The following article expresses an Evangelical Christian viewpoint.
From the Conservative Voice:
It is almost obscene to think that there are people in Bible oriented churches every Sunday who sexually abuse children; however, it is true even in evangelical and fundamental churches! Yes, Virginia, we have sexual child abusers in our best churches! I had read in mainline media that at least 30% of adult women had been molested in their younger days, but I did not believe it was a valid number. Surely, that was propaganda from the screaming feminists. I discovered that I was wrong.
It is a fact that one-third of all children are sexually abused before age 18: About 40% of all females and 30% of males! That number seemed to be impossibly high; however, my wife and I did a national two-year survey during our Christian Couples’ Conferences in Bible teaching churches, and discovered that the number is right on target.
In the last year or so, I have been outraged by the “soft” approach many pastors take toward sexual abuse of children. One example is the Bob Gray case in Jacksonville where the pastor, a friend of mine, admitted to French-kissing little girls in his Christian school. His large church slapped his wrists in a mockery of church discipline and sent him to Germany as a missionary. He should have gone to jail, not Germany. During a visit to the states in May of 06, he was arrested and died November 11, 2007, just before his trial was to begin. His church still refuses to admit their unseemly, untoward, and unscriptural handling of the sin. Gray’s many victims are seeking satisfaction in civil action that could cost the church millions of dollars if a cover-up is proved in court.
One must keep in mind that all sexual abusers of children do not always go on to violent sexual abuse. That is probably true with Bob Gray who admitted to “French-kissing” little girls but strongly denied anything more. Abusers reason “this” to be not as bad as “that,” not acknowledging the seriousness to the victim; however, sexual abuse is any sexual contact with a child or the use of a child for the sexual pleasure of someone else.
Most pastors are shocked to hear that sexual child abuse is prevalent in their churches. They do not know that fact or do not believe that fact, or have chosen to ignore that fact. To recognize the frequency of sexual child abuse, pastors would be forced to deal with it.
Think about it: in each church service, there are men (and maybe some women) who have molested or are molesting a child usually multiple children! Surveys reveal that most child sexual abusers attend church, even your church! Many of those men are viewers of attractive, alluring, and addictive pornography that is affordable, anonymous, and accessible that feeds and promotes their sexual assaults. And most pastors are saying nothing about it! Those same preachers often boast about preaching the truth and standing for family values and personal morality but don’t hone in where the preaching hurts, or helps and heals!
There are many reasons why there is little preaching about sexual child abuse. It is an unpleasant subject. It can make people uncomfortable. We like to think “our crowd” may eat too much from time to time, snatch a peek at some television filth, skip church for a special ball game, or even smoke a cigarette occasionally. But sexual abuse of children? No way, not in “our” congregation. A pastor who thinks like that is willfully ignorant—headed for trouble.
Why do many pastors who boast about “preaching the whole Bible” never preach on sexual sins? Many reasons. First, they may be careless or thoughtless. Second, they may be guilty themselves. Third, they may know they are preaching to powerful members who are guilty. Why kick a sleeping dog that might bite you? Or maybe they are prudes similar to me in my early days when I was uncomfortable saying “pregnant” in the pulpit.
I suggest that all pastors insist that their church board (plus wife, good friends, etc.) hold them accountable for their personal lives and for balance in preaching. Those who are presently involved in sexual sins, especially with children, should not only lose their pulpits, but their freedom. From pulpit to prison! (But sadly, too often back to the pulpit again.)
Transgressing preachers should confess sexual sins today and forsake them. It is astounding that preachers whine, whimper, and weep as they are led away in handcuffs or tremble in anger and fear when reliable evidence is presented during a service about their sexual activities. I have seldom heard of one who can’t live with his secret sins and confesses before he is exposed! Instead, after the exposure he emulates Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, or Ted Haggard!
If, reacting to preaching on sexual child abuse, a man confesses to his pastor that he has sexually assaulted a child, the pastor is obligated to report it to the proper authorities and remove the man from any association with children. Most pastors will be strongly inclined to handle the problem “in house;” however, that is usually illegal and always unwise. One thing that almost all “experts” agree on is that child molesters will continue to molest. I am sure there are exceptions since God will forgive and cleanse a man of all sins—if he is sincere, but are you willing to take the chance that he is sincere? What if the abuser’s next victim is your child or grandchild? What if the victim is killed?
It is time for Protestants and Baptists to stop pointing fingers at the Roman Catholic sex scandal and clean up their own house—church house, that is. No church should ever put anyone on staff, paid or unpaid, who had any involvement in any sexual sins against children. No exceptions. If a former preacher repents and seems to prove his sincerity, he can clean the church, repair buses, act as usher, visit the sick, sing in the choir, etc. Just keep him away from children or youth and out of the pulpit.
To keep himself from temptation and from untrue accusations, a pastor should never counsel anyone alone without an open door or a window in the door. After all, his reputation that has taken a lifetime to build can be lost in a careless moment. Counselors should keep notes on all counseling sessions although realizing that someday a court may demand those notes that I believe should be refused! Stay away from pornography online or off. Permit your wife and assistants to have full access to your mail and your computer.
Committed pastors must raise their voices against this rampant sin of sexual child abuse that is going on in every church. Not to do so makes such a pastor a compromiser, a coward, and a confederate with evil.
Copyright 2007, Don Boys, Ph.D.
Dr. Don Boys is a former member of the Indiana House of Representatives, author of 13 books, frequent guest on television and radio talk shows, and wrote columns for USA Today for 8 years His most recent book is ISLAM: America's Trojan Horse! His websites are www.cstnews.com and www.Muslimfact.com.