Christian celebrity culture is toxic.
And it has terrible long-term effects.
Ravi Zacharias was the head of an international, $40-million-a-year apologetics ministry devoted to explaining and justifying Christianity to a watching world. The position brought him international fame and fortune. When he died there were an outpouring of hagiographies of him from Christian circles.
Ravi lied about his academic credentials, claiming degrees from Oxford and Cambridge, along with a fake doctorate. Worse was his years-long sexting scandal with a married woman that he repeatedly lied about and, more recently, the discovery that he was a part owner of a number of “massage clinics” where he sexually abused women.
Zacharias and his ministry apparently spent years denying, obfuscating, and covering up piles of evidence of his misconduct. Finally, after Ravi’s death, the executive committee of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries has admitted that there is credible evidence that he engaged in sexual misconduct for many years. In a statement clearly designed to claim a show of transparency, the board noted: “We are heartbroken at learning this but feel it necessary to be transparent and to inform our staff, donors, and supporters at this time, even while the investigation continues.”
In truth, the board seems to have been far from transparent. Only now, almost a year after Ravi’s death, and after years of obfuscation, has the board finally admitted that the stories about Ravi are true. To its credit, the board hired a law firm that has already investigated and authenticated many of the allegations and has engaged victim-advocate Rachael Denhollander as a consultant and a separate compliance firm to evaluate RZIM’s board. But frankly, for many, this comes far too late.
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SOURCE: Faith and Freedom Institute, Caleb Verhois
Caleb Verbois is an assistant professor of political science at Grove City College and an affiliated scholar at the John Jay Institute. He teaches American Politics and Political Theory and specializes in American constitutional thought.