“The More You Love, The Harder You Fight”, A Review of What is A Girl Worth? by Rachael Denhollander

I remember the trial of Dr. Larry Nassar, a Michigan State University physician who was once the Gold Standard in the gymnastics community. For decades, he molested hundreds of girls and women, playing the part of the compassionate nice-guy who helped them heal from their injuries.

At the end of the trial, he finally buckled and pled guilty. As part of his plea deal, every one of his victims was permitted to give an impact statement. Up until that point, I had followed the trial loosely. But I paid special attention to the victims and what they had to say.

One by one, Nassar’s victims brought his world down with thunderous dunks that would make Julius Erving proud. It was glorious.

Enter Rachael Denhollander, who closed it out with both a blistering assessment of the culture that allowed Nassar to operate for years, and a wonderful Gospel presentation to Nassar. (If you haven’t heard Rachael’s speech, Google it and watch it. It’s pure gold.)

I became a Rachael Denhollander fan that day.

What’s a Girl Worth? is her story. And it is both riveting and inspiring.

First, a trigger warning: if you suffer from any form of PTSD, this book is going to hurt. Even if you don’t suffer from PTSD, this book is going to hurt. If you have any form of empathy whatsoever, this book is going to hurt.

She describes her assaults by Nassar in significant detail. I tried hard to keep my analytical hat on, but I still couldn’t sleep that night. On the other hand, I found it very instructive, as she is showing parents how easy it is for a predator to abuse kids. Nassar abused many of his victims in plain sight, with their parents only feet away!

There is a popular misconception that you can spot child molesters pretty easily, and if you are just careful enough, you can prevent their abuses or catch them in the act. Rachael destroys that myth almost immediately. Rachael’s mother—who was a protective, caring Christian mom—was in the same room when Nassar abused her. She never saw it happen, as Nassar was smooth enough to conceal her view.

In great detail, she points out the factors that kept her from reporting her abuse, the blowback she received when she tried to report her abuse, the effects the abuse had on her for many years, and how it challenged her relationships and even her faith.

When people ask victims, “Why didn’t you report [the abuser] sooner?” Rachael gives a vivid, well-reasoned answer to that question. Even when victims do report, very little is ever done. Police departments often shelve the complaints, as thousands of rape kits remain untested even today.

If the accused is a respected figure like Nassar, he probably has friends in law enforcement. Nassar almost got away with his crimes, as the county prosecutor attempted to cut an easy deal like Jeffrey Epstein once received. Thankfully, the Michigan State Police—with the help of a very hardworking, caring detective—had the resolve to tell the county prosecutor to go pound sand, and hand this to a very victim-friendly Attorney General, who went after Larry with every weapon in the arsenal.

And then there’s the personal cost of reporting your abuser. Her entire life was laid bare for the whole world to see. The details of her molestation became public record. Because she testified against Nassar, his team was able to pry into the most intimate details of her life, including her personal journals.

Nassar abused many victims because the system protected him at the expense of victims. That system included a Big 10 university, local law enforcement, and the larger athletics community that included USA Gymnastics. Rachael provides a devastating picture—with the clarity of the best LED television screen—of that abuser-friendly system which protected Nassar for years. Had it not been for the reporters at IndyStar—to whom Rachael appealed with her story about Nassar—he might still be abusing women today.

But Rachael took him on, even ditching her anonymity. What drove her: her concern for the other victims. As she said it, “the more you love, the harder you fight.”

Sadly, our society doesn’t really love, as we have commoditized people while lionizing ideas and institutions. USA Gymnastics turned a blind eye to abusive coaches like John Geddert, just as Penn State turned a blind eye to Jerry Sandusky, just as Michigan State turned a blind eye to Larry Nassar, just as churches turn a blind eye to abusive pastors, priests, and other leaders.

From conception, children are commodities. Even pro-life denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention and the Independent Fundamental Baptists have thrown children under the bus to protect abusive pastors and highly-revered leaders.

Against that backdrop, Rachael Denhollander drops a badly-needed FULL STOP.

For the Christian, What’s A Girl Worth? is very sobering, as the Church does not get off the hook here. For speaking out about the abuse coverups at Covenant Life Church by C.J. Mahaney—which put her at odds with her elders, who were friends of Mahaney—she was ostracized and her family would have to move on to another church. (This at a time when they needed the support of a church body.)

