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Is there a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about ? If so, here’s your chance. If you have a question you’d like me to answer or a subject you’d like me to write about , please leave your request in the comment section. Any subject…ask away.

Doing this from time to time helps me understand what is important to the readers of this blog. I have plenty of subjects to busy myself with, but I would love to hear from you,

Thanks in advance for helping me improve  this blog.

Churches That Abuse, Why Good People Do Bad Things and Why Bad People Do Bad Things Part 1

elmer gantry

Is Your Pastor an Elmer Gantry? Are You Sure? How Can You Know?

Churches attract all kinds of people with varying motivations for being a part of a particular religion. I spent fifty years in the Independent Baptist/Non-Denominational/Evangelical church. When it comes to other religions, I only know what I read in the media. The experiences and observations I share in this post come from the fifty years I spent in the Independent Baptist/Non-Denominational/Evangelical church, first as a parishioner, and later as a pastor. I spent twenty-five years in the pastorate, pastoring churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas.

While I am no longer a Christian or a pastor, I do keep myself informed about the Independent Baptist/Non-Denominational/Evangelical church. Just because I no longer believe doesn’t mean that my experiences and observations are now, suddenly, invalid or lack value. Some Christians try to marginalize or invalidate my writing by suggesting that since I am no longer a Christian, or may have never been a Christian, my experiences and observations can safely be ignored or ridiculed. I will leave it to the readers of this blog to decide whether what I write has value. I suspect, knowing my readers as I do, that what follows will resonate with many of them,

The Christian church attracts people with ulterior motives. Generally, Christian people are very trusting. When someone gives a testimony of redemption most Christians readily embrace the lost sheep that is now found. Tales of addictions, sexual immorality, prison, violence, and the like find a sympathetic ear with most Christians. The worse the sinner, the greater the testimony of God’s wonderful, saving grace.

There is no doubt that many sinful, fallen people have found deliverance through what they believe is the saving work of Jesus Christ. Many vile people now live productive, grace filled lives as born again Christians.  They are to be commended for the change that has taken place in their lives. While I no longer embrace the Christian church and its message of saving grace, I am quite ready to admit that religion transforms and changes multitudes of people.

Because Christian people are trusting and accept people at face value, they are an easy mark for people who have evil intentions. In among the sheep are criminals, thieves, child abusers, and sexual deviants, to name a few. These people make an outward show of Christianity, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves seeking sheep to devour. This is true not only in the local church, but also in Christian camps, group homes, and Christian schools.

Churches make it easy for deceivers to set up camp in their midst. The deceiver quickly embraces the church family, begins to regularly attend services, and even gives money to the church. They are soon embraced as brother or sister. Before too long they are given access to places of responsibility within the church. They now have access to the treasures of the church. (monetary, physical, spiritual)

Countless churches, after just a short time, readily appoint newcomers to positions of authority within the church. The reason for this is simple. Most churches need a steady supply of new workers. Sadly, many churches practice the four W’s: win them, wet them, work them, waste them. It’s  not uncommon for Baptist churches to turn over their membership every 5 or so years. It is not uncommon to find new church members quickly appointed as deacons, Sunday school teachers, Jr church workers, youth workