Grace does not preclude accountability: apologizing for my unwitting support of Hugo Schwyzer

I’m very shaken up. Last week I tweeted an article published on Relevant magazine’s website. The article, written by Hugo Schwyzer, made some excellent points about beauty vs. sexuality. Since then, Hugo Schwyzer’s past has been brought to my attention.

I am absolutely blindsided. I tweeted an apology for publicizing his article and am so mortified by my unwitting participation in making his piece popular.

A quick Google search will show you how some organizations have recently cut ties with Schwyzer because he was not forthright about his past: ie., sleeping with former students and a suicide attempt (turned on the gas in his apartment) that almost killed his then girlfriend.

Since getting sober, Hugo has written prolifically about women’s issues. I suppose there’s nothing more compelling than a repentant abuser and addict sharing their hard-earned wisdom, right?

Not so fast.

It’s one thing to write about your past on your own blog. It’s quite ANOTHER thing to start building a name for yourself on a major Christian website. Relevant should have known better.

I have a serious problem with a large, Christian website publishing Hugo’s article. Why?

Because women deserve better advocates than former abusers and addicts.

Because we do not protect victims of domestic violence by making their abusers famous.

Because even if you are sober, you are still in RECOVERY.

Because recovering addicts and abusers of women should not be given a huge platform on a big, Christian website under the auspices of “helping women.”

Because GRACE does not preclude accountability.

And I’m sorry, if you almost killed your girlfriend and, as a professor, slept with numerous students–you have disqualified yourself from public ministry. PERIOD. (And yes, writing helpful articles about women’s issues on a big, Christian website counts as a kind of ministry).

The church is not so lacking in teachers and healers that it needs to place former sexual predators in positions of ministry, is it?

Yes, there is room for grace. Yes, there is room for repentance.

But let’s put it this way: even though he repented, would I allow my daughter to take Professor Hugo’s class knowing he’d slept with multiple students? NO.

That is because there should be actual consequences for certain harmful behaviors–especially in the church. If doctors are convicted of malpractice, they lose their medical license. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you don’t go to the local bar to try and “help” other drinkers.

“Extending grace” does NOT mean allowing a recovering addict and former abuser to teach, lead and help women.

Furthermore, since running the article, Relevant has actively silenced and deleted the comments of women who objected to his being published on their site. That scares me. Relevant Magazine claims to promote “progressive Christianity.” What’s so progressive about silencing the legitimate concerns of women?

Relevant Magazine deliberately suppressed important information. By silencing the dissent, Relevant Magazine directly blindfolded women like myself who would have NEVER promoted that piece had we known about Hugo’s past.

Why was it wrong for Relevant to publish Schwyzer’s article?

Because it is wrong for Schwyzer to build a ministry from his sin.

Because it is wrong to gain popularity from actions that harmed women.

Because it is wrong to publish an author who has built a public platform that glorifies the deeds done in darkness–one of Hugo’s other articles is called “The Real Reason You Shouldn’t F***k Your Professor.” Did Relevant even background check him?

I have a major problem with perpetrators of abuse, violence, adultery and addiction becoming popular or making money off their salacious behavior–especially if they are being held up as Christian examples.

On a personal note, my grandfather’s adultery and coverup of domestic violence destroyed my family and church. Even if he were to repent, it would add insult to injury if he publicly wrote about all the shameful details of his sin and then was published by large Christian website. If he was then allowed to build a new ministry helping women, I would be unimaginably horrified. Frankly, it would feel like betrayal all over again.

And yet, we victims are often told to “extend grace” and to “forgive and forget.”

But grace does not preclude accountability.

And protecting victims from further victimization means refraining from making their abusers famous–even if the perpetrator has “repented” and “recovered.”

UPDATE: I am NOT saying that ALL former addicts should never minister to others. I’m very glad when former addicts who are in active recovery are able to help and sponsor other addicts. I applaud that! This post is specifically aimed at the dangerous practice of placing someone in a ministerial position when their violent, abusive past (with a murder-suicide attempt, no less) goes beyond the pale of garden-variety addiction, especially since there are things happening RIGHT NOW which indicate a less-than truthful disclosure. YES, former addicts can provide necessary help to others (and I support that!)–but this particular case is much different.

