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Thursday, June 02, 2022


by Tamara Kreutz

Advocates for abuse victims at a rally outside the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas in 2018. Credit: Jeffrey Mcwhorter/Associated Press via The New York Times.

For the victims of the Southern Baptist Convention’s sex abuse coverup, whose stories were hidden, twisted, and heaped with shame to protect spiritual leaders of the SBC as well as to the victim of Pastor John Lowe II, of New Life Christian Church, whose abuse was cast as adultery.

“Then it happened one evening that David arose from his bed and walked on the roof of the king’s house. And from the roof he saw a woman bathing, and the woman was beautiful to behold.” II Samuel 11:2

Religious tradition placed Bathsheba on her roof
performing a striptease for the king—a bullseye 
view of her naked body on display: breasts dripping 

in nectar, smooth curve of her hips that glistened
like jewels, and her pubic hair—a lily between her legs.
Tradition imagines her hands sliding over her wet 

body—washing and touching and rubbing.
It says her beauty brought low God’s anointed 
one. Pastors brand her a stumbling block—

but David cast her from his bed,
his semen trickling out of her like blood.
I imagine she stood, her head bowed, her arms 

embracing her own ravaged body for comfort,
as she shuffled back home and closed her shutters
to shut out the king’s hidden gaze.

I imagine her crouched in the darkness, washing
and washing and rubbing away memory of David’s
hands on her breasts, his mouth on her belly—

memory of him between her legs—but his touch
was branded on her skin, as much a part of her future 
as the seed he planted in her womb. No one calls their child

Bathsheba, a name dripping with shame, though David’s 
namesakes number the stars. She is remembered
as temptress but he as a man after God’s own heart.

Tamara Kreutz is an English Language Arts teacher and a poet who currently resides in Illinois, though she will soon move to Antigua, Guatemala. She began writing poetry early in the pandemic, and through poetry, she found order, peace, and joy in a turbulent, uncertain time.