Failed Attempt at Humor or Condoning Abuse? Church Posts Video Showing Girl Being Beaten By Bat
A Baptist pastor said that a video produced to demonstrate the rules of his church’s youth group was only meant to be a light-hearted way to instruct incoming seventh graders.
Apparently though, the whole youth ministry team overlooked the fact that beating a young woman with a baseball bat in faux-punishment for talking back may have been seen not just as a joke, but as condoning abuse against women.
The campy video – which will surely win no awards for either production values or acting – was quickly taken down from the group’s Facebook page, but not before it sparked controversy about what was depicted and normalized (albeit in a slapstick way) on the screen.
“After posting this video online, several folks alerted us to a perspective that we had regrettably overlooked,” Young Adults Pastor Keith Lewis wrote in response to complaints. “These friends expressed their concern that the video demonstrated a disrespect toward women, a trivializing of abuse, a depreciation of victims, and an undermining of the edifying grace of the gospel.”
He also admitted that in retrospect, he understood why the humor might have been taken the wrong way. “While the video was certainly recorded to be more of a slap-stick spoof, we understand that our lack of discernment may have been hurtful for some and damaging to the cause of Christ,” he said, promising to supervise youth pastor Nate Utley, who appears in the video, and the youth staff more closely in the future.
Stuff Fundies Like, which monitors independent fundamental Baptist churches like Colonial Hills Baptist Church, though, claimed it is not surprised that something like this is going on in a fundamental church, especially one run by Chuck Phelps.
“Like we needed more evidence that Chuck’s leadership is so deficient that nobody has bothered to tell his own pastoral staff that simulating violence towards women isn’t really funny. At all,” the group said.
According to Lewis, Senior Pastor Phelps has not seen the video yet but would review it when he got back in town.
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