I am deeply sorry for my unwitting participation in publicizing Schwyzer’s article. I trusted the source who tweeted it. In the future, I will be more careful. Please forgive me. If you’d like to sign a petition asking Relevant Magazine to disclose Schwyzer’s abusive past to readers, the petition is here.

  • Stitching Seams

    God bless you. And Dianna and Sarah and Grace and everyone who is fighting so hard against this abuse of the “grace” of God.

  • Sarah Moon

    Thank you so much for speaking about this. And I don’t blame you at all for sharing the article. I blame Relevant for hiding Schwyzer’s past. :/

  • suzannah {the smitten word}

    thank you, friend.  a person can have God’s grace and a community’s forgiveness and still never earn back certain privileges and responsibilities that come with leadership or public ministry.   accountability, boundaries, and cultivating safe spaces matter–especially for people who are hurting.   the Church needs to care for each other better than we are.
    it’s discouraging to see valid criticisms and raised red flags being called “hate.”  it’s a silencing tactic and a shame.  forgiveness is not always forgetting, and there should be consequences for broken trust, even–and perhaps especially–among christians who are called to demonstrate love.

    • Kristin

      “a person can have God’s grace and a community’s forgiveness and still never earn back certain privileges and responsibilities that come with leadership or public ministry.”

      LOVE LOVE this.

  • KatR

    The idea that “Jesus will fix it” is such a powerful marketing tool that there are Christians who will do anything to protect the idea.  And because the victim is often hurt and angry (bitter! how dare you!) and the abuser is often really good at saying and doing all the right things, its the abuser who often figures out how to work the system in a church.  

    • Heretic Husband

      I think you hit the nail on the head.  Some people think (even if they won’t admit it), that if people like Schwyzer are barred from ministry, this would be like admitting that Christianity doesn’t work.

      • Pamela

        “The church” generally seems feel that what the abuse victim has suffered, is way less important than protecting the abuser’s reputation.  This appears to become more & more true, the higher the abuser’s level of “ministry” is.

    • Kristin

      This is perfect.

  • Rose

    Right on, props to you elizabeth! I think you’ve put your finger on something the church has a lot of problems understanding. There’s an important distinction between forgiveness and protecting victims.

    • Rose

      I feel like that last part didn’t come out right. What I mean is, yes, we must forgive but we must also protect victims.

  • Dianna

     Elizabeth, I cannot tell you how awesome this blog post is. Thank you. Thank you. This tension between grace for the abuser while protecting the abused is something I’ve been wrestling with for ages, and I’m so happy to see that there are others who are taking up the torch with me. “I’m not alone” is one of the most uplifting thoughts a person can have, and this post helps me remember that.

  • Elizabeth Erazo

    I also fell into this trap, reblogging a post from Good Women Project that he wrote. Someone graciously pointed out his past to me and I’ll be sure not to post anything by him again.

    • Goannatree

       I suspect the young women from GWP may not have been aware of some of his past behaviors either…

      • HopefulLeigh

        Unfortunately, they’re aware and choosing not to publicize this information. That’s when I first learned about the controversy surrounding Hugo.

      • invisibleforeigner

        Lauren knows, at least. @somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter:disqus  discussed it with her over twitter a few months ago, and it didn’t get anywhere.

  • ThatGuyKC

    Appalling. Petition signed.

  • JessieLeigh

    Oy vey.  I retweeted it after seeing your tweet and reading it.  I didn’t bother to check either. :(  Truth be told, I think I’m overall pretty lax about checking such things.  In my pollyanna ignorance-is-bliss little world, I guess I assume I shouldn’t have to…  thank you so much for calling attention to it here.  It’s a good lesson to me, to be honest.

