Often, sexual abuse is characterized as occurring primarily in certain situations: blended families, families with gay members, poor households, and the like. These stereotypes are deeply hurtful. They may legitimize abuse ("Well, sure, he was abused, his uncle was gay," or "Of course, his parents had left him"). They also negate the deeply healing power a good stepfamily can have on a child. Furthermore, they make the abused children of "normal" families less likely to be believed ("Come on, your father looks like such a godly man").

Abuse happens. Period. It's not preferential of class, religion, sexual orientation, or race, and no amount of suffering and family chaos give reason to tolerate or expect abuse. As a medical student training to be an obstetrician/gynecologist, I've seen the damage of generalization at work. Well off, Christian, "normal" girls are never asked about sexual issues directly, which can victimize them again.

Fernanda Ferrer
Buenos Aires, ArgentinaJames Driskell
Clayton, Missouri

Homosexual Hysteria

Ted Olsen's commentary on Kansas v. Limon in the October 27 Weblog is unfair and unwarranted. Olsen cites the case to take a shot at the aclu and homosexual rights groups who claim that pedophilia and homosexuality are not synonymous. It is not only unchristian, but also poor journalism to use anecdotal evidence to draw conclusions about an entire group.

I, too, believe that Scripture teaches against homosexuality. However, too often, evangelicals in their opposition to homosexual behavior resort to insinuations that homosexuals are predatory against children. Let us, instead, engage in debate by sticking to biblical and theological principles, with gentleness and respect.

I would have no success introducing my homosexual friends to the transforming power of Christ by associating them with criminal perverts. Sin in sin, heterosexual or homosexual. Let us be consistent and not let hysteria about the "homosexual agenda" prod us to slander those who need God's love.

Matt Kennedy
Chicago, Illinois

Ted Olsen responds: The weblog didn't say homosexuals prey on children, but rather that homosexual rights groups are declaring victory in a statutory rape case as a victory for homosexuals. That to me is quite troubling. Even more troubling to me is how many news stories have portrayed this as a case of "gay sex" rather than rape. (The Washington Post was a notable exception.) We're talking here about an 18-year-old taking advantage of a 14-year-old. That's the story. I didn't mention that Limon has two previous offenses on his record of preying on young boys. I have as much trouble with that as with someone preying on 14-year-old girls.

At the height of the priest abuse crisis, we were told over and over again that priests who abused teenage boys were not homosexuals, but pedophiles (or, more accurately, ebophiles). We're told that the Vatican's inquiries into homosexual priests is a witch hunt and red herring, because problem priests and the gay priests aren't the same folks and have different sexual orientations. Newsday just published a column that reiterated this claim: It's inconsistent to make this claim, however, while declaring the Limon decision a victory for homosexuals.

To say that Jews and Christians are "both committed to the practice of truth" ignores the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Apart from Jesus and his Cross, forgiveness for any sin—including the sin of genocide—is impossible.

But, in the suffering and death of the crucified Christ, forgiveness for the most terrible of sins is not only possible, but is also a reality for the penitent sinner. This is the truth that separates Christianity from all other religions.

Edwin Heyne
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

Your cover picture broke my heart. Two dominant, white Americans in a sea of deliberately faded African faces, coming to the rescue. The focus of the story here should be the children of Africa, the ones who struggle to get any sustained attention to their desperate plight. All you succeeded in doing is diminishing them once again, using them as an anonymous backdrop to the "real story," the Warrens' plan to save Africa.

Could it be that Warren really believes saving Africa depends on marketing the Purpose Driven model and a couple of clever acrostics? We don't need an empire-like plan to conquer poverty that merely addresses symptoms, not causes; that offers charity without justice. We don't need more systems, models, plans, or grand entrepreneurial schemes. Christianity is, at its heart, a relationship with Jesus in community. We need to name, care for, live with, and demand justice for those who are marginalized. Sadly, the approach in your article will keep them marginalized.

Rev. Jeremy M. Basset
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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