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Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

An Open Letter Regarding the Pennington Family From an Ex-Conservative Christian

Sheesh, that was a long title. Okay.

This post is addressing the current situation regarding Faith's FB page, Help Me Prove It, and her YouTube video which has gone viral.

I've been a friend of the Pennington girls - Grace, Hope and Faith - for three or four years. Not intimate, just your general bog-standard friend.
The first thing I heard about this was when my best friend called me, upset, and reported that there had been a kick-off between mutual friends over the video on YouTube.

To give you a brief on my own background, I was born and raised in a strict evangelical Christian home. I never left the house alone until September 2010 (I was 18) and my father, a Christian minister, later turned out to be a paedophile. So yes, I do know thereof which I speak.

I met the Pennington girls through a writing forum - One Year Adventure Novel - and later on, met them in person at the Summer Workshop in Kansas. When I revisited America for the final time in October 2013, Grace, Hope and I hung out for a day in San Antonio with their grandfather.

Hardly the sort of lifestyle you'd be expecting from girls kept under lock and key.

I am fully aware, more than most, of the issues caused by psychological/emotional abuse; how living with it day in and day out can affect your lifestyle, your way of thinking - the condemnation if you think differently.
I'd also like to point out that a large percentage of the population emotionally abuse - majority of the time, unthinkingly.

I don't know the ins and outs of the situation - any more than do most of the people posting on the blog posts or Facebook posts of the Penningtons.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say that only Faith and her family know the situation completely, even if they are seeing it from different viewpoints.

In trawling the web regarding information on the situation, I came across a couple of threads on Free Jinger that completely disgusted me. 26 pages of so called anti-fundamentalists doing nothing more than gossip about a family that they know nothing of, except for drawing assumptions from blog posts of Mrs Pennington?
You can be anti-fundamentalist and anti-conservative Christianity without being anti-human.
Yes, I know you've been hurt by fundamentalism and conservativeness. I also know that the Pennington family is not the visible and easy scapegoat to vent your anger and hatred on. There's people behind the blog posts and the chat faces.

This isn't an army of soldiers gathered with the splintered family at the warhead of each. This is a broken family that needs our love and support - as a whole.

The other night, I chatted to some of the girls still within the Pennington home. Both were in tears, terrified because of hate mail and threats made against their family. Can you imagine what it must be like to have your family held up for mockery in a society that already disdains Christianity in public media?
Can you understand that what you're condemning them for putting Faith through, you're now doing to the other siblings by terrorising them and threatening their home and whole life?

Calling Faith a liar, lazy and attention seeking won't get anyone anywhere. It will just hurt her and distance her more.
Sending hate mail to the family does nothing except create fear and mental abuse to them.

Psychologically, when attacked, people get confused and don't know what to do. Personally, while I don't interpret her father's video as any more than a rehearsed speech, I can also see that there is no way he can phrase it that will stop the haters hating.

Faith doesn't have a birth certificate, that much is obvious. Yes, she needs to prove her identity, and Faith-girl, I'm 100% behind you doing this. <3 From my own experience in this country, I know that she needs it for a lot of things.
Faith, however, hasn't taken her parents down publicly once (that I've seen) during this, apart from stating that her parents are denying her the help she needs.

The rest of the hate-mongering is your own doing, guys. And it has to stop now, before in your blind and eager, zealous defence of Faith, you destroy so much more.

All I'm seeing here is defensiveness, passionate venting of past hurts, fear and a lot of mess. On both sides.

People are human. Humans mess up.

This isn't your business. Helping Faith get her stuff is. Supporting her privately is. Badmouthing her family certainly isn't. Supporting her family emotionally, even if you don't agree with them, is. You don't have to agree with them. You have to love them.
Don't make Faith into the tool that you are claiming to try and free her from being - the tool in your war against conservative Christianity.
You cannot prove the Penningtons - any of them - are liars or truth-tellers. All you can do is support the wounded - and I suggest you start it and stop the gossiping.

In Christ,