  • gooddaysunshine

     How SHADY is that of Relevant Mag.   This reminds me of when I was a church-goer.   The guy that left his wife and kids for his secretary and had *issues* with  strip clubs was invited to lead the couples class at church.   Like LEAD, not guest speak, full on LEAD and TEACH.  Come again?  Yuck.  I’d rather use my own good sense, than mindlessly follow some guy thats barely a man.  No REAL man behaves in this manner. God or not. 

  • Goannatree

    silencing women by deleting their comments is another in a long line of behaviors and decisions in relation to women that has me extremely concerned with Relevant of late. His recent ‘big statement’ in resigning from one of the group blogs he wrote for because he thought they weren’t feminist enough was rather bizarre…as if he had decided that he knew what kind of feminists women should be better than they women involved. In any case, Joy, your post is important for getting people to talk about transparency on websites that declare they are Christian, and specifically about Relevant’s recent conduct in silencing women commenters. I occasionally share posts I don’t agree with, not for publicity’s sake, but to prompt discussion. I see your sharing, given it prompted this post, as having done just that. Extending this ‘guilt by association’ thing to posts we share implying endorsement is a slippery slippery slope!

  • HopefulLeigh

    Thank you, Elizabeth for adding your voice and spreading the word. Relevant and other organizations publicizing or partnering with Hugo have got to do better than this. Seeing such folks turn a blind eye to his past has been both frustrating and disheartening.

    • Sarah Moon

      and the worst is so many accusing those who point out his past as “persecuting him.” :’(

  • Max Andrew Dubinsky

    If this goes for Hugo, does it go for me too? I have lied, cheated, stolen, and used women for nothing more than sex. I was addicted to pornography for 11 years, and even publicly denounced Christ 4 years ago just so I could sleep with a girl who thought the idea of God was a joke. Here’s the kicker: I have written for Relevant Magazine 3 times, and they never disclosed any of this. Man, it’s hard to be a Christian on the Internet today, huh? As if being persecuted by non believers wasn’t enough, we’re persecuting each other now because of our pasts. 

    • Sarah Moon

      Can you HONESTLY tell me that if you had a child, you would be okay with finding out that a worker in your church nursery was a former child molester? Would you be okay with your church hiding that information from you?

      Why value the safety and comfort of abuse survivors any less? 

      Stop persecuting abuse survivors by withholding important information from them. 

    • invisibleforeigner

      It’s not persecution to say that a magazine that considers itself progressive should do its best to create as safe a space as possible for its readers. It was extremely disappointing to see Relevant rehabilitating the career of a guy like Schwyzer, or, as Dianna put it, letting a former abuser be the voice of the abused.

    • Anonymous

      Well, Max, it’s pretty unfair–not to mention, a logical fallacy–that you’d imply I’m “persecuting” Hugo because of his past. I’m not going to argue with you about the significant differences between your history and Hugo’s; that should be so obvious that it would be silly for me to try and elucidate the differences further. Furthermore, it’s tellingly off-topic that you’re somehow making this post all about you and your past when, in actuality, this post is really about victims of abuse who have every right to choose the kind of protectors they want advocating for them. I had a lovely private Twitter exchange with your wife and although we don’t agree on some of these points, we were able to keep our conversation civil and gracious. Your comment, however, is hurtful and disappointing.

    • suzannah {the smitten word}

      max, everyone sins.  that is not in dispute.  EE’s point is that there can be grace AND accountability.  there are certain dealbreakers when it comes to earning a position of leadership and public ministry, and a history of  intimate partner abuse and predatory behavior falls into that category.

      this isn’t about persecution. hugo isn’t being persecuted.  quite the opposite, really: he’s made a career for himself as a gender/sexuality expert.

      i’m curious as to why you and other christians are so eager to defend his writing on behalf of women?  you talk about breaking your pornography addiction and leaving your past behind you, but HS has obscured his own past and currently write pieces defending “jailbait” p*rn and other of demeaning, destructive, predatory sexual practices.  he is not a voice for purity or christian sexual ethics by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Sarah Moon

      Also, as a survivor of an attempted murder-suicide, hearing you compare your past to Hugo Schwyzer’s makes me want to cry. Can you not see how ridiculous that is? Can you not see the difference? 