Having been around the block in church circles, I can attest that taking on abusers in the Church is not a popular endeavor. If you are a minister, there is a lot of pressure not to rock the boat. There is a lot of pressure to handle matters quietly—let the abuser resign, move on, get a fresh start somewhere else—and avoid the unpleasant consequences of making the brutal truth of abuse a public matter. As a rookie youth minister, I took on an abusive pastor. I won, but it was a Pyrrhic victory. I’d do it again, but still…there is a price to pay.

But the Church needs to pay that price, because people are worth more than institutions. Make no mistake: this is a Gospel issue. Jesus held a child and told the Disciples that “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

The pastorate is for real shepherds, not hired guns seeking to enrich themselves. The pastorate is not a corporate ladder, and until the Church decides that people—especially victims—are not commodities, she will continue to slouch toward irrelevance.

As Rachael said it, “the more you love, the harder you fight.” The Church needs to repent and start fighting like the third monkey on the ramp to Noah’s ark.

And for the men who are new to this fight, Rachael’s husband—Jacob—provides a great primer in how that is done. From the days before they even got engaged, to the runup to their wedding, and throughout their marriage, Jacob was a great listener, a hard worker, and a wonderful supporter of his wife. As life got turbulent, they still had children—4 of them—and Jacob provided great strength to ensure that their home was a refuge from a very nasty world. They endured great hardship, but came out stronger, and Jacob was a major part of that. Men, this is why you need to read the book.

Ultimately, the Denhollander family provides a portrait of the kind of love that defends, protects, advocates, and goes to the end of the world, for “the least of these”. On a scale of 1 to 10, no less than 20.

Kavanaugh: Who Didn’t See This?

Last year, as Brett Kavanaugh seemed headed toward certain confirmation as a Supreme Court justice, Christine Blasey Ford, a former high school classmate of Kavanaugh’s–came forward and accused him of sexually assaulting her at a party.

Immediately, I was skeptical. Kavanaugh denied not only the assault, but even being at the same party with her. That was a pretty hard denial, as all it would have taken to sink him would have been for someone to corroborate that he was at the same party with Ford.

Not even one of her friends could do that.

During her testimony, she insisted that she had no political motive. But the way she did that told me she was full of it. MrsLarijani also felt this was BS.

In a conversation with someone who was liberal, here is what I said at the time. She asked me what I do to protect women, so I gave her a complete answer.


I promised I’d get back to you on this. So…what do I do on behalf of women regarding their mistreatment? First off, I don’t limit myself to the mere mistreatment of women. I’m opposed to all abusers, and I act in my spheres of influence on behalf of those impacted by them.

I’ve encouraged victims to take appropriate action against their bosses. I’ve helped one of them record a meeting, risking my own job in the process. I’ve helped direct some to shelters and encouraged them to press charges. I’ve been a designated driver at events where there is drinking. I also look for people who might be putting things in drinks.

When I was a youth minister, I immediately realized my pastor was an abuser. Did I resign? No. That would have been the easy way out. Instead, I took him on, even alienating myself with leaders–ladies and gentlemen on the Personnel Committee–who would later seek to fire me for taking on that abusive pastor. It got me several negative references when I went to other churches, and it took me longer to earn the trust of those other churches, but it’s a price I have no regret paying.

As someone who works on the security team at my church, I am LOOKING for bad guys. And not necessarily ones who are armed. I assume the abuser could be someone on ministerial staff, someone I otherwise find likeable.

So the question is, what do I do if a child comes to me and says John Doe asked him (or her) to do something, or touched him (or her) somewhere, or…[name the act]?

While it may not have corroboration, I would still immediately report it to the police and tell the appropriate leaders about it. The accusation could be something, or it could be nothing. It may be indeterminate, but that could change if someone else comes forward.

If a woman tells me she’s being abused, I’m going to direct her to the shelter, and report what I must. I will also encourage her to file the police report. Aside from my own experiences with abusers, I once dated a gal–a former running buddy–who had been physically and sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriends. She is about the same age as LA. It took a while before I realized she was bulimic. Damn-near went broke trying to save her.

So yeah, I do what I can in my sphere of influence. Still, when it comes to #BelieveWomen, I think the question is wrong. I neither believe nor disbelieve accusations; instead, my position is to take them seriously–because their veracity is very possible–and encourage appropriate action. If it’s something criminal in nature, I push them to press the charges, because that is what is likely to start the ball rolling toward real change.

