Support the Café

Search our Site

Bringing bullying to light (even inside the church)

Bringing bullying to light (even inside the church)

Bullying continues to be a major issue in our society today.

Most recent in the news is the sad death of Jamey Rodemeyer, who killed himself after being bullied relentlessly. The story made national news when Lady Gaga dedicated her song “Hair” to him at the iHeart Music Festival (chronicled by many, including the website Bullying Stories)

There are, thankfully, many who are willing to use their talent and audience to get the message out to the youth of this age that there is help, and that they are not alone.

In addition to Lady Gaga, I’m particularly grateful for the star power of the It Gets Better Project supporting LGBT youth, and also the many Glee episodes struggling with the problem of bullying.

There have been many clergy and lay leaders who have lent their voices to the cause as well: addressing not only the problem of bullying within our schools, but honestly discussing the many sources of bullying culture. Politics (for some reason) comes first to mind, as do many television reality shows that seem to celebrate bullies (Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsey). But let us not forget that the Church itself is also one of these sources.

Perhaps no one has taken this as seriously as Bishop Alan Wilson. His blog is full of articles discussing the challenging realities of the culture of bullying within the church itself:

Bullying of and by clergy: a way ahead? (9/29/2011)

Clergy Bullying revisited (9/12/2011)

Dickens Lives! Bullies Rule OK! (6/7/2011)

And perhaps as a first summary:

Dignity at work: Systemics (1/7/2010)

Bishop Wilson rightly reminds us that the abuse of power is almost always the key issue concerning bullying, and that our hierarchical structure must truthfully struggle with the challenges ahead.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
John D. Andrews

As long as there are clergy that act as if their collar places them above the laity there will be bullying of the laity by clergy. In my experience bullying by priests usually begins with a need for control of all that happens in the church. Of course such behavior ignores the biblical teaching of gifts. The problem of clergy bullying laity will not cease until clergy stops looking at the church as an organization to be managed using business principles, and instead, applies biblical teaching to the running of a church. This, of course, will require them to give up power and control.

Kurt Wiesner

Thanks Pep. I have redone the link: it now leads to the correct post.


Pepper Marts


Although the first two links (‘Bullying of and by clergy: a way ahead? (9/29/2011)’ and ‘Clergy Bullying revisited (9/11/2011)’) embed different URLs, those URLs lead to the same web page. I’ve not been able to find the Bishop’s note of 11 September 2011.


Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café