Somebody Has to Die

This morning I heard the story of a man who, in the 60s, offered to pay the poll tax so poor blacks could vote. If you don’t know how this ended for him, you have no knowledge of the Civil Rights Movement.

His home was firebombed in the middle of the night. His wife and children were in the house with him at the time. His 10yo daughter was severely burned. He was burned so badly he died in hospital.

His wife said something that sounds ignorant, but is actually what we all like to believe, “We never thought they’d go after the children.”

See, the man knew he was setting himself up to be murdered. He did not make his offer in ignorance of that fact, but he, like the rest of those of us who refuse to understand evil, thought that the KKK would never do something like that to children.

Forget the facts to the contrary. We just don’t want to acknowledge how evil evil really is.

Earlier this month, police allege, Keith Kroeker beat his wife’s head in with a blunt instrument, then killed each of his three children by lethally shooting them before he set their home and outer buildings and, like the coward he was, turned the gun on himself.

In September, Nasir Saddique killed his wife and 19yo son before committing suicide.

In August, Mark Short murdered his wife, three young children, and the family dog before killing himself.

While we do not know the leading events for the first two mentioned, we know for a fact that Megan Short had already made solid arrangements to leave her husband.

The day the wife leaves her abuser, is the day she and her children are most likely to be murdered.

The list is long. Google it if you’re brave. Women and children murdered by their partner and father. A long tale of hidden or not hidden abuse. An even longer tale of the church turning a blind eye, allowing abuse to continue, reinforcing the rights of the abuser and the selfishness of the victim. (If your church is one that preaches against abuse, please send me a link to the sermon…I’ll be collecting dust here as I await your response.)

As we approach the MLK, Jr holiday, we think about the way people fought to be treated equally, how they fought to be able to vote. I hope we also think about all the people murdered both before, during, and since simply because they were black, or because they supported an end to segregation and stood against racist government policies. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed for this cause.

Which of the 4,000 women murdered by their partner this year will ever get a holiday in her name? Which will ever be honored? None. We simply don’t care that 4,000 women will be murdered this year by their partner. I mean, why should we?

When I was speaking to several women at church regarding the case of Megan Short, I was appalled to discover that these women blamed Megan Short for her own murder.

“Well, she shouldn’t have told him she was leaving,” was their collective response. And every time I’m even tempted to return to church, those conversations replay in my mind. Church is not a safe place for abused women.

Case in point…

The church will be holding a joint service for the Kroekers. A celebration of their lives. This man murdered his wife by beating her skull in. Do you know how much force that requires? Then he shot each of his own children. And the church will honor him. What does this tell other women? This tells them that we don’t fucking care about them. Abused? Who gives a damn. Not the church.

Abused women and children suffer in silence in the church. Shamed each and every week by sermons and teachings telling them to be more loving and that any thought of leaving their abuser is a sign of how pathetically selfish they are.

Blacks were so often told that they should just sit down and be quiet, then life would be better for them. Not sure how people figured that, but it’s the usual stance the church makes against any sort of victim. Your suffering is your own fault. If you would submit in faith God will miraculously save you.

4,000 women. That’s not counting the children.

But why should the church care? Why should the church speak out? If these women had just “turned to Jesus” in the “right way,” this never would have happened to them.

4,000 women. Which one do you even care about? Which murder will you prevent by speaking out and empowering and giving help?

The church has collectively answered “none.”

The church is never going to change, because all of us are too happy with our situations to give a damn about women who are suffering.

4,000 women and most of their children will be murdered this year and we will remain silent because we don’t believe, despite all the facts to the contrary, that anyone is that evil.

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