As we continue to fight for justice for Grant Solomon, his sister Gracie, and his mother Angie, we want to focus momentarily on the appalling conduct of Grace Chapel Church. In a nutshell, the church’s behavior has been a shocking example of how Christians and the church should not behave when confronting allegations of abuse. Indeed, it’s a stunning reflection of what love does not look like.
We’ve already covered our belief that the church is lying when it says that Grant visited his pastor before his death to discuss how to get closer to Jesus.
If nothing else, the church’s contention is nonsensical. If you have the sort of home life Grant allegedly had with his father, getting closer to Jesus will not be at the top of your list.
Nor is the church coming clean about its behavior. Thus, it is unrepentant, and if the church cannot tell the truth when it comes to protecting children, what good is it?
If nothing else, the church must admit its misfeasance, malfeasance, and nonfeasance in this situation.
And if the church thinks this publication, or others, will get bored and move on, it’s living in a state of fantasy. Staff at Anglican Watch has endured plenty of suffering thanks to corrupt churches, and we will not sit silently and let it happen to others. Nor will we be intimidated. Don’t even try.
That’s particularly the case when a friendly, loyal, determined friend and advocate like Grant has lost his life in circumstances that strongly suggest his father killed him. Serving as advocates for him and his mother and sister is the least we can do, and anyone who knows our staff knows we are fierce friends — even when, as is often the case, we are stretched thin.
The church’s reaction to the events following Grant’s death is even worse.
Instead of stepping up to the plate to protect the vulnerable, including Grant’s mother and sister, the church shunned and excluded Gracie and Angie.
That is the antithesis of the gospels, and by the church’s own statement, Angie’s husband is not a member. So why would you take the side of a non-member versus a member?
Indeed, the days after Grant’s death were the time for the church to shelter and protect Angie and Gracie, to offer them radical love, and to push for justice.
But the church has done the exact opposite.
And speaking of pushing for justice, the church has tried to shut down calls for justice via threats of litigation. Has the church not read the gospels and the call for Christians not to take each other to court?
Yes, we get that, arguably, one or more persons who received cease and desist letters from the church are not Christian. But who appointed the church to make that judgment call? And what about the obligation to resist injustice and oppression? If Grace Chapel were standing up for the vulnerable, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
And given that this publication, and others, are calling on Grace Chapel church to act with integrity, this is a situation in which the church should seek to understand our concerns versus threatening people to shut down that conversation.
As for attorney Crain’s threats to sue a fellow blogger, all we can say is Crain may understand the law. But when it comes to reputation management, he is clueless.
Threatening to sue a blogger brings immediately draws other bloggers and publications into the fray, creates further reputational damage for the church, and makes us more determined than ever to fight back against church bullies.
And yes, Grace Chapel occupies the role of bully in this matter. Nor has the church retracted its foolish and childish threats.
If the church wants actually to act like Christians, it needs to do the following:
- Tell the truth.
- Repudiate its threats against bloggers.
- Call for a full, fair, independent investigation of Grant’s death and the alleged abuse involving Aaron Solomon. Indeed, if there’s nothing to hide, the fastest way to shut down critics is to conduct a credible investigation demonstrating that Grant’s death was an accident. So what’s the issue? Doesn’t the Bible say, “Then you shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”?
- Publicly repudiate the shunning and ostracism directed at Angie and Gracie. And for the record, if they never want to hear from Grace Chapel again, that doesn’t change things. We wouldn’t blame them if they never wanted to hear from the church again. But the church is still called to be accountable, particularly when, as here, it’s piled on to hurt those in need of its love.
- And for heaven’s sake, quit referring to Aaron as “buddy.” This is a guy whom local officials, including a guardian ad litem, have concluded abused his wife and children. And for the record, only about 5 percent of child sexual abuse complaints are false—so why would Gracie go public with a video of these sorts of allegations? If nothing else, it is a humiliating thing to have to say. And why would Grant beg school officials to protect his sister? Nor do we believe Aaron’s claims about Grant’s death are truthful. Yet again, we want to make clear: Grant was NOT dragged to his death. As for Aaron and his suing people for defamation, we say this: Truth is a (near) absolute defense. A well-represented defendant can readily provide testimony that Aaron’s version of events simply isn’t credible. So don’t even go there.
In closing, anyone wanting to see how thoroughly ethically broken Grace Chapel is can check out the letter from its attorney below. And again, we remind all involved we are not going away. We — and many others — will keep after this issue until justice is done.