Friday, 30 November 2007

response to Brian Robertson's editorial

(You have been brought here via an out-of-date link. This entry is an update)

Three Christmases ago I had to go to the police and file a complaint that someone had made a credible threat on a forum, that he would find out where I lived and hurt me physically.


Because he saw me as an apologist for the Jesus Army because I had refused to back him in a lie. He had made an extremely nasty allegation about Noel Stanton having been involved in child abuse and of the JA protecting pedophiles. And my assertion that the JA I had been a member of cherished its children and would be no more tolerant of child abuse than anyone else, led me not only to those physical threats, but to his claim that in defending the JA, I was defending pedophilia.

Some time afterwards, he admitted that he had no evidence at all for his claims and that he had just been "flinging shit around to see if any of it stuck", but as he was still furious with me for not backing him in the lie, he still baited me on the forum with his claims that I was a defender of pedophiles.....and that I was therefore a danger to the children I teach.

That same Christmas, not only did I tell the police that I had been threatened with violence, but I also told them that the man who wanted to hurt me had promised to find out where I teach and to make an anonymous allegation about pedophilia and some involvement of mine....and showed the police the threatening emails. The police were sympathetic (they get this sort of thing, as authority figures too) but advised me that this was a civil matter and advised me to see a lawyer, which I did through the auspices of my teaching association, which deals with a lot of malicious allegations of this kind. Both the police and my legal adviser took copies of the threats and assured me of their intervention if the threats were carried out.

The character who made that Christmas miserable was Brian Robertson, who has recently taken over an anti-JA Facebook group, which in its intro insinuates that the JA are in some way involved with abusing children, and in one of his threads he has repeated the claims by selectively quoting from the JAWF, in particular from contributions from one lady who was abused as a child but who was not a child in the JA.

This is a case of Brian Robertson repeating the nasty trick of flinging allegations around with no evidence at all, knowing that it will cast people in a bad light, whether it is true or not....and when he brings me into the equation, he is doing so deliberately, out of spite, because he was not backed in the lie.

Robertson suffered a terrible childhood of child abuse which has naturally made him very angry and bitter against teachers; my being a teacher makes me the perfect focus of his hatred (particularly as in private correspondence I tried to smooth things with him by talking about my involvement in child protection). He can kill two birds with one stone: punish me for contradicting his claims about Noel Stanton, while at the same time punishing a teacher for the abuse he suffered at the hands of another.

Robertson's claims that I was a JA apologist were one reason why I started this blog. It provided me with uncensored freedom to express my feelings about the JA and its subsequent effects. I may be misquoted, if anyone can be bothered to read what I have to say anyway, but at least I am free to say my piece in a way which is less likely to be distorted by the personal nastinesses which characterise discussion forums.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Infuriatingly, feeling like a boy again

If you are anything like me you feel like a kid when you talk to your parents. I know that when I talk to my dad I am never as sure of my strongly held opinions....always fearing he will knock them down. We have not too dissimilar opinions, similar taste in books, a shared love of flying, etc, but I am always aware that he has been passionate about these things a good many years longer than me and whether it is this or simply my psychological make-up that is at play, when I am with him, I feel like a boy again.

But it isn't just my parents who can inspire this deference. I was like this with my motorcycle instructor, my mentor in teacher training, my flying instructor and even the deputy head of my last school. There may be some justification for this: I respect their experience and superior knowledge; I am there to learn from them.

But when it comes to feelings of deference on my visit to the JA last year, I despise myself. I am sure a Freudian could have a field day, but despite years of undoing the programming which made me submit to Elders at Bugbrooke, who I later felt had anything but my best interests at heart, I found myself reverting to a child-like state - after 22 years of normality.

I despise this in myself when I am talking to John Campbell. I talked to him briefly on my visit and found him cold and dismissive. Despite his obvious reluctance to accept my efforts at conciliation, I still found myself reluctant to say anything challenging. I had my moment but funked it. I am not sure how much that is me and how much it is because of what it is to be in a JA controlled environment; probably a mixture of the two.