Mercy all around

It’s not just the Catholic church that is more concerned to protect its own sweet self than it is to prevent child sexual abuse or help the victims of child sexual abuse.

An evangelist Christian preacher from East Sussex urged a victim of sexual abuse not to report the man responsible to the police, the BBC has learned.

Ian Jackson told Lina Barnes he would not support her if she reported that Gospel Hall Brethren preacher Allan Cundick assaulted her at the age of 12.

Mr Jackson, from Eastbourne, said he was only concerned for her progress.

But Ms Barnes, 33, who sought advice from him last year, said he wanted to protect the Church.

“Only concerned for her progress” – god that’s disgusting, not just treating her badly but also pretending to be a decent chap while doing it.

Ms Barnes, who has waived her anonymity, said: “I’d confided a lot in Ian Jackson about what I had suffered and here was this man now telling me that I just had to be merciful to my abuser, not to involve the police, and it just caused a lot of hurt, a lot of heartache.”

She added: “I believe he [Mr Jackson] didn’t want it getting out.”

Ms Barnes added: “In his email, he said to me it was important that Christians keep the testimony of the Church and therefore protect the institution.”

And not important that the institution do right by the people abused by its own employees.

Imagine if a restaurant served you food that made you sick, and then told you it was important that diners keep the testimony of the restaurant and therefore protect the institution. Sod the institution! What about the victim?

Last year, Ms Barnes told Mr Jackson she planned to report her abuser to the police.

But in an email on 24 May 2011, Mr Jackson wrote to her: “I am not prepared to give you any support in relation to the involvement of the police and court proceedings.

“I think it is a wrong decision that you have made.”

He said: “There is a better way. ‘Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.'”

So there should be no law enforcement at all, yeh? Just mercy all around, except of course for the people who get killed or beaten up or raped.


  1. GordonWillis says

    ‘Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.’

    What was that about pie in the sky?
    “he was only concerned for her progress.”

    Ah, Christian charity.
    I cannot get over the fact that people can see how corrupt the Church is and still believe in the grace of God.

  2. 'Tis Himself says

    Another godbotherer more concerned with the prestige and dignity of his church than in the welfare of his parishioners.

  3. Tâlib Alttaawiil (طالب التاويل) says

    isn’t it nice when people discredit themselves? now we’ll never again have to wonder just how loathsome this ian jackson character is.

  4. says

    Churches are like that — perhaps most institutions are — but can’t they see the damage that they do to their organisations by trying to sweep things under the rug? Had the Roman Catholic Church taken sexual and other abuse of minors seriously, and handled it correctly from the start, punishing wrongdoers with dismissal and reporting them to the police, not only would the ranks of the priesthood have been “cleansed”, the rot would not have spread to those who were involved in a cover up, which just magnified the problem and involved the institution at higher and higher levels. Had Jackson not been so concerned for the institution, and for “mercy” to an abuser, none of this would have come into such glaring light. How can leaders not see this?! What he was doing — as Randomfactor almost said — was tying a millstone round his neck, and now, he’s up to his neck in trouble. Can’t they understand that doing the right thing is not only the right thing to do, but the sensible thing too?

  5. Lumiere says

    Ah… Buh… Guh… “‘Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.’” …Exactly! Was the flipping rapist merciful? No! Do not waste mercy on the merciless.

  6. smrnda says

    I much prefer the dictum of sparing the guilty only punishes the innocent.

    I wonder how forgiving this same church would have been towards people with other offenses. I’ve read a lot in the States where anybody who gets caught up in consensual homosexual relations is OUT but where, if you molest kids, it’s all forgiveness.

    Religion is a power trip, that’s about all I can say, and this is proof of it.

  7. GordonWillis says

    Eric is right. It’s something about institutions: they go on the defensive. They worry about scandal and putting people off, and how all those distressed people are so so inconvenient. That’s why it was so hard to get D J Grothe to se…Oh never mind! But the Church is supposed to be good, and it’s full of prayer for guidance and how-to-do-things-right, and if they still can’t get even simple things right what does it say about their hotline to godalmighty? “What you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven, and what you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven”. So god (who is clearly not speaking to them) still lets them make up heaven as they go along? And christians actually want to go there…?

  8. eric says

    Eric @6 – while I agree with you and Gordon that many organizations seem to have a natural ‘deny the problem’ reflex, the RCC also has had to grapple with recruitment on top of that bias. I’m sure at least some of the senior staff are thinking, strategically, that the number of people who lose faith due to the crimes of bad priests are still less than the number of people who might jump to other sects if they had no priest at all. Sad to say, this is not just horror, its calculated horror.

  9. GordonWillis says

    Yes, but look eric (small e-), the problem of recruitment is essentially the same as the problem of conversion and of keeping the congregation. If you want to show that your organisation is specially blessed while accepting that even the top brass are only fallible human beings, the best thing you can do is to say clearly that you understand the problems that can arise and be open about them and provide adequate safeguards, and acknowledgement and restitution if and when necessary. That would be entirely consistent with their religious beliefs and it would confirm in everybody’s minds that they really are sincere and caring. But instead we seem to have the idea that the Church cannot be seen to fail in any way, implying that their message is that god grants special grace to true believers etc etc. And then they end up enmeshed in criminal cover-ups. It’s so stupid. It’s authoritarianism.

  10. says

    He said: “There is a better way. ‘Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.’”

    Pressure to forgive once again being wielded to silence the powerless.

    Eric MacDonald, authoritarians in power never admit wrong, ever. To them, it’s weakness. And it kind of is, if your goal is to obtain unquestioning obedience.

  11. GordonWillis says

    But the Church’s problems are compounded by their attitude to the sinfulness of human beings. The Church has the task of declaring god’s word unto frail flesh, and they end up beating the hell out of unmarried mothers and unruly adolescent girls and all the other young females that Catholic-conditioned Irish families can’t cope with. They have adopted a stance of the uttermost arrogance, from which they can dictate unto all men (and, perhaps especially, women) and they daren’t risk looking bad when suffering humanity finally gets its act together and starts to demand an accounting of their “cure of souls”.

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