    • KatR

       Yet YOU are disclosing your past (and let’s set aside for a moment the big differences in your and Schwyzer’s biographies). You aren’t lying about it, minimizing it, sending an army of people around the internet to attack anyone who brings it up.

      It’s jaw dropping to me (although, after Relevant posted that appalling Paterno article, maybe it shouldn’t be), that the entire argument from Relevant’s side seems to boil down to “HOW DARE YOU MAKE HUGO FEEL BAD”!!!!!!, an argument which Schwyzer seems to readily embrace. I mean, I would think that at least from a PR angle, Relevant would pretend to have empathy or compassion for abuse survivors, but not so much, huh?

    • Heretic Husband

      Whenever someone makes an argument like yours, it reveals their true concern: themselves.  If you were to accept the fact that Hugo shouldn’t be writing for Relevant, you would have to examine yourself as well.
      When you wrote your articles, did you cover up your past like he did?  I haven’t read the articles, so I have no idea.  If you did, maybe you shouldn’t be writing for Relevant either.  If someone is going to speak on a topic, they should be open about their involvement with it, past or present.

    • Hannah C.

      There is a big difference between using consenting women for sex and attempting a murder-suicide.

      We should and, I hope, do accept those who were abusers and have now repented and are healing. It would, however, be unacceptable to put those people in a position of counseling abuse victims. Unfortunately, it seems to me that Relevant and others who have published Schwyzer recently are coming very close to doing just that.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for this. That’s exactly the kind of clarification needed in this convo. Appreciate this, Hannah.

      • kisekileia


    • kisekileia

      But you weren’t setting yourself up as an expert on pornography and exploitative sex or as an advocate for people victimized by them, were you? There’s a big difference between someone with a problematic past writing about irrelevant topics, and someone who’s perpetrated abuse (which cheating and using porn aren’t) setting themselves up as a safe person for abuse victims. 

    • Dianna

       “As if being persecuted by non believers wasn’t enough…”

      This sticks in my craw.

      You are a member of the majority religion in a country that allows you a pretty glorious freedom of religion. You are a white man in a country in which white men are 83% of the national legislature, and 85% of that same legislature is white. You can walk into a coffee shop in pretty much any town in the country and be assured of finding not only someone who looks like you, but someone who believes many of the same things as you. You are never without a place to gather to worship, as in many towns you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a church. You are a published author of a book on your faith who gets to go on book tours and travel the country as part of your career. You were able to marry someone who shares your faith and have a ceremony that celebrates that faith without fear.

      Hugo Schwyzer shares many of these same characteristics. A group of women saying “Hey, he’s not our representative and we’re extremely uncomfortable with him being billed as such” is not persecution. You and he are not living in fear of jail or governmental retribution for speaking your minds. You and he are not being bodily threatened by members of the majority religion because you shared your faith. You and he are simply discovering that the group you want to speak for doesn’t want you speaking for them. That pain you’re feeling? That’s not persecution. That’s the realization that your voice isn’t nearly as important as the voices of the weak and the hurting. That’s the realization that your privilege as a white, male, Christian in America doesn’t take you as far as you thought it would.

      That ain’t persecution, buddy. That’s reality.

      • Sarah Moon

        *standing ovation!*

      • KatR

        This is completely brilliant. Thank you.

      • Anonymous

        You nailed it. 

      • Sarah

        ‘Yes’ needs more letters so I can spend more time agreeing with this response. 

  • David Ozab

    Signed. About to re-tweet.

  • Grace

    Hmm..I confess I don’t know anything about this guy of whom you speak, but I think I can make the assumption that you are not saying that anyone who was a former addict should not be ministering to others? I ask because I do know people in that position. Not abusers, not violent, not predatory…but simply former addicts who are not “in recovery” but who are no longer addicts, and who understand the needs of addicts and are able to help with compassion. 

