given an opportunity for justice and healing.
Karen is right, of course. I’d be willing to bet that in a situation like this, especially in this insular church community, there are many victims that have suffered at Jordan’s hand. Hopefully they will come forward.
Luckily, the State of Texas granted her an annulment of her marriage to Jordan Root, what The Village Church wants be damned. She seems to be on the path to healing herself, and I hope that continues. Further, hopefully, Jordan Root is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and this crazy action taken against Karen by Matt Chandler and his cult of a church makes more members wake up and abandon the place.
Featured image: Matt Chandler giving sermon via screen capture via Matthew Paul Turner