by David Fortwengler
Many adult survivors of clergy sexual abuse struggle to find a sanctuary on Sunday mornings where they can be inspired and welcomed into a caring community. Anyone betrayed by a faith institution is welcome to join us as we strive to lead compassionate, caring, and gratitude filled lives.
Inspired by the recent NFL draft, I am using the tried and true system of ordered selection to assemble a starting roster for my new endeavor, the “Un-Church.” Pro football teams each year are given seven picks to select players who will fit their needs to be successful as a group. Here are my picks!
1. Angela Shelton I have been privileged to hear Angela speak twice at national SNAP conventions. (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) She is herself a victim of sex crimes when she was a child, but her ability to be a thriver, survivor, and inspiration to others earns her the first selection in my draft. She is a filmmaker, actress, model, writer, comedienne, cook and Superhero. Everything she does is a vehicle to help others heal from trauma and to inspire and empower them to lead joyful, healthy lives. She tells people to stop hurting children. She represents everything I want this community to be about. An added bonus, she is willing to work on Sundays! She does a live web cast every Sunday. You can find the link on her website.
2. Bill and Melinda Gates I am not making this pick in an attempt to tap into the considerable resources of the Gates Foundation. I want them as members to help guide us in using our own personal resources with efficiency and wisdom. Health and happiness is enhanced by pursuing global efforts to end poverty, and by providing health care and education to the less fortunate. Charitable efforts are a human pursuit, not a religious one.
3. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Everyone knows some good tunes on Sunday morning will inspire and increase attendance. Instead of the Vienna Boys Choir or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir we are going to have a real old time revival. We will feature Bruce and the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-shaking, booty-quaking, Viagra-taking, love-making, and legendary E Street Band. I dare you to keep still during a performance of “Glory Days.”
4. President Obama and his family This is a man who understands the disappointment of being betrayed by a religious figure. (Remember Rev. Jeremiah Wright) The President will be welcomed to the Un-church without being judged, having his faith scrutinized, or being linked to the opinions of its members. He also won’t have to worry about us forming a lobby group seeking a White House appointment to tell him what God thinks.
5. Cast and crew of “Deal or No Deal” Fund raising is important to every organization but Bingo Night is getting old. We will use one of the most successful game show formats of all time and invite Howie Mandel and the cast to join. The “Banker” will be glad to know all proceeds are going to good causes. An added bonus is the cast includes up to 26 models, good for attendance.
6. Roger Goodell Mr. Goodell is the current commissioner of the NFL. He is known for his management skills and for his strict enforcement of the league’s conduct policy. Ben Roethlisberger, a football player, was recently suspended six games for sexual misconduct even though he wasn’t indicted or convicted. Goodell will not be like catholic bishops and have a moral dilemma when it comes to crimes against children. Also, during football season many fans don’t attend Sunday services so they can watch their favorite teams. Roger can hook us up with a satellite dish, the NFL Network, and a big screen TV. Let the games begin.
7. David Hains Mr. Hains is the public relations person for the catholic Diocese of Charlotte. Most catholic churches would draft a pr person much earlier because they are often the most valuable players. They believe that denying, minimizing, and excusing catholic hierarchy gross negligence will somehow restore moral credibility to the church. I have no intention of keeping Mr. Hains on the team. I just want to run him ragged during training camp and then cut him before opening day.
P.S. UN members and Unicorns are also welcome.