Across the Pastor’s Desk: Think about what you accept

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 8, 2023

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Nancy Overgaard

Nancy Overgaard

One of my most vivid childhood memories is a warning issued by my sixth-grade teacher. A man had been spotted across the street from the elementary school, sitting in a parked car exposing himself to children as we walked to and from school. For most of us, it was our only route home, so it became a frightening dash down the hill, eyes straight ahead, for fear of what we might see or what he might do.

We children were not the only ones who were alarmed. Every responsible adult in our lives was alarmed. Parents, teachers, staff, law enforcement — all sought to protect us from the offender until he was arrested.

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Contrast that with this year, 55 years later, when during June “Pride Month,” naked men paraded down the streets of large cities, exposing themselves to children and parents, with no one stopping them.

Contrast that with the news clip of a classroom full of preschoolers, appearing perplexed and repulsed, as their teachers, rather than protect them, required them to sit through a drag queen story hour. One boy turned his back to the performer rather than see what his own teacher had subjected him to. The look of sadness in his eyes said what his teachers failed to say: This event was inappropriate for a 5-year-old.

Contrast my experience with another news clip, this one of a room filled with middle school girls. Visibly uncomfortable, the girls edged back in their chairs and averted their eyes to avoid watching as a man, dressed in drag, pulled up his dress to expose his genital area, covered only by lacy white underpants. He then proceeded to grind his genitals on the floor, inches from the girls. Where were the protectors?

Contrast my experience with the news clip of a community event to which parents brought children. There, a drag queen spewed the most vulgar language I have ever heard in my life and committed the lewdest acts I have ever witnessed. All this, he did without fear of repercussions, legal or otherwise, even when caught on camera. In the past, an exhibition like that would have been hidden from public view; and few, even among adults, would have attended. Yet here it was out in the open in full view of children.

Ironically, Freeborn County District Court dispositions, printed in the newspaper this summer, included one man charged with criminal sex conduct — lewd exhibition in front of a child.

Meanwhile all these other lewd exhibitions have gone on in plain sight in front of children with no intervention and no charges filed. What has happened? Where are all the protectors who were there for me, for us, when I was a child?

A recent visit to Albert Lea by the self-identified “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” who came for a locally sponsored Pride Event during June Pride Month exposed an ugly truth. This movement is not a benign cultural crusade seeking to win public acceptance for a marginalized minority. It is about sexual self-indulgence and soliciting public acceptance for unacceptable, even criminal behavior.

The apostle Paul described some who, as these pseudo-sisters, had “given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” — Eph. 4:19.

Paul roundly condemned that behavior and contrasted it with the self-disciplined and holy lives that genuine nuns and all Christians are called to — characterized by absolute purity in speech (4:29) and conduct (4:20-5:20).

As the school year begins, I plead with all who have been given the awesome responsibility of caring for and protecting children to evaluate carefully everything you are asked to accept and approve of in terms of curriculum, books, plays and events. Make sure you are not being taken in by “fine-sounding arguments” — Col.2:4 — that make wrong seem right and violate the trust you have been given.

Jesus, who does not mince words, warned: “Offenses must come, but woe to them through whom they come” — cf. Matt.18:7, Lk. 17:1

Scripture is clear that we will all give an account of ourselves to God (Rom.14:12, Matt.12:36, 1 Pet.4:5), with those in leadership judged by a stricter standard (Jms:3:1). We would do well to consider how we will answer to God for our actions, especially those involving children.

Nancy Overgaard is a member of the Freeborn County Ministerial Association.