Thursday 31 March 2011

Thought Picnic: The hold of that thing that brings grief

The man

It is with sadness that one reports the news that a respected guiding light and a father figure, someone who had assumed a fatherly influence over others finds himself sent to jail [1] for 8 months for offences of the flesh.

Before I begin to sound sanctimonious, it is important to address some serious matters that people in similar circumstances will do well to take heed off.

The said religious leader who has a very respectable following as well as the commendation of his peers that he sits on boards of their organisations in the UK and abroad has lived with that thing that he has battled with years.

The struggle

He might have hoped to insulate himself by aversion therapy by being married, having children and building an institution that thrives on the promotion of family values and some apparently succeed.

It however does not mean that thing is in volcanology terms extinct, in his case, it was dormant and occasion presented itself for the mountain to rumble, maybe the earth did move and one cannot say for sure if the volcano itself did become active, but you do get the idea that I do not have to develop the analogy any further before this blog needs to be rated.

A volcano remains a volcano whatever state it might be in, one might expect over time certain circumstances might allow for the awesomeness of the volcano to exhibit itself.

It would appear that the man succumbed at various times to his weakness and might have by reason of his office and leadership imposed himself on others who could not effectively resist his advances and he sought his inordinate pleasures.

The abuses

Now, there is nothing wrong with adults seeking the pleasure and company of each other for sexual satisfaction, it is then a matter of consent and willingness – we should not as adults be ashamed to be engaged in things that adults do consensually amongst themselves, that is why we are adults.

Adults however have responsibilities, they have authority, they could be role models and they might be looked upon for guidance by trusting non-adults.

In this case, an adolescent was fondled and it appears that experience completely traumatised him that it seemed to affect many productive spheres of his young life.

In the other case, a man though under the authority of this man appears to have been persistently inappropriately touched in what was a classic situation of a breach of trust.

It would appear the man had form since there were eight allegations in all and not all those affected were persuaded enough to give their statements to the police.

That thing

It goes without saying that “that thing” despite the case of being violated carries a stigma in a community that is willingly illiberal, stridently intolerant and scripturally schooled in vile homophobia.

The fact is people do struggle with their sexuality and many more than we all care to acknowledge, some suppress their urges but my volcanology analogy should be kept in mind; some find some expression for it living double lives on the “down-low”; others embrace their lot and get on with their lives; that is a fact of life.

What cannot be condoned and hence making this sad story a case of justice is where people try to find expression secretly by the abuse of minors and hope that the weight of their office will keep the act concealed.

Who we are

There is in fact no substitute to just being who you are, accepting who you are and dealing with it; a failure to accept who you are would almost always bring you to grief with grave and possibly shameful consequences.

What could have been could have been different – it does not make the ministry of the man to the time of his accusation any less valid and of value to those who enjoyed his spiritual guidance and tutelage.

At the end of this sorry saga, a man of God is first a man with all his weaknesses then of God seeking strength to help manage his frailties.

It would be a test of Christian love for the church to help rehabilitate the victims and be ready to welcome back their leader when his time is done; that test, many a church has failed.

The hold of “that thing” continues to have its hold and it does not necessarily have to be homosexuality, everyone has something that is “that thing” to them – we are only human.


[1] Evangelical pastor Odulele sentenced for sex offences - Channel 4 News

Other references

About Glory House

The UK: Child Sexual Abuse in Nigerian Communities

Thought Picnic: Debunking the myth of the man of God

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