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Franklin Graham Encourages Woman to Take Abuser Back

Franklin Graham
Source: Wikipedia

Go back to your abuser? Patch things up? Stop “embarrassing him” with your story?

The Reconciliation Industrial Complex is in the news this week.

North Carolinian televangelist, Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) was featured in the Washington Post yesterday for his awesome marriage counseling skills. If you’re not familiar with Graham, when he’s not encouraging women to take back wife beaters, grifts from two charities, hates gays, and loves Vladimir Putin. Just what you want in a Christian therapist.

To recap: A few years ago Graham befriended an Iranian Christian minister’s wife, Naghmeh Panahi, whose husband Saeed Abedini was imprisoned in Iran. She was working to free him, Graham raised their profile profited off them via fundraising.

One snag, Abedini beat the living shit out of her on a regular basis. She kept the secret, but finally realized her faith in Jesus, and being a punching bag for a fuckwit, did not jive. She got therapy. She spoke out in Christian circles about what happened. And she got a protective order.

Franklin Graham encouraged her to take him back. His Jesus is okay with beating women.

The Washington Post reports:

According to the recording, Graham said the marriage could “be fixed easily,” and he seemed to dismiss the severity of her abuse. “I’m not here to defend him calling you bad names, yelling at you, whatever,” he said.

“Beating me,” Panahi interjected.

Graham told her that abuse is a “gray area,” that an abusive husband was someone who “comes home and he takes a six-pack of beer and he jumps off the chair because the kids are making noise and beats his wife and beats the kids and that’s something that goes on almost every day.”

And that was not her situation, Graham told her, because he felt an abusive husband was someone who “stomped” on his wife every night.

“I was beaten,” she replied.

Graham again urged her to speak with Abedini, complaining that they hadn’t met for lunch or dinner. But he dismissed the idea of abuse counselors. “You could get some godless psychiatrist,” he said.


“I’m not saying that Saeed is not guilty of abuse,” Graham wrote to Panahi on Jan. 23, 2016, the week after Abedini’s release. “I am sure he is guilty of much more. The problem is you exposed him publicly to the whole world and embarrassed him. You did this while he was still in prison, a place where he could not defend himself or to speak about these issues.”

He insisted the couple reunite at his retreat center outside Asheville, N.C.

It’s Not What He Did, It’s Your Reaction To It. The RIC’s favorite hymn.

Within a week of the failed reunion, Panahi said, Graham flew Abedini to Boise on a private jet, a trip she learned about only that day when a reporter called her. She rushed to a courthouse and was granted a protection order. When Abedini arrived, she and her mother met him with the couple’s two children, who had not seen their father in three years.

Then she handed over a copy of the order. Abedini left without speaking to her.

Graham told The Post his goal was to “reconcile the differences in their marriage” and that he didn’t pressure her. He called Panahi “a dishonest woman” and “disappointing.”

Beating women? Not disappointing. Talking about it? Disappointing!

Did Abedini change? Did Graham’s thoughts and prayers make the abuser stop abusing?

That May after a protection order had expired, Panahi said, during a visit with the children, Abedini grabbed their 8-year-old son by the neck when the boy didn’t clean up a water spill; Panahi took her son to a hospital, where he was put in a neck brace. A district court judge in Boise granted an emergency protection order and ordered a child-protection investigation, according to a transcript of the couple’s divorce proceedings. The findings of that investigation are not public because it involved a minor.

Abedini didn’t do his therapy homework either. Disappointing?

Nah. Graham asked Panahi if she was cheating on him. Because we can’t do this DARVO shit without asking chumps that question.

No. She wasn’t abusing HIM. She was talking about his abuse, and not taking it anymore.

Rev. Graham, perhaps you need to meditate on that. Go on a long ranch retreat in Asheville and boil your head.

For Jesus.

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  • If a giant ad is eating your post, I have a call into the ad network about that. Ugh…

    • CL, the ads are becoming more and more invasive. I feel like I enter a labyrinth every time I try to read the blog and/or post… so many x’s to wait on so I can click through. But they seem to be growing exponentially (side note: I’m a patreon payor — totally understand why ads are there and happy to pay in for this awesome content)

      • Thanks. It’s a work in progress. I need to move over to block editing in WordPress, but with everything else going on, I’ve put it off. I might be able to control the placement better. But every time I think I’ve worked out a solution, it goes bonkers. I think part of it is the network sells space and it’s up to the ad to behave. And you have to report the ones that don’t. All very gah. Need to do a deeper dive into it. As a full-time CL and freelancer now, alas, I do need this place to pay for itself and me.

        • I don’t ever have ad issues but I use duck duck go for my browser. Just a suggestion

        • Im not having trouble with the ads. Really grateful for your site. Max the ads! Get all you income you need. We need you!

        • Patreon supporter also. My experience is that the ads are pretty nonstop on my iPhone (Safari) and that if you close one, another pops up. They can also hinder the ability to reply. Sadly I’ve typed out several responses on my phone only to have an ad pop up and then when I click the x my entire text disappears ???? It is much better on the desktop Mac.

          • It’s helpful to write a response in your notes, then copy and paste it into the reply. Easier to do corrections that way too.
            The adds have not been a huge issue from my end, I haven’t had to X out of them, just scroll past them and keep reading the blog.