    • Rachel N. Smith

       see but an addict would tell you that they are always going to be an addict, recovery or not, sober or not. It’s more of a “how the brain works” thing than a “using or not” thing

      • Grace

        Not true – I have a very good friend who was a serious addict who would say otherwise. She also reaches out to other addicts and offers support and counselling.  She is also not the only one.
        However my question was directed to EE and I would like hear her answer, as I am just trying to work out what she is saying here about former addicts.  Does she believe that they should not be in any sort of ministry, because of their past? I don’t think she is saying that but I want to know.  

        • Rachel N. Smith

          fair enough. I am a therapist for people who are addicts, and, often, realizing that they can be sober 20 years, take one sip, and fall back off the wagon helps them stay on. I think what I was trying to say is that an addict who is in a place to help others doesn’t hide their past or set themselves up as an expert. I think we probably mostly agree

    • Anonymous

      Grace: EXACTLY! I am NOT saying that ANYONE who was a former addict should not be ministering to others. Rather, it’s the scary combination of a violent, abusive past (with a murder-suicide) that gives me pause. YES, I’m very glad when former addicts who are in active recovery are able to help and sponsor other struggling addicts. I applaud that!! This post is specifically aimed at someone whose past history goes beyond the pale of garden-variety addiction. Thank you for your question. I hope this clarifies. :)

      • Grace

        Thanks for that answer.

        I balk at the idea that an alcoholic is always an alcoholic even after 20 years of sobriety, and an addict is always an addict. I think addicts say that because that’s what they are told. We tend to become what we believe about ourselves. 

        I do agree that there are abusive people who should not be allowed to minister any more though 

  • a wounded sojourner

    Wouldn’t being a murderer of christians preclude Paul from becoming a christian authority? While I understand completely why the outrage exiztz it also seems to be somewhat holier than thou. If we laid out your entire interiority which is completely undeserving of the Grace of God….should you be writing anything? May the one without sin cast the first stone, otherwise judge as you want to be judged. Read the bible.

    • KatR

      You may have a point there, in that Christianity has always been a safe haven for the predator, not so much for the survivor. 

    • Sarah Moon

      Did the Bible edit out Paul’s past and hide it from other believers, like Schwyzer, Relevant, and apparently also Good Women Project are refusing to disclose Schwyzer’s past? 

  • a wounded sojourner

    If Christ were in the midst of this wouldn’t he be writing each one of our sins in the sand? Who of us is worthy? When ANYONE can answer that then maybe your argument will be valid.

    • Sarah Moon

      I mean, this would be kind of like someone coming up to Jesus saying, “Some guys are about to stone a woman!” and Jesus replying, “Oh, who are you to judge them?” Really. You’re defending the abuser here, not the abused. :/

  • Anonymous

    Elizabeth, I respect you for pulling back here on seeming to support someone you now don’t respect. But I wonder if you really meant to say what you said about Christian sites not letting a former “addict” on their site, etc. As a recovery Christian alcoholic, it stung. When you lump “addicts” in recovery in a group like this and appear to discount the idea that we belong, I’m guessing that you don’t mean what it sounds like you could mean? I really love you and your blog. I’m going to assume that you were anxious to distance yourself from this guy and didn’t mean to say what you said in quite the way  you said it. I’m sensitive to when people talk about addicts in recovery in a disparaging way, I suppose. I love a ton of them. They have taught me more than I ever learned inside some churches. That said, i don’t take offense because I know how easy it is to mis-speak. I’m still a big fan. Love Heather

    • Anonymous

      Please see my response to Grace T. I have also added it as a clarification in the post itself. Thanks for your question and concern. :) ((hugs))

  • david s

    I have to respectfully agree with your comments about Hugo not because of his past but because of his current actions. 
    However, I have to also respectfully disagree primarily about your point about sober/in recovery. We are all recovering from something. The only difference are those that are actively working on their recovery and those that are not.
    I can see the reason and meaning of your post; however, the tone feels like it condones condemning others based solely on their past. To me the post has left out grace entirely. I can see by some of your replies this was not your intent, but I felt compelled to respond. 
    I’ve worked with folks in recovery for several years and seen countless miracles that should be afforded grace instead of being constantly judged irreparable just for their past. 

