Recently, Into Account, an organization (and previous Special Offering at GMC) that provides support to survivors of sexual violence particularly in Anabaptist contexts, made public that they had received numerous reports from women detailing sexual harassment and sexual violence from David Haas, a Catholic songwriter. As of this week, over thirty people have come forward detailing decades of violence, manipulation, and harm. Already, Haas has been removed from Voices Together, the upcoming Mennonite hymnal and many institutions have cut ties with him. Last week, our Worship Committee decided that we will not be singing David Haas's songs in our worship (see the bottom of this email for that list).
We know that many in our community have survived spiritual and physical harm from spiritual leaders. We know that false reports are incredibly rare, and that many who come forward and name names face violence and threats of violence. We know that our religious institutions cover and defend the harmful behavior of powerful people (especially white men). And most of all, we know we are called to stand in the spiritual lineage of Jesus, who teaches us to listen to and learn from the voices on the margins who call out the violence of the powerful.
We are stating this publicly because we want to collectivize the work of healing from sexual and spiritual violence, to make audible in a tiny way the pain that is so often carried silently. If you need support, care, or just a listening ear, please reach out to me. Reach out to others you trust in our community. I know we have much work to do in naming and disrupting violence in our community and our world, and I am grateful to be in it with all of you.
David Haas's songs:
STS 16 Peace before us STS 49 I will come to you in the silence STJ 5 Come and be light for our eyes STJ 13 My soul is filled with joy STJ 94 Blest are they
John Bergen, on behalf of Worship Committee.