      • I’m a Patreoner as well, but the ads aren’t a problem for me, just a couple of clicks on the x’s and they’re gone. Is everybody having a different experience? (I read CL on my phone, not my PC).

        • I read CL on my phone and the ads are non-stop. Clicking the X on one immediately brings up another. I had wondered if Patreon donors avoid ads. I can’t contribute yet since I’m still lining up ducks on the down low, but looking forward to doing so!

    • I don’t know how ads work or anything but for me it’s not bad at all on my laptop (I use a mac, have no idea if that makes a difference) but it’s difficult on my phone. I’ve had to reload the page on my phone multiple times just to be able to read it. I don’t mind the ads though, it just is sometimes hard to read on my phone due to them. I hope that’s helpful.

    • I use the web browser Duck Duck Go and I do not have the problem with the ads. Just an FYI.

  • Religious abusers & cheaters & their apologists who whip out their religious artifacts God, Jesus & the Bible whenever it’s convenient for them = cult level mindfuckery used on vulnerable people. Sickening on a whole other level.

  • What a horrible excuse for a man and scourge on the public. I’m willing to bet real money that little Frankie there is a cheater and abuser himself, seeing that he likes to rush to that defense so freaking fast. I hope the tax gods mail him.

    • I think that’s the general axiom for enablers on that level. I prosecuted a workplace stalker and literally every one of his male defenders (and one of his female defenders) were raised by abusers and were violently abusive in their own rights. One part of that story is funny though. One of the stalker’s flying monkeys at work had a really tall, big boned Scandinavian girlfriend– probably about six foot one. A few days after that flying monkey boy hissed behind my back that they (flying monkey cabal) should “pour red ink” on my back to help me “frame men,” the flying monkey dude showed up at work with a giant black eye.

      Prior to this I never really thought much of the girlfriend. She knew I was prosecuting her boyfriend’s friend and never said a thing about it. She never said anything interesting in general and just seemed like part of the influx of half-mute, shark-eyed Scandie hustlers who flooded LA at the time trading on towering exotic blondness for rich H’wood benefactors– married or not. It really was a thing in the late nineties. But when I passed by her around that time on the way to work, she gave me a big conspiratorial smile and winked. I caught the gist immediately: flying monkey boy got so het up and pumped defending a stalker that he started getting aggressive with his girlfriend and she clocked him. Don’t fuck with the Vikings. Being a Finn myself (but not a hustler), I can attest. I’m no street fighter but I have other ways of fucking people up who seriously mess with me. 🙂

    • Yes. I read this yesterday and had a visceral reaction but could never have come up with an explanation of what fucking bullshit it all was as well as CL did.

      Im wondering how many beatings Franklin would need to recognize that it is wrong and needed to be avoided. His privileged stupid ass self annoys me. Long ago, I gave a few dollars to one of his charities until I learned how much money he skimmed off the top: $880,000.

  • I’m glad the UBT was spared from this one. Recovery from septic shock is rare. Filthy men.

  • The problem is you exposed him publicly to the whole world and embarrassed him.

    uh huh.

    a brief quote by Margaret Atwood:
    “‘why do men feel threatened by women?’ i asked a male friend of mine.
    “‘they are afraid women will laugh at them’, he said, ‘undercut their world view.’
    “then I asked some women students, ‘why do women feel threatened by men?’ “‘they are afraid of being killed,’ they said.”

  • “The problem is you exposed him publicly to the whole world and embarrassed him.””

    This one sentence sums up how these FWs & their enablers think: The problem isn’t HIS abuse (or cheating or lying or whatever), it’s being “exposed” and “embarrassed.” There is no shame, remorse, or guilt for the harm they have caused others, just concern about their own image management.

    • That’s it exactly. And the enablers derive some benefit from the relationship continuing. In Graham’s case, I suspect it’s not just his world view, but that he fundraises off the whole Christian-persecuted-in-Godless-country thing.

      • And uppity women, gays, and trans people are the godless to be feared, not those that rage with guns and ammo. I’m mostly atheist and yet I truly believe Jesus weeps with the hypocrisy.

        • I know this is not a good source to quote from, but it is a kind of truth to me (from dark, evil people can come truth?????‍♂️). From “Hannah and Her Sisters,” by Woody Allen, Max Von Sydow’s college art professor character says something like, “If Jesus saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.” That’s what pops into my head when these “Christian” types (especially evangelical leaders) espouse this shit. That, and from Frank Miller’s classic reimagining of Batman in The Dark Knight (which spurred the revival of Batman from the 80’s forward), he has a small, awful side character throughout the series who at one point is being interviewed for some news organization, who again, says something like, “What’s that? Yes, I’m a Christian! But I have the decency to keep it in church.” God forbid these types should actually act like a good Christian outside of a church. The amount of disconnect…????‍♂️ Sorry. That’s where my mind wanted to go, it seems. I hope Panahi finds a way to stay away from her asshole, abusive ex-husband (I hope he’s her XH)!), and keep her kids safe too from an abusive father. Nobody good deserves to have to deal w/that shit.????

