If anyone has been following church-related news, you may have heard about Mark Driscoll’s latest problem with plagiarism. Of course, if you have little to no interest in fundamentalist church politics or the behavior of Pastor Mark, then you won’t have heard about it and probably don’t care. I admit that I almost didn’t care; when isn’t Mark Driscoll doing or saying something at least minimally awful?
I started reading about Janet Mefferd’s accusations of plagiarism and the resultant fallout over at Jonathan Merritt’s site. (Go read through it for a good synopsis of the events and the timeline; also read this.) In no way am I slamming Jonathan for writing about it. I’m glad people are continuing to point out this man’s repeated offenses against the Church, the Christian faith, and humanity in general. My problem is with all the people who are then sharing Jonathan’s posts (and other posts) as though Mark Driscoll being a Supreme Ass-hat is something New and Different.
I’m concerned that people are upset and crying out for justice about the wrong one of Pastor Mark’s transgressions. Have we so quickly forgotten that this is the same man who thinks oral sex is a good evangelism tool? He’s obsessed with male sexual pleasure, but in an incredibly misogynistic and homophobic way. He’s also the guy who regularly shuns people who try to leave the electric fence of his “ministry”; attempted to “reach out” to a section of Seattle known to have a large gay population under the pretense of AIDS ministry (dear God, I should not have to explain how bigoted that is); and tweeted about “effeminate anatomically male worship leaders.” And those are just the tip of the iceberg–outlets such as Wartburg Watch, Stuff Christian Culture Likes, and Mars Hill Refuge have been pointing these things out for ages.
Every time I (or someone with more direct experience than I have) tries to talk about the damage being done, someone is quick to rush to his defense and explain how “some of what he says is beneficial!” Whether or not that’s true is debatable, but at the very least, that’s a truly ridiculous statement. Do you mean to tell me that there are no other people less brutish than Pastor Mark saying some of the same things only without the hateful overlay? If that’s the case, I question your judgment.
I’m not much on name-calling because I don’t think it’s helpful most of the time. But in this case, I’m gonna go ahead and do it (heck, even Jesus did it when the situation required it): Mark Driscoll is a complete douche. He teaches and encourages the most vile things and seems to have not one iota of compassion for actual human beings. All you people retweeting and sharing and forwarding the latest kerfuffle over his alleged plagiarism–where were you when real people told their stories of being harmed by Pastor Mark and his ministry?
Now that he’s been caught with his hand in the textual cookie jar, some of the same people eager to defend his ministry are suddenly rushing to judge him for violating the law of the land. Others–who previously apparently didn’t give a damn one way or another–are repeating the story like it’s Church Scandal of the Year. While you’re at it looking for some legal consequences, please take a few minutes to review the notes of the people who left his church. Consider those who are still deep within his cult-like ministry, desperate to escape but unsure how to do it without facing his brand of church “discipline.”
I’m tired of the influence this man has on American Christianity. It’s time we saw him for the bully he is and started looking to someone else for spiritual guidance.