Use Your Words

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To put it mildly, much of the debate last night was exhausting, embarrassing, and our people deserve better. Second to the dismissal of illegal and violating sexual assault as “locker room talk,” I found the times a former president’s character was referenced as a slight against the current presidential candidate-simply because they’re married-also offensive. 

I was married to a clergy member who had affairs. As clergy myself, I reported him for misconduct per our clergy vows. For 2.5 years now, I’ve received numerous comments questioning how I can call myself clergy-claiming that reporting him was cruel and lacked forgiveness, asking why I filed for divorce, requests to my work email asking for a list of names and races of women with whom he had affairs to prove I didn’t lie, etc. 

Have I forgiven him? Yes. Should I be held responsible for his actions? No. Should I be held responsible for the women who engaged in affairs with him not publicly acknowledging or apologizing for their actions? No. Does their silence mean I made the whole thing up? No. 

Accountability matters. Addressing the person who makes the offense matters. And I can say from experience, using personal marital issues as professional character attacks on the victims of marital infidelities is painful, disgraceful, and unjust. There’s plenty I’d like to do better and be better at professionally: as clergy, as a supervisor, as a chaplain, as a colleague, and as a preacher. None of which have anything at all to do with my former spouse. 

We can do better. Our children are watching. 

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4 comments

  1. Al Masters · · Reply

    Yes!!!!

  2. Hana Elliott · · Reply

    Well said, Ashley-Anne. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and forthrightness.

  3. Yep. Married to a serial adulterer myself at one time. Before clergyhood. You rock.

  4. Katherine T Jennings · · Reply

    Absolutely right! thank you for your perspective.

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