  • Falfie4

    I really don’t know any specifics about this situation, so I can’t comment on this person specifically.  But I do have a bit of a problem with making a blanket statement that those who have sinful pasts can’t minister out of that.  I think there should definitely some caution exercised and the person should be under accountability at all times.  And, certainly, not everyone should be allowed in ministry.  But I’ve also seen where those who have had issues with addictions, sexual sin, etc. come back to do powerful work with others who struggle.  It’s kind of the basis for the counseling industry.  I would bet that your counselor had some significant personal struggles before becoming a therapist.  I know I did, as did my own therapist and most people I know in the industry. 

    I think what it comes down to is the motivation for ministry.  If a person is in ministry out of a genuine desire to help others, that’s one thing.  But, if their desire is for fame and recognition (which is what it sounds like is the issue with the guy in your post) that’s something completely different.  The latter points to a character issue which needs to be dealt with, and is a serious issue.  It sounds like in this guys process of healing, he dealt with the actions but not the underlying heart issues that led him to make those choices.  That is a problem!  But, it’s a completely different problem than what you described here.  Profiting off your sin is not okay.  It’s just another form of sin.  But, healing from it and using your experience to help others out of a genuine desire to see other’s lives changed, in my opinion is not only okay, but should be done. 

    • Falfie4

       So, after reading some of the comments, it sounds like the real issue is that this guy isn’t repentant at all, or actually in the process of recovery.  That’s the issue that needs to be addressed, not whether or not former addicts should minister.  Please don’t take this man as an example of those who have truly repented and genuinely want to minister to other struggling addicts. 

    • Handsfull

      Although I agree overall with what you say, I think there is a big difference between someone who has sinned in an area helping/speaking for those who are also sinning in that area, or those who have been sinned against.  For example, take a man who used to beat his wife, but has repented and changed.  I think it is entirely appropriate for him to help/mentor other men who are trying to change in this area.  It is not at all appropriate for him to help/speak for women who have been beaten.

      • marie

        That is a good illustration.

      • Falfie4

         Generally, I agree with this illustration, but even then, I’ve seen where that can happen.  I think one big difference, is that most people get to choose who helps them.  In the case of this man, since he’s in the public’s eye, it’s a little different.  So, in this instance I would agree.  But, I have yet to meet an abuser who wasn’t also abused themselves  (I am a counselor working with both perpetrators and victims of abuse).  So, I do think there can be room for perpetrators to work with victims.  I’m not a big fan of making blanket statements about what should and shouldn’t happen because everyone’s needs are different.  Sometimes, given the condition and intentions of each person’s heart, it would be totally inappropriate for an abuser to minister to a victim.  But, not always.  Those things need to be evaluated on a case by case basis, which is why the absolute statements in this post concerned me.   

  • Elizabeth Zartarian

    HI I was just reading your post and I have one question when you say an abuser most individuals who are writing about Hugo call him an abuser.  Sure he abused substances but nothing else. What most post right now are implying about Hugo is that he physically harmed his then girlfriend. If all he did was try to kill himself with gas, Carbon monoxide poisoning. how does that make him an abuser of women? 
    Did he knock her out?
    Did he ever touch her in an abusive manner?
    You are making comments of him being an abuser to a women however you are not being realistic as to what you are judging him for. So many men will use women for sex yet you sit there and feel bad for not knowing this mans past, and posting his article.
    What does it matter what he has done in the past? Has he ever repeated those steps of abuse? Sure he went out/ slept with former students big deal. He was only with them after they were no longer his students.  I personally I think you should be ashamed of yourself because Hugo has never hidden his past from anyone. He is a great writer, he is looking to help women and girls everywhere.  Why judge him if he truly has changed. The past is the past leave it there if it doesn’t repeat itself. 