The accusations may be true but unsubstantiable; I believe that, if that is the case, we will one day know the truth, even if that doesn’t happen in a timetable I would prefer.

The accusations may be true, and subsequent investigation–and I’m talking law enforcement, not in-house folks–corroborates it. Then you can take it to the house.

They may also be false. I say that not as a, “Women lie all the time!” line that misogynists use, but rather an acknowledgement that members of both sexes have been known to tell lies, especially when they have motive. And contrary to popular opinions, we humans generally do a horrible job of telling whether someone is truthful or lying.

There are times when the circumstances–which establish a motive–compel me to take accusations seriously while having an understandable skepticism. Being skeptical in those cases hardly makes one a misogynist or one who would shove victims aside. Quite the contrary: the liars are in fact the ones who ruin it for the victims.

That brings me to the case of Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford.

I did everything I could to maintain an open mind on that one. But I had serious problems:

(1) No corroboration whatsoever. Everyone she named was unable to so much as place themselves, let alone Kavanaugh and Ford, at a party that she described. Had there been one classmate who would have vouched for that much under oath, it would have been enough to demand explanation.

(2) Not even her friends recalled her mentioning anything about the alleged event at the time.

(3) While her not filing a police report then would have been understandable, that she did not file one recently–even though the police said they would investigate if she did–makes me question her motives. If he is an abuser, then reporting him now would at least trigger an investigation. If there are other victims–and if he is an abuser, there will be many victims–they could be discovered in the process of that investigation.

(4) The way Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) handled the “letter” tells me that this was a political matter, not a criminal one. If she took Ford’s account seriously and wanted to stop what she believed to be an abuser, she would have sent this to the FBI.

(Think about it: if I’m in a church, and someone comes to ME with a story like that, what do you think I’m going to do? Give it to the police, that’s what! I don’t NEED permission from the accuser to do that.)

(5) She has a motive to lie, and that motive is political. When she answered this issue with the, “Anyone who knows me knows I would never…” line, my cynicism meter spiked.

(6) While many found her story to be compelling, I did not. In fact, she came across to me as an actor. And she could do that, given that (a) she’s a PhD in psychology and (b) therefore she would know how to construct a story that would appeal to anyone who knows the first thing about that kind of trauma. I have friends who are in that boat who also weren’t buying it.

Now does this mean I think Kavanaugh is all that and a pound of bourbon-cured honey bacon? Not necessarily. He could turn out to be great, or he could turn out to be horrible. He could be upstanding, or he could be scandalous. Sometimes, God allows time for one’s sin to find him or her out. Could that happen with Kavanaugh? You bet, assuming he’s a psychopath.

In the case of judicial nominees (including SCOTUS), my views on the matter are comparable with Lindsey Graham’s: Presidents ought to have wide latitude in those picks, because elections have consequences. This is why I have no problem with Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan or Sotomayor on the bench, as much as I disagree with their views on almost everything of major importance.

I just see no compelling reason to keep Kavanaugh off the bench, and an uncorroborated accusation from his high school days doesn’t cut the mustard. I found it ridiculous that this devolved into haggling over yearbook comments or who said what about whom.

Fact is, there were gals and guys–during my high school days–with whom I had a hostile relationship at the time, but who are now FB friends of mine today and we get along like we were buddies all along. I have other folks who were good friends back then but, due to a number of factors, are very chilly toward me (and vice versa) today.

There were also a number of things we all joked about–and yes, sex was among those–and that’s all it was: jokes. Locker-room banter. Yes, I confess to having said, “I even wouldn’t put an American flag over so-and-so and do her for Old Glory!” a few times during high school. It was a common joke among us guys, and–while I’m not proud of that–we’re really screwed as a country if those juvenile moments are enough to stop a guy like me from being in a position of public trust today.

The crowd with whom I hung out, a few of whom were in the top 10% of the class–talked a lot of smack about sex, but I can also tell you we weren’t into chasing the gals: we hit our books, got our grades, played sports together, and stayed away from the party scene. But if we’ve reached the point where we’re going to mount character assassinations–based in part on such banter in high school–all because we don’t like a person’s politics, then we have a larger problem in this country.


We are now learning that she indeed had a political motive. Her own attorney said so.