      • Interesting that they consider any country whose citizens are not primarily Christian “Godless”.
        I believe the percentage of people who identify as Christian in the US is lower than the percentage of Iranian people who identify as Muslim.
        Both religions have one God, and the precepts are similar to one another.
        So why is one considered “Godless”?
        Because it’s not the “right” God?

        • The Jesuits believe that each person’s image of God is basically their own father so I feel a bit bad for people who believe in a petty, jealous, narcissistic God who can tolerate no other form of belief.

    • Impression management is strong with both the FWs and their APs. My xFW told God-knows-how-many people about his “amazing” AP while devaluing me (I found a few), but God forbid I say ANYTHING remotely negative about him. He wanted to know who I told so he could tell “his side” of the story. None of his business, since he didn’t extend that courtesy to me. The AP was beside herself with anxiety that I might reveal her seamy little proclivities. Apparently, it is OK for them to spin their story to whomever will listen, but I am not allowed to tell MY truth of being an abuse victim at their hands.

      Unfortunately, typical.

      That somebody like the a$$hat in the article would even suggest a spouse take an abusive partner back makes them complicit in further abuse. She should sue.

      • Your situation and their situation are not comparable, that’s why. Because it was all your fault.

      • LOL. On D-day, FW broke with the AP by text and phone. On finding out that unnamed coworkers had blown the whistle on the affair, she kept bawling and screaming “I’m not THAT woman!!” Forget the traumatized minor children involved, she was solely focused on word getting out that she humps drunken old married bosses in parking lots. #NarcyMcNarcNarc

  • This story is old news amongst those following abuse in Christian circles. I do not know why it took so long to hit the national press. I am guessing they wanted to doubly confirm all the facts and avoid lawsuits by these political heavy hitters. There is a lot more damning material that was left out of the article. This blogging has been following for years.
    Franklin Graham is scum.

    • Yes, and there have been good christians who have supported Naghmeh through this mess and condemned the actions of Franklin Graham.

      • True.
        But too many that choose not to see or outright blame her or the the ones who have forced this into the light. Their viewoint of Christianity is what is important, not truth or justice. They are as Jesus said about similar relious authorities, “You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”

        • There is a narrative about abuse and cheating that must change in society overall. It’s not just in secular society, but religious as well.

          WE have to be that change. WE have to stand in the gap to change the RIC hold on the narrative. And it is changing. Slowly.

          I don’t think it’s useful to come down on Christians more than any other group. Abuse is part of the human condition and anywhere there are humans, our shortfalls will follow us.

          So change the narrative and challenge the status quo. Be the change.

          It makes me sad that all that time in an Iranian prison, suffering abuse at the hands of his jailers, that we haven’t heard how this Christian was brought to repentance for the sin of beating his wife. A repentant man would have come out and testified… “Yes!!! I beat my wife and children and then I was imprisoned! God was merciful and protected me from my jailers and showed me my sin of harming my family. I repent of my evil treatment of them and beg their forgiveness and ask God’s help in changing me.”

          That’s what Franklin Graham should have encouraged. Instead, he chastised the wife for going public and the son ended up in a neck brace.

          We have to do better.

    • John Piper
      Ravi Zacharias
      RC Sproul Jr
      Mark Driscoll
      John MacArthur
      Paige Patterson
      CJ Mahaney
      Rick Warren

      It just goes on and on and on SWEET BABY JESUS

  • Ministers do not want to acknowledge that there is evil sitting in their pews every week. Anyone can act like a pious person for a couple of hours a week and then leave, going back to their evil selves.

    • Some only care about butts in the pews and money in the collection basket.
      If they tried to weed out the folks who don’t live their lives in accordance with their stated beliefs, how many people would be left?
      I know living your life according to what is considered to be Christian is a process, and people should always be striving for improvement, but many are not really putting in the work.

    • Many do know it. That is the purpose of the alter call. Our preachers always encouraged the congregation to examine themselves; get rid of the sins holding them back etc.

      Unfortunately there are fakes in every profession. But in the clergy for some reason it is just so much more heartbreaking.

      I have not read this story about FG. I don’t doubt it at all. I just don’t really follow the entertainment preachers. Or at least that is how I think of them.

  • I just wanted to speak up and say that I am Christian and most Christians abhor this thinking and behavior by Dr. Graham.

    • ChumpInCharge, hear hear! – my thought is that those Christians who have really experienced a true repentance as a precursor to salvation, truly abhor this line of reasoning. However, speaking only of the segments of Xnty with which I am familiar, among those groups tending towards a patriarchal interpretation of the Bible, there is a growing awareness and more than a few online groups, in which some of this ss*it is being identified, recognized and called out – because for too long, fake (or no) repentance was tolerated imho. There are a lot of whitewashed tombs in the Christian church because the sheep tolerated their ongoing wickedness, if you don’t mind a mixed metaphor.

    • Agree. Please do not condemn Christianity. While God sbhors divorce, even God agrees adultery is an agregious sin committed against one’s spouse and is grounds for divorce in the FIRST instance, with NO obligation/duty by the agrieved spouse to forgive or give 2nd chances.

      • Adultery is something leadership in a church is more likely to condemn because fidelity is clearly a commandment. Abuse isn’t so clearly spelled out for many… namely because we are so conditioned to not see abuse as abuse.

