Quote for the day, — OR —
Why we publicize abuse

Americans wrongly assume that churches are safe for their children to attend. They are not.

Bruce Gerencser, ex-pastor

Proportionally, there are far more screwed-up men standing behind the pulpit than sitting in front of it, and that’s not merely a coincidence. Troubled men are preferentially attracted to careers in the clergy; they believe it will help them overcome their proscribed attraction or, at least, put them in an environment where their interest can’t be acted upon. Christianity’s unwholesome attitude toward sex attracts the unhealthy.

And the marketing lie that the devout are somehow ‘better people’ protects them.

Overwhelmingly, when a congregation learns that Pastor Bubba is w-a-a-a-y too friendly with the children’s choir, it responds by blaming the victim and rallying around the pastor; exceptions to that rule are all but unknown.

Now, consider all that happens between an instance of abuse and me, or Gerencser, or some other blogger, linking to the story.

  • The abuse.

  • A decision by the victim to notify parents or some other responsible adult.

  • That adult believes the victim.

  • That adult notifies the police.

  • The police decide to investigate.

  • The police believe there has been abuse.

  • The prosecutor believes there has been abuse, and that he can prove it in court.

  • A judge believes there has been abuse and signs an arrest warrant.

  • An arrest.

  • The newspaper learns of it and decides to publish a story.

  • A search engine picks-up the story.

Unless every single one of those things happens, you’re never going to find a link to the story on this, or any other, Web site — and there are lots of places where justice can get waylaid. The victim might be afraid to tell the story, or tell it to a church member who doesn’t believe it. The detective (or the prosecutor, or the judge, or the newspaper editor) who hears the story might be a member of the concerned church and unable/unwilling to believe it.

The bottom line is this: However many stories we link to, there are lots more that nobody ever hears about. And it is needful that people do hear about them, because the only thing that will defeat the sickness is that decent people say “Enough!” and do something healthy on Sunday morning.

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