Kennedy Retires. Will Roe Go Down? Not So Fast

First, a few stipulations:

(1) I’m very much in the pro-life camp. I’m opposed to abortion, and support its criminalization. People who have abortions–provided they are doing so out of choice and not compulsion–are murderers, as are any parties who perform or assist in them. The repeal of Roe v. Wade would trigger great celebration in my household.

(2) (1) is the key reason why I voted for Trump over Hillary in the 2016 election.

(The other reason: from my experience in government, I saw it imperative that we do everything possible to hold off the onslaught of the Marxist SJWs that would complete the hijacking of federal government if Hillary won. But that is a different discussion.)

—–
With that out of the way, I am thrilled to see Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy retiring. Originally billed as a conservative pick by Reagan, Kennedy became a total cuckold in 1992 in the Planned Parenthood v. Casey case, when he joined Sandra Day O’Connor and David Souter to betray the unborn by refusing to overturn Roe.

His leftism extended to the Lawrence v. Texas case, which opened the door to the infamous Obergefell v. Hodges decision that redefined marriage.

Good riddance, Mr. Kennedy. Don’t let the door hit you in the rear-end…

This obviously creates a wonderful opportunity for President Trump to nominate a solid conservative to the Court, which currently has four hard liberals (Kagan, Sotomayor, Breyer, Ginsburg) three hard conservatives (Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch), and one mostly conservative Chief Justice (Roberts) who got too cute by half with ObamaCare and refused to reverse himself when he had the chance.

A hard conservative would tilt the court to the right, and this would seem to spell the doom for Roe v. Wade.

This is why the left is acting like Armageddon is near: they know that their right to murder babies is in the greatest peril since 1992.

Making matters worse for them, this is a midterm election year.

What does this mean?

(1) With the retirement of Kennedy, the Democrats–who depend on the abortionista base and the labor unions for money–now must go all-out to take back the Senate.

If they fail here, it will be a worse defeat for the Dems than the Reagan elections. This is because Trump may get not just this pick, but potentially two more Court picks, thus creating the most conservative Supreme Court in the last century.

That means the GOP will likely keep the House, as the Dems must pour their resources into Senate races, as they have several vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election as well as a few vulnerable Republicans they hope to challenge. If the GOP holds serve, it will be a major victory.

Having said that,

(2) Trump still will face a major battle to confirm his next SCOTUS pick.

Currently, Republicans have a 51-49 edge in the Senate. Two Senators–Sens. Susan Collins (ME) and Lisa Murkowski (AK)–are pro-abortion and could easily scuttle any nominee they don’t like, and with little consequence to their re-election prospects. If they flip, Trump won’t have the votes.

Meanwhile, the two Senators from Arizona–John McCain and Jeff Flake–are very anti-Trump. McCain is on his deathbed and could easily vote down any Trump pick just to stick it to Trump. Flake, also a Trump-hater, could also vote it down out of spite.

That’s 4 potential GOP votes against a Trump pick coming out of the gate.

If Trump wants to get his pick confirmed, he will need to appeal to Red-State Democrats who are on the bubble.

That will be a very tall order.

I’m old enough to remember when President Reagan nominated Robert Bork for SCOTUS. Six Republicans voted against Bork. The biggest embarrassment came from my home state at the time–Pennsylvania–when Arlen Specter (R-PA) attacked Bork. When he abandoned Bork, five other Republicans on the bubble also followed suit. The Bork nomination died, 58-42.

From there, Reagan nominated Douglas Ginsburg. His nomination never made it to a vote, as his past marijuana use created too much controversy.

Reagan would then settle on Anthony Kennedy. And we know what happened from there.

Trump and McConnell have their work cut out for them.

My prediction: there will be no vote on a SCOTUS pick until after the election.

(3) Even if Trump gets his pick confirmed, it does not guarantee that Roe v. Wade will die.

My cynicism on this stems from two observations.

First, recalling Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

At the time, the conservative majority on the Court seemed poised to kill Roe. O’Connor unexpectedly sided with conservatives in the 1989 Webster case, hinting that she might be up for sticking the fork in Roe. And Bush had appointed two conservative Justices–Souter and Thomas–who, at the time, were living up to their billings.

A 7-2 vote to kill Roe seemed plausible, and would have been poetic, as a 7-2 vote created Roe in the first place.