    • KatR

      Well, there is the pesky little issue of his girlfriend being in the apartment at the time, and the minor little quibble of him not gaining her consent to, uh, poison her with with gas.

  • Babspears

    I read your links and am not sure where your accusation comes from that Mr. Schwartz engaged in domestic violence. Both posts are his own confession of past faults, and he specifically states that when he tried to kill himself, it ACCIDENTALLY took his girlfriend as well. That is not murder suicide. It doesn’t appear that his relationships with college students were in any way non consensual. Is there more information out there? If not, painting Mr. Schwartz as a predator seems unfair and damaging.

    He appears to be a repented sinner in the long process of redemption, and his words about women and beauty hold men accountable in ways that few men rarely step up to take. What am I missing?

    • Stitching Seams

      From what I understand, he confessed to it being a deliberate attempt to kill her and himself, then changed his story to say it only accidentally put her in danger.

      • Babspears

        Where is the evidence of that confession and change in his story?  Where did your understanding come from?

        • Stitching Seams

          Until his 2011 admission that he had tried to kill his former partner and himself, Schwyzer had previously and repeatedly stated that he had only attempted suicide, only “accidentally” endangering his then girlfriend in the process. In recent weeks, some of these posts have been amended to reflect his current story, but without any indication that they’ve been edited, giving the misleading impression that Schwyzer has always been truthful about his past. More recently, the post containing his admission to attempted murder has vanished from his site, further suggesting a tenuous grasp on truth on Schwyzer’s part, despite his claims to living transparently”

          Taken from this article: 

  • Nakiru (Coral)

    I guess my concern with this is the Apostle Paul. He persecuted and killed Christians, yet went on to lead the Church. I agree that hiding his past is a shady move for Relevant, but I cannot believe that sin, no matter how monstrous, should keep anyone from declaring Truth when they have found it.

    • suzannah {the smitten word}

      yes, all have the right to share their truth–but not everyone earns the privilege and responsibility of a public platform or ministry. 

      a predatory sexual history and one that includes intimate partner violence does disqualify someone from speaking with authority to women about gender and sexuality.  his current writing at jezebel and extraordinarily permissive sexual ethic should disqualify him from writing about sex from a traditional christian standpoint.

  • Jason Wert

    Accountability doesn’t mean you brand someone by their sin forever, refuse to show them forgiveness and refuse to allow them a chance to take lessons from the mistakes they’ve made and stand up to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else. 

    If you start making exceptions to it because you don’t like what one particular person did then it won’t be long before that scale slides to anyone who makes a mistake because no matter what someone does there will be another person out there with an issue to it.

    From what I read here, and the sweeping absolutist statements, your definition of accountability is continual punishment and exclusion for the actions of his past.  That’s setting yourself up to impose vengeance on him which is supposed to be the responsibility of God.   

    Now, if you want to take issue with him hiding his background before obtaining some of the writing positions he’s worked in, then I’m right with you on that one.  That, however, is not the same as holding him repeatedly accountable for situations from which he has repented.  

  • gwyn

    so…i think i agree with most of what you said…except…paul. he was pretty effing violent and abusive…right? he did everything he could to hurt early believers…and then he had his damascus road experience, and WHAM BAM he was a completely different person. who was given an enormous platform and influential voice.

    i guess i’d just be interested to hear your thoughts on how hugo and paul line up…and what you think WOULD be an appropriate way for him to be redeemed and serve, if it is his goal to do so.

    • Anonymous

      Here’s how Hugo and Paul line up: they don’t. Hugo is NOT the apostle Paul but for whatever reason, Hugo defenders keep bringing up the “Hey-what-about-Paul” argument. It’s a moot point. Hugo isn’t the apostle Paul so lets stop pretending like there’s some kind of striking similarity there.

      • Sarah

        Agreed. We can start to compare Hugo and Paul just as soon as Hugo goes blind for three whole days ;)