        There are so many cultural differences between what is and is not abuse. That’s number one… second we are still dealing with that cultural factors across generations. My mother’s generation and before, women had a choice to leave abusive marriages or live in abject poverty. Most stayed. That’s not the case so much anymore.

        In any case, when dealing with older church leaders, this is ALSO what has to be overcome.

        We need people in the church warming a seat because we HAVE to change this narrative. If we are not there, then it will not change.

    • Same here. My preacher was amazing in supporting me. He held back no truth from fw. Flat out told him he would never find happiness built on the destruction of another person, and that the only way he would get out of sin was to walk away from his adultery partner and the only way she would get out of sin was to walk away from him. In other words whether our marriage lasted or not, he had to “sin no more”.

      He also told me he hope to see me getting more angry. He was right, I was trying to “take the high road” I was also humiliated, embarrassed etc. I regret not telling my preacher all the things he did and said to me. It was pre CN era and there was no internet to get ideas on how to handle it. I think because he was my sons father I was also in a mode of trying to protect my son by not “bad mouthing” him.

      Telling the full truth to strategic persons is not badmouthing, it is necessary. I didn’t even tell my family the full story until over 20 years later.

      • “sin no more”

        That’s the crux, isn’t it. I’m not a Christian, but I’m interested in religions. Christ said to the woman taken in adultery he didn’t condemn her, but he told her to “sin no more”.

        These Jesus cheaters who prattle about “God has forgiven me” carefully bypass the point, repentance and not doing it again.

        • The problem with the way the Christians interpret forgiveness is that they say “accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and you will be forgiven”. That’s it. No acts of service, no punishment, no sincere apologies, no restitution.

          • That’s the way some Christians interpret it, but that’s not what the NT says.

          • I am not a spiritual person, but I was raised Catholic. Catholicism does not have this idea of being “saved” like a lot of other Christian denominations do. Both faith and good works are necessary. And an insincere confession (either because you’re not really sorry or you do intend to commit the sin again) not only negates the confession but is also a sin itself.

        • Exactly. My ex, who had never in twelve years spoken anything even remotely religious, said to me after the divorce…”Jesus forgives his children.” Pissed me off so badly!

          • Jesus’ children have to be repentant.

            Consider when Jesus was on the cross with the crowd taunting and ridiculing Him. He cried out “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!”

            Why didn’t He say, “I forgive you, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

            Because they were unrepentant and he COULD NOT forgive them without that. It’s not that He didn’t want to, it was a matter of order. It’s like handing down a judgment in a court of law before a petition is filed. There is an order to things… and forgiveness before repentance is out of order.

            Instead, In His grace, Jesus prayed to God for Him to bring them to repentance so they could be forgiven. There’s a bit of a misinterpretation in the meaning of “father forgive them” that when fully explored we come to see that this prayer is more about bringing the crowd to repentance than God forgiving them outright…. And it is this misinterpretation that has caused some stumbling as to the true meaning of the passage.

            Probably more than you wanted to read, but this has been on my mind for a very long time and I wanted to get it out there.

        • This is why I have time and time again said that there can be no forgiveness without (true and actual) repentance and that there is a difference between forgiveness and grace.

          Grace allows people to move forward without someone else repenting. Repentance and then forgiveness is about restoration of relationships, not necessarily restoration as they once were, but relationships that are a result of healing and peace.

          So a pastor that puts more emphasis on unforgiveness instead of the unrepentant, is in the wrong. And Graham is in the wrong.

  • My ex was routinely violent. I’d say once a week at least. I never kept quiet about it but didn’t have the energy to get the divorce started for ages!!! Yeah, getting by on 2-3 hours sleep a night will do that to you. But I remember one time my FIL yelled at me “why the hell did you call the police on him”? I was stunned. That’s your violent asshat son buddy! But no, it was all about appearances. At least he couldn’t deny what was happening though because I’d sometimes call them and then just put the phone on the table when he started so they got to listen to it too!

  • It’s not just “Christian” men who hide behind their religion. I was married to a Muslim for 12 years and physically and psychologically abused for most of that time. His excuse was that the Koran says that it’s okay to hit a woman as long as it’s not too hard. I think he wanted me to thank him for not hitting me “too hard.”

    • Mr. Duplicity also followed the Muslim faith. He too used it to rationalize his entitlement and misogyny.

      Hiding behind good people and institutions is part of the cheater playbook. It’s a veneer. It’s how they cover their raw ugliness.

    • Abuse is a problem in every single religious community just like it is a problem for secular peoples. It is a condition of the human and humans are in every walk of life.

      Specifically calling out one religion or another for the abuse of their members is disingenuous. Abuse exists everywhere. Women are abused everywhere, children are molested everywhere, the weak are abused by the powerful everywhere. All of it occurs in darkness… and darkness is everywhere.

      So we must shed light everywhere.

  • Boil your head. Yes’ and get a big pot to fit your reckless endangerment of innocents.

  • I would love for Graham to be beaten every day for a year. Then ask the coward why he didn’t pray away the pain, fear. Pray the abuser into kindness.

  • Graham is scum alright.

    Christianity and Islam are both patriarchal religions where the man is considered to be the head of the family, *in charge*, and has power over the woman and the children. A fertile area for abusive bastards.

    I’m really puzzled though why Nagmeh was trying to get him freed. If that was me, my reaction would be “rot in jail, mother fucker”.