But in the Casey decision, O’Connor could not get herself to vote down Roe. Souter and Kennedy would join her.

What seemed like a 7-2 death-knell for Roe turned into a 5-4 affirmation of it.

Currently, you have 3 justices who will almost certainly kill Roe: Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. I put Roberts on the bubble only because of his misstep on Obamacare.

For Roe to fall, you need at least one woman on the Court who will vote to kill it. It will take a woman to get the other 4 conservatives on-board.

None of the current woman on the Court will do that. Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor are hardcore pro-aborts.

There is a woman on Trump’s short list: Amy Coney Barrett. A charismatic Catholic and mother of 7.

If Trump nominates Barrett, you will know he is serious about kicking Roe‘s ass.

And if she gets in, I would rate the chances of Roe going down at about 70%. She will have the chance to be Deborah and Jael, in one fell swoop.

But that’s a big IF, for the reasons stated. If he nominates Barrett, the Bork hearings will be a walk in the park in comparison. Democrats will be in full meltdown.

Second, I am not sure if the ranks of the Church are serious about killing abortion.

I say this from experience. I have been in many churches and have given presentations on various angles of the pro-life cause. I was a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center. I was a speaking director for a maternity home. I spoke in a lot of otherwise conservative churches. I’d say that the vast majority of my abortion-minded clients were otherwise professing Christians. (I only recall one who was an Atheist.)

Here’s the thing: the Church has a mother lode of family jewels under the surface. Many families that would identify as pro-life on paper, have a pregnancy-abortion scandal under their tent. They may agree with you about the reality of abortion, but they want it there for their kids “just in case”. These are the types who voted for Clinton in 1992.

Combine that with a cadre of otherwise conservative ministers who have demonized Christians who supported Trump over Hillary–yes, Thabiti Anyabwhile, I’m talking about you–and you have a critical mass of confusion among the Body. It also doesn’t help when popular evangelical authors like Beth Moore and Jen Hatmaker and Rachel Held Evans are not forceful on matters of life and, in the case of the latter two, have jumped off the cliff for every SJW cause under the sun.

(And no, I’m not saying that ministers need to tell people who to vote for; it is, however, perfectly appropriate for a minister to say that particular issues are of very significant importance, and that those who vote with those issues in mind are not selling out to the devil.)

So, to make a long story short, Kennedy’s departure is a great opportunity. But victory for pro-lifers is far from certain in this matter.

Toys R Us Reaps Whirlwind

This week, Toys R Us anncounced that they will be closing or selling all of their stores, effectively liquidating. Their Chapter 11 Banruptcy will almost certainly become a Chapter 7 liquidation, which means that the brand, as we know it, is done. The WaPo, surprisingly, has an insightful piece on the downfall of Toys R Us. In their public announcement, TRU said:

The decrease of birthrates in countries where we operate could negatively affect our business. Most of our end-customers are newborns and children and, as a result, our revenue are dependent on the birthrates in countries where we operate. In recent years, many countries’ birthrates have dropped or stagnated as their population ages, and education and income levels increase. A continued and significant decline in the number of newborns and children in these countries could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Andrew Van Dam of the WP adds:

It may not have been the biggest existential threat confronting Geoffrey the Giraffe (the store’s mascot), but it’s the one with the broadest implications outside of the worlds of toys and malls.

Measured as a share of overall population, U.S. births have fallen steadily since the Great Recession. They hit their lowest point on record in 2016 — the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has comparable data.

What IS interesting is that, for many years, TRU supported Planned Parenthood; they ended that support in 2010.

In other words, over the course of decades, TRU provided financial support for a cause that served to erode their market base.

Sow the wind..reap the whirlwind.

Abortion is Murder

If I trigger anyone, then fine. I can’t find a single shit to give this morning. Here is one of the reasons why.

If you had an abortion, and you were not under force at the time, then you are a murderer. Don’t like that? Fine. Calling me names won’t change that fact, because I didn’t create the reality.

You made it yours when you chose to kill your baby.

Just a Postnatal Abortion

Nothing to see here. If Packer is indeed responsible for this atrocity, then all she has done is the same thing that abortionists in America–paid to kill children in utero–do more than 3,000 times every day.

Of course, I would submit that there are few things on earth more hideous and evil than parents who kill their own children. They are the vilest of the vile.