Bullying is "Why we left the church for good."
Paul Coughlin is a former newspaper editor and is the author of numerous books, including the No More Christian Nice Guy, and Raising Bully-Proof Kids. He is the Founder of The Protectors: Freedom From Bullying—Courage, Character & Leadership for Life, (www.theprotectors.org), which provides a values-based and faith-based program that combats the cruelty of adolescent bullying in schools, summer camps, Sunday School, and other places where bullying is prevalent.
He is a popular speaker who has appeared on Good Morning America, Nightline, 700 Club, Focus on the Family, C-SPAN, The LA Times, FamilyLife Radio, HomeWord with Jim Burns, The New York Times, Newsweek and other media outlets. He is a regular keynote speaker with Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conferences.
His freedom-from-bullying program is used by hundreds throughout North America as well as in England, Australia, Uganda, New Zealand, Brazil, and South Africa. The Protector’s has partnered with Saddleback Church’s Justice & Trafficking Initiative in creating the first-ever Justice Begins on the Playground seminar that helps both faith-based and values-based organizations diminish bullying.
He is a Boys Varsity Soccer Coach in Southern Oregon, where he was voted Coach of the Year twice, and where he is also a member of the Board of Trustees. He and his wife Sandy have three teenagers and live in Medford, Oregon. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 2012 Dec 10
Famed painter Vincent van Gogh created this seemingly beautiful painting of The Church at Auvers. But look closely: No doors. It's how he felt after being denied priesthood, and this is how a growing number of families feel, especially those with special-needs children, due to the solvable but challenging problem of bullying.
Wendy (her real name) writes: "Bullying is why we finally left the church for good. Our special needs child was being picked on by 'good Christian kids' in Sunday School and youth group. Thankfully he doesn’t have the self-awareness to be cognizant of the cruelty, but his sister does, and even though she alerted 'good Christian leaders' as to what was going on, NOTHING was done. After several kids picked on both brother and sister (sister for the apparent crime of having a special needs sibling?), and several emails/phone calls that fell on deaf ears, we were out of there."
This is just one of growing number of letters that The Protectors receive from families of bullying, one of the most under-recognized and anti-family forces today. Bullying, which is now the most prevalent form of violence our children will experience this year, is an intentional form of abuse that has nothing to do with conflict, misunderstanding or related myths. It's about deliberate domination and coercion, often through humiliation, isolation, disdain and contempt on behalf of many who believe they are superior to others. So it's no coincidence that special-needs children are among the most bullied: bullies often believe they are children of a lesser god, unworthy of respect and dignity. Bullying represents some of the darkest and least recognized sins within human nature.
We need people of faith, conviction and compassion to join us in this righteous work created in advance for us to do (Eph 2:10). If we care about the health, purpose and reputation of the Church, then we must be willing to tackle this growing problem. Because Wendy and her family don't just feel betrayed by the Church. Unrecognized and confronted bullying makes people feel betrayed by God, especially when it takes place inside the Church walls.
No one at Wendy's former church intended to be so blind and ignorant to the tell-tale signs of bullying, and in the process fail to minister upon so many levels. Like most in ministry, they have no training when it comes to bullying. Those in ministry are called to a higher standard, and part of that standard is the ability to recognize and intervene against intentional cruelty and in more extreme cases, evil.
We want to help more churches, Christians schools and related organizations diminish bullying--but we currently cannot meet the tremendous need alone. Many Christian organizations can't afford our entire program. That's why we created our introductory, Hero in You faith-based DVD and curriculum. Through this upcoming and inexpensive resource, more organizations will be able to spread God's love, mercy and justice. But we need your help completed this resource that is unlike any other in the United States.
We have set a modest goal of $12,500 that will allow us to not just complete this one-of-a-kind project but also make it available for little if any cost to those in need. We have a long way to go in order to help the Church fulfill its mission and purpose, and we hope you'll join us. To partner, click here: Hero in You Faith-Based Anti-Bullying Program. Campaign ends December 31.