    • Chumpnomore6, I am not Nagmeh but I can offer my point of view. When I realized I had to leave, I did. Fast and efficient: lawyer up, get him out of the house with the help of police. But before? While I was working on my mirage/marriage ? I was loyal to us. To him. Between boiled frog syndrom and denial, it took me years to realize that I did not owe loyalty to my (abusive) partner. I would have tried to get my FW out of jail too. FW did not get in jail, but I spackled close enough to that. Then I divorced, and I am loyal to ME now. I had to learn.

    • That is a cultural thing. Men have been “in charge” for thousands of years in a global sense…. They’ve made the law, they’ve lead the armies…and naturally that will bleed everywhere. In a general sense, they’ve traditionally been the brawn.

      However, overall women have never been powerless. We wield HUGE influence closer to home and in smaller communities, which in turn has a more global effect. “The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world.” Women have been the brains for a long damn time.

      Men might have farted and grunted and scratched with other men, but they sure as fuck didn’t do it at the dinner table with mother.

      We’ve lost that balance and let ourselves get distracted along the way. I think part of it is blaming “patriarchy” for more than its really responsible for. I think women are just as much to blame.

  • (music by Seal, lyrics by Franklin Graham)
    Tune at:

    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi
    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi
    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi
    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi

    You used to be a punching bag for your husband to hit
    But it’s not as bad as you care to admit
    I maintain you’re misleading us and not sincere

    But did you know that I’m a pro?
    It’s not what he did
    It’s the way you reacted that stinks

    Baby, I will tell you that abuse is an area that’s grey
    Ooh, the more I hear from you, the more you need me, yeah
    And now that your life is a wreck
    Please write out a check to Frank Graham

    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi
    Pa-na-hi, pa-na-na-na-na-na, Pa-na-hi

  • Funny how this immediately made me think of FW’s uber-Christian parents (as in everything they do must be right because “we’re church going Christians”). They didn’t care that FW cheated on me with his coworker and walked out on me and their 9 year old grandson…nooooooo… they cared about image management. How dare I let anyone else in the family know? How dare I tell them that FW is a cheater who walked out on his family?

    So I got a long typed letter from FW’s mom about how I embarrassed them and I was the problem. And the letter ended with a passive aggressive “if you had only listened to me on that sunny day in Chicago on a street corner.” So I bit and texted asking what that meant. And the response was that I should have ensured their son went to church every Sunday. Ah yes… THAT’S why he cheated. I didn’t force him to go to church… shame on me. Of course, they raised him, but apparently none of that was their fault. Meanwhile, they created a new rhetoric to share with the family… that I kicked FW out and thank goodness for his coworker who took him in and then they fell in love. Holy crap.

    Being a truly good Christian is lovely. But some use it as a cover for the shit people they really are. It’s a bizarre gaslighting really… if they go to church and say they are “good Christians” you can’t dare question the icky things they are actually doing.

    • “…they created a new rhetoric to share with the family… that I kicked FW out and thank goodness for his coworker who took him in and then they fell in love. Holy crap.”

      Wow! That’s terrible. Jesus! #gaslightingeveryone

      It also gives me a sense of how my uber-Christian x-MIL is probably framing the entire shit show.

      She’s the same woman who sends me the occasional bible verse or sermon about forgiveness. I never respond (bc I’m a bitch, I’m sure). Apparently she prays for me every night. I think she’s praying that I’ll become like her, a paradigm of Christian goodness. I should be able to forgive the FW and also forget this NC nonsense that’s causing her and her son to suffer. No doubt she, too, believes that consistent church going would have insulated us from “problems.” It’s my fault that I didn’t push this. She’s the same woman who used to blame me if my x didn’t call her enough. I remember telling her that it’s not my job. She said she always reminded her own husband to call his mother. ????

      As a former Catholic, I can remember my own father enjoying that day in church when the reading from the bible was about how wives should be submissive to their husbands (or language to that effect). I’m sure there are progressive ways of interpreting this passage that preserve a woman’s autonomy and in no way condone abuse, but still….

      Ugh. All of this is so triggering.

      • “She’s the same woman who used to blame me if my x didn’t call her enough.”

        Spinach@35 — did we have the same MIL?? Seriously — I was told the same things exactly

        • I had one of these MILs too. I remember the point where I’d had enough of her and her nasty insults and accusations and just stopped trying. There was no outburst or fight or anything, I just dropped the rope, it was over 10 years into our marriage. She called me up so angry demanding to know why her son had not bought her a birthday present that year. Did I stop him from buying her gift?! I told her that her son had never bought her a single gift during the time I’d been married to him. It was all me. Every thoughtful thing from “us” over the years was actually just me and I added his name to it. To be nice. But I was done now so don’t expect it anymore because he isn’t going to do it. He doesn’t care.

          He never spoke to her again. Not even when she was dying. She blamed me the whole time for coming between them and he hated her guts. I was why she knew her grandson. I wonder if she ever regretted it or if she continued to blame me for everything in her miserable life right up until the end.

      • Your father took that passage incorrectly if he thought it meant that it was okay on his part to abuse your mother. That’s the sad part of many Christians; they use the bible to justify their bad behavior.

      • Yeah, this is always about the RVO part of DARVO. (Reverse Victim and Offender) Helps them sleep better at night and gives her something less uncomfortable to pray about.

      • Spinach the other half of that quote from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians – 5:25-29 – tells husbands to love, nurture and cherish their wives as they do themselves. I’m a Catholic and I’ve always considered that that meant listening to her and taking her counsel seriously – as seriously as he takes his own. In a marriage both partners willingly give up a certain amount of autonomy. But both remain fully capable adults who are supposed to share the tasks of marriage in an adult way. This is where the problems start! There is certainly a lot of work still to be done in moderating overly patriarchal beliefs about the roles of women and men in Christian marriage among all denominations. Some are a bit further along than others – but some people will never get it.

    • Yes, you can question the icky things they do. They should be confronted about their behavior.

  • Graham is definitely not anyone that I would like in my circle! His congregation should oust him. Horrible counselors abound in the professional world, in the Christian world, and I’d make a bet to say in the non-Christian religious world. It makes it most heinous when you use God to tout your bad advice — and then make money off it. I pity the people that listen. They’ll be lucky to get out alive.

  • Perhaps Divorce Minister, who is part of CN can weigh in. I know personally, as a Christian and 2x chump, his site helped me realize with references to biblical scripture that I could divorce ex-cheaterpants without any guilt. And i finally did just that because I had already started the pick-me-dancing again.

  • As I reflect on our new national Juneteenth holiday, it makes me wonder might there ever come a day when we could be free of the acceptance of cheating, lying and abuse in relationships, and recognize them for the abuse they are and how they perpetuate from generation to generation?

    • We can wish, but unfortunately human beings are full of vice. I hope and pray for the same, but we’re all given free choice. And some people use that free choice to abuse others. How sad.

  • Someone should kick this fucker in the nuts every time he uses the concept of God to go on the grift. I guarantee you that THAT isn’t a grey area in his opinion.

  • “televangelist, Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham)”

    Well, that’s all I needed to read.

    • ain’t that the truth! living in NC, I can say he is a POS from way back..raking in close to a million dollar salary while asking folks living on social security to spend their money filling those damn “shoe boxes” for “missionary” work! and now, reading this, it’s disgusting, he is disgusting!!!

  • Aargh! I get PTSD reading stories like these. Hugs to newbies! Take care of yourselves.

  • Graham brings reproach on God. I kept mostly quiet about the abuse I went through. When I spoke the truth they asked me why I didn’t separate from my ex wife sooner? Validated me!

  • Here’s a great one-page tool for recognizing many forms of abuse:

    My ex-husband blamed ME when he elbowed me in the head or stepped on my foot. It often happened in the kitchen, when I was standing at the counter preparing meals, and he’d complain that I should have gotten out of his way, or that I somehow put my foot under his.

    The first time he beat me was the last, and I had him removed from the house and filed for divorce. Gradually, my child, then 11, began to disclose my ex had abused him, and threatened to further harm or kill him, his pets or me if he told, and he was, and is, still terrified and unwilling to tell everything that was done to him.

    Kids who are abused are terrified to disclose, because they know the abuser has been willing to harm them, and may escalate and follow through on their threats. Any time an adult has been abused in any way, it makes sense to find out if children have also been harmed.

    When children witness domestic violence, it is considered a form of child abuse, and can lead to arrest. It certainly should be reported.

    Please give children the benefit of the doubt when they say they’ve been harmed, or when you see evidence of injury. Parents and others do some truly bizarre things to harm children, and youngsters often lack the vocabulary or experience to accurately describe what happened to them.

    My ex prided himself and bragged publicly about rescuing our grandson from abuse, although he was barely involved. It turned out my ex was also guilty of child abuse, and per court order, he has no contact. He violated that with a burner phone, called grandson, and said that God had come to him and said ex was forgiven, and that grandson also must forgive him. Apparently that meant grandson must also forgive the money my ex stole, including violating court orders twice to raid and empty grandson’s bank account (which had money he earned with a lemonade stand), and hiding and spending the inheritance left by his great-grandfather. Disgusting.

    • Gf, how terrible. I hope you, your son and your grandson are safe from him now.

    • That is disgusting. I hope your grandson has people in his life that validate him and are very supportive and that show that he was abused by his grandfather.

    • I wish to hell I’d known that about children witnessing domestic violence being a form of child abuse when I was 12 or 13 and had to pull my father off my mother when he had her down on the floor strangling her, and then when I begged her to leave she wouldn’t.

  • Shameful. It’s upsetting that such people have the audacity to associate themselves with Jesus or the gall to call themselves ethical.

  • A bit off topic-The family had a birthday dinner for my 9 yr old grandson last night. FW sat on other side of grandson from me-the closest we have been in 5 yrs. Happy to say I felt nothing. He is like just another in-law (out-law?) who I see rarely and have nothing in common with. EXCEPT a family and 30 yrs of my life. It is surreal! I guess this is meh ????. Love this meh emoji – so appropriate! Hugs! Glad and sorry you are here!

  • “The problem is you exposed him publicly to the whole world and embarrassed him.”

    Wow. That’s gotta really hurt a guy, getting embarrassed in front of the whole world. That’s the kind of thing you must have thought long and hard about, BEFORE you beat on your wife.

