Social scientists have long recognized that witnesses to bullying occupy four roles. These roles are not mutually exclusive, and a bystander may occupy more than one role, or switch among them. Regrettably, three of the four roles involve unethical conduct, and members of Grace Episcopal Church almost without exception occupy the categories that are unethical.
The categories are:
- Assistants join the bullying, often taking directions from the bullies
- Reinforcers encourage the bullies by cheering, laughing, or otherwise actively supporting them
- Validators know about the bullying but do nothing, giving “silent approval”
- Defenders intervene and support the victims
(Quoted from the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut Safe Church Training Materials, found here
In my experience, the vast majority of Grace Church parishioners and clergy are validators, who offer time, talent, and treasure to the church and ignore bullying, as well as Bob Malm’s readily verifiable perjury.
Bishop Susan Goff, Bishop Shannon Johnston, the Rev. Caroline Parkinson, and the Rev. Sven vanBaars, however, are reinforcers, aiding and encouraging Bob Malm and Sugarland Chiow. Indeed, Johnston sent out a letter supporting Bob, even falsely claiming that the matter had been “investigated and resolved long ago.” Nothing like having a liar for a bishop.
And several parishioners are themselves bullies, including Alison Campbell, Jan Spence, Lucy Medley and Lisa Medley. While all four may justify their conduct by claiming they were sticking up for Kelly Gable, last I heard God wasn’t hiring in that department. Not to mention 1) Kelly and I had resolved our differences before they jumped in, 2) Thanks to their childish antics, the church’s reputation is irreparably damaged.
Meanwhile, my question to Michael Guy, Jason Robertson, members of the search committee and vestry, and the parish at large is this:
Which category of bystander are you? If you continue to give money and say nothing, at a minimum you are a validator. And Jesus had very little use for persons in positions of authority who ignored injustice and oppression, especially when done in the name of religion.
As I told Susan Goff and other diocesan officials in writing, those of you who turn a blind eye to Bob Malm’s perjury and other misconduct are modern-day Scribes and Pharisees. You profess your faith noisily in public, but in reality you are the whitewashed tombs of whom Jesus spoke—pretty on the outside, reeking of corruption and filth on the inside. You are hypocrites. Same for Sally Schneider and her moronic condemnations of me, delivered in her saccharine voice. And same for Christine Cheevers, with her stupid assertion that Bob Malm is gone, and somehow I should just be okay with his bullying, perjury and more as a result. Not to mention that Cheevers’ efforts to shout me down show she is a bully and an asshole, and you can quote me on that.