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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Bullying Occurs in Churches, Too

    Here's one you probably don't think of...but it does exist. (It probably happens in the Jewish, Islam, Hindu, etc community as well--not just at Christian churches).

    I've seen a ton of bullying at churches...not just kids to kids, but also adults.

    Here are some examples (names of people changed to aliases):

    1. At Junior Church (a program many churches have during the services where the kids leave before the sermon and learn about Jesus through activities), "Leonardo" was constantly teased by "Raphael" because he liked to read, liked to draw, and never had a bad word for anyone. He also despised "Leonardo"'s ability to relate everything to literature he had read. "Raphael" was a third grader, "Leonardo" was a first grader who was extremely bright for his age (he was reading middle school level books already) and was also quite the sensitive child (he had a nearly absent father figure and was raised by his mother; he was also an only child). "Leonardo" stopped going to Junior Church because he felt, to use his words, "it's not how Jesus would have wanted it". Ironically, "Leonardo" and "Raphael" were together at a camp at a later date and became friends.

    2. At a Sunday School class for middle schoolers, "Donatello" was put down and called a "dork" by "Michaelangelo". When the teacher had asked the class for suggestions on conduct, "Donatello" had suggested not using the Lord's name in vain and to refrain from swearing in general. "Michaelangelo" said that "only nerds go without swearing". "Donatello" argued back by saying that it was against God's Commandments. "Michaelangelo" not only continued to tease him throughout the day, he also carried it over into school (they were classmates). "Donatello" only returned to Sunday School when he was required to (for Confirmation Class), and even then had only four people he could trust there--everyone else sided with "Michaelangelo" and picked on him, especially at church. "Donatello" never went to youth group or any church events because he was afraid he'd be bullied even further.

    3. At church summer camp, "Casey" came into camp as a sensitive boy who wanted to learn about Jesus and also play hockey as an elective. His mother had also hoped he'd make a few new friends--he was a relatively quiet boy. He was placed in a group led by "Splinter", a college student, and "April", a high school student. Both were extremely nice to him and would always be able to calm him down if he needed it. "Splinter" in particular was excellent, as he was quite sensitive as a child and had been in "Casey"'s shoes before. He even would take him aside when he needed someone to talk to. "Casey" was sometimes bullied by other counselors. However, the worst bullying came from the camp director, "Shredder" (an adult). "Shredder" didn't bully "Casey" directly, but did say bad things about some campers behind their backs and really came down hard on "Splinter", who she accused of not doing his job--a completely unjustified statement, as he went above and beyond (he even got letters from the parents about how good he was). "Splinter" wasn't invited back to be a counselor this year, sadly enough. "Shredder" doesn't even look at "Splinter" when he comes to church. It's really pathetic that an adult who runs a camp for kids bullies the counselors simply because they aren't the same personality type as her and because they take some time out of their schedules to help the kids who need it.

    Any thoughts on this? Anything at YOUR churches?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Springfield, MO
    Oh oh! I have a lot to contribute to this one!!! It will tie in with some other hot topics. For privacy, I'll be changing some names here, and even admitting to my own guilt in one situation.

    In 1991 and early 1992, I lived in Astown and attended junior high there. There was a severe flu epidemic that year, and for about a month in various classes we had "Mr. B" as a substitute teacher. Although he was friendly, my friend Jimmy and I felt that there was something just very strange and unsettling about him. Mr. B subbed for about two weeks in my English class. There were only about 5 of us present. The boys were always called in for answers and excused to use the restroom. Girls were not. I mentioned it to my hohum parents.

    A couple of months later we moved to another town and there was a small church that I began to attend. Mr. B was the preacher at the church. It became QUITE obvious to me as well as others who would say nothing aloud, that he favored the boys over the girls. Most of the teens and pre-teens that attended church attended in the absence of their parents.

    When it came to youth activities, he would always help the boys financially or by giving them rides. He snubbed the girls. When it came town for the annual missionary trip to Mexico, with the exception of his own daughter, he treated the girls QUITE poorly. I had already been on other missionary trips. The boys just had to sign up and pay a fee. I was forced to write a 3 page essay on why I felt that I should be allowed to participate and why I wanted to contribute. A few months later during one of the Sunday school classes one of the boys hit me in the eye with the sharp end of a pencil. Adults were right there. They saw, and they said NOTHING.

    I was devout right up until that point. A short time later, I slammed that boy up against the wall. He hit me and kicked me until he kicked an ankle where I already had a large amount of physical damage. I let him go, and limped off to the adult class area where there was a freezer to get some ice. I got yelled at and was told to leave.

    The preacher didn't care at all what the boy had done or what went on. I limped all the way home. My mother had a several hour long talk in private with the youth minister later that night and I never went back to service there. A few months later it was discovered that the preacher had molested at least one boy, made sexual advances at the previous youth minister, and is believed to have molested/advanced on other boys.

    A few years later I began to attend a different church. The minister there was great, but certain members of his congregation left much to be desired. One of them bullied me a LOT outside of the adult eye and at school. He stole things from me and called me names, but that was the extent of it. Although our denomination had no reserves against women wearing pants, I recieved a lot of nasty glances and whispers whenever I arrived in dress slacks and a blouse. There were entire families and extended families that attended and there seemed to be cliques. When I was baptized, no one would come speak for me and pray as if I were a leper. I stopped attending a short time after that. To this day, only ONE member of that church asides from the minister will speak to me. I was 12-14 years old when all of that happened.

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