  • I felt my chest clench up when I read the quote wherein Graham said, “This can be fixed easily.” My former pastor kept saying that about my situation. He was always claiming it was getting better and my husband was not as bad as he used to be. Whenever I’d bring him evidence otherwise, he just got mad at me and said I was too negative. Fortunately, my current pastor (same denomination) did not take that view at all. And he is now helping me bring a complaint against my former pastor for failure to protect abused women in his congregation.

  • The problem with labels is that all people do not conform to the expectations of the category or label they are listed under. So, someone might consider themselves a Christian, but not know much of anything about what that means. I live in an area where people fight over which church denomination will be in heaven, and which will burn in Hell, over a difference in interpretation of words written thousands of years ago and translated differently by different translators.

    I feel the same way about political labels, and sexual labels. I try to keep up, but I don’t actually understand the differences between some of the labels, mostly because I do not live in that world. Yesterday, on the news, they had a story about finding an abused kitten. Someone had cut off its paw and foreleg and left it to die. I don’t need to go to theological or political labels to describe whoever did that. For me, that is just proof there is evil in this world.

    I just do not believe that we are required to live with and put up with someone who assaults us verbally or physically. I don’t care if the title is husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, father, mother, sister, or brother. Someone who does that is definitely not a friend. We are charged with the responsibility to take care of ourselves, and those who cannot defend themselves. That means you leave family, marriage, friends behind who are unacceptable to you. Too bad if it tarnishes an image or two. You have the right to be safe.

    The RIC makes me ill. I hate whitewashing over abuse. I have a friend whose husband recently died. His eulogy makes me ill. He was described as a man who loved his God and church, and she was described as his beloved bride. He abused her for many years, and when I questioned his eulogy, I was told “he had his demons”. I just can’t swallow that theology. He may have had demons, but he inflicted them on her, and she was too brainwashed by her faith to expose him to her “support community.” Sorry, but not buying it. I have been her friend for many years, but her “demons” have been finding a way to accept and survive abuse. I refuse to believe any religious entity wants you to do that. Don’t care what the “leaders of the church say”. Don’t want to check their laundry for dirt, either. If they say “stay”, that’s all I need to hear. Bye, bye!

      • The news story indicated the kitten was being treated at a shelter. I do not know if someone will adopt it, or if there is an organization that finds adaptations for injured animals who will take the kitten in. There are a few for dogs in our area. I know dogs can adapt to having 3 legs, but I don’t know about cats. IMHO people who abuse animals are the scum of the earth. I think I read it is one of the steps in becoming a serial killer, but I am not certain about that. It’s just evil.

  • Just wow. For a master class in gaslighting, manipulation and grift, look no further than any of these televangelists and megachurch pastors.

  • Asheville… a hub for Christian abusers !!! Lived in that Hell from 2002 – 2010. Franklin Graham is the poster child for the men of so called Christian community, churches and Asheville Christian Academy ( cult ) !

    • I don’t know about that. I googled Billy Graham, he made *loads* of money off his ‘evangelism’, and was a pretty shit father, *and* husband.

      I’d bet Jesus would call them both Pharisees. ????

    • Billy Graham was a con artist. I’m sure he’s very proud of his son. That apple fell right next to the tree.

  • For Christians struggling with church indoctrination, I highly recommend “The Life Saving Divorce: Hope for People Leaving Destructive Relationships” by Gretchen Baskerville. She doesn’t claim to have been cheated on, only that her “Christian” husband was a sex addict. Regardless, she debunks a ton of church BS and blasts the hell out of Focus on the Family for supporting abusive marriages over the well-being of the individual being hurt. Truly, if it weren’t for all of the James Dobson shit sandwiches I was forced to eat growing up… I can’t help but wonder if I would have left my cheater sooner, instead of waiting to find his massive infidelity. It makes me want to order 100 copies of LACGAL and mail CL to every Christian organization that supports the RIC, along with copies of Divorce Minister as well! (And super grateful that my church hasn’t promoted my returning to the Sparkle Dick in any way!!! Or be preached about forgiveness. There are good, biblically aware people out there, which is also modeled by many on this site. Thanks to everyone that writes here.)

    • Part of my divorce story is in that book. Gretchen is doing great work freeing Christians from deadly misuse of scripture and Christian culture.

  • Women can’t be single, or alone – that’s sinful and godless.

    They need to protect the image of the sanctity of marriage and the nuclear family.

    Also, only married women in the church can have the “quiverful” of babies to raise up to have more parishioners and more money.

    • I hope I can explain this.
      Recently after my ex fw had passed, my daughter in law told me that about a year before he died, he went off on a rant on how women should have to get married right after high school and not be allowed to work and stupid shit like that.

      I believe her because I have no reason not to, but though he was definitely a controller, and I know he didn’t initially want me to go to work he never really said those things.

      It is too long to go into the whole thing, but I wonder if first of all he was suffering from dementia, (he was about 0 and had a long battle with heart and lung diseases) and maybe in his mind the pile of shit that his life had become was the cause of women (maybe even me) having the option to work. Or maybe he was involved in one of those types of churches that subdue women.

      The churches we attended together would have never pushed that agenda.

      So weird. I guess we will never know; but dang it sounded like he went bat crap crazy.

  • Hmmmmm… lots of missiles here, aimed at:

    * Cheaters (of course.)
    * Wife beaters.
    * The Reconciliation Industrial Complex.
    * Abusers.
    * Christians.
    * Maybe even Jesus.

    My dad cheated on my mom. Many times. She and I were just talking about it last week. He died (early on) and she has lived with the memories of her life with him. The good, the bad and all the other memories in-between. It’s like the cheating, when reviewing the perfectly beautiful things, somehow tainted everything.

    They were an amazing couple. The toast of the town. Gracious. Giving. Generous. Magnanimous.

    And my mom was the Jackie Kennedy mom. Let me tell you, she is still amazing! She’s beautiful, with a glow that draws you in… everyone comments on her beauty, even though none of her features are perfect, all by themselves… I look at her every time I see her and wonder about that… how she can be… so… lovely? But she is. She’s effervescent. It’s something you feel when you’re with her. And that feeling is stronger than any logical thought coming your way.

    She found out about the cheating. One of the husbands of an affair partner called her. Then she went on a mission and asked all the women she suspected of having had affairs with him over the years to tell her the truth. Many said yes. Then she sat with all that knowledge. (The things she hadn’t wanted to know.)

    And decided to stay with him.

    And then she went to school and got her Masters degree and a career. Just in case he left her.

    He seemed to be genuinely remorseful. The D-Day woman was his secretary. He called in all the partners and told them, they let the secretary go, he told his two best friends in the world, and he told the elders in the church.

    He told my mom he loved her. That his secretary and the other women never meant anything to him. (Later she would say that she thought it was a cat-and-mouse game for him.) He asked her, “do you want to move? I’ll move anywhere with you. Do you want to change churches? I’m fine with that. How can we work through this? I want to do that with you.”

    She decided to just go with it. They remodeled the house and he went to work on plans for a new house. They went on a world cruise. They came home and moved into their dream house (the after-the-kids house.) They cooked together because he started coming home early from work. On days that they didn’t cook, he took her wherever she wanted to go to eat. And he found new places to try. They went to musicals. They went to plays. They saw movies. They went to church. They had parties. They had fun. They came to visit us, wherever we were. (There are four of us.) They laughed and talked and hugged and kissed, all the time.

    He died about 10 years after D-day.

    When my mom and I were talking last week, she said that she carefully thought it all through. She could have left him, she could have told everyone, she could have ruined his reputation, (but wasn’t it better that HE told everyone, and SHE didn’t?) she could have started her career (she was ready,) she could have moved away, she could have done all those things… but she had those years of fun with him. She said she wouldn’t have had those years if she’d left… And yes. They were stained by the knowledge of the past. And yes, she had all those little streamers of thoughts passing through her head. But every time, she chose him. She chose the present.

    See, I think that she was her own reconciliation industrial complex. I know, I know! There are books that say that one person can save a marriage. I read them. And I couldn’t save mine. My cheater cheated and left. End of story.

    I hate cheaters. (And again, I love this blog! And read it as much as possible.) But behind every cheater is a real, living, changing, person. And – like Billy Graham’s son – I believe that transformation is possible… even for cheaters (not probable, but possible.) Because I witnessed it.

    My mom kept our family together. At tremendous cost to herself. She GAVE that to us. And she benefitted, too. And so did my dad. What a gift. My dad died and a lot of people showed at his funeral. He was well known in the city. His reputation was intact. Our family was intact. My mother took the losses, all by herself.

    I’m on this blog because I’d like to marry again, preferably to a non-cheater! So I’m studying cheating behavior… and what I REALLY want to talk about is flirting.

    I just don’t know how to treat this flirting thing… it really gets me, every time I date… (is that just me? is it my past? is it disrespectful? is it a reason not to see/ talk to/ date the person again?) And what is flirting? a glance, a whisper, a confidence shared, a phone number given…??? Does every guy do it? Oh, it’s about how I feel? Do I feel it’s a safe and good relationship for me? I don’t know! My feelings get confused by my hormones! And inertia… and all the other reasons people stay…

    So yes.

    I just wanted to say…
    that I love to read the posts and comments here!


    * I don’t care about celebrities. I learn the most when I hear personal stories. Let the talk shows speculate about celebrities; I don’t have to watch those! (But for some reason, I have to read this blog!)
    * If there aren’t personal stories, I’d love to hear about principles, or learn more about things like flirting.
    * It’s okay with me if people love Jesus and are not perfect. I think people are drawn to Jesus BECAUSE they’re not perfect.
    * That some cheaters love Jesus means nothing to me… I mean, I don’t even see that cheaters loving Jesus is any kind of issue… (what am I missing?) And I don’t see that reconciliation people loving Jesus is any kind of issue… (Jesus was all about reconciliation! Jesus came to earth for reconciliation!)
    * Unicorns exist. I know, in my heart of hearts, and in my experience, that transformation is a thing that can happen. In all of us…

  • It’s funny how these “Christian” therapist/ preachers forget that God is against violence, especially to women. That women and men are allowed to divorce and remarry if the divorce was due to adultry.
    BST: No, no forgiveness is the way, you must stay married. I can help you. We have payment plans for the $10,000.00 worth of therapy and immersive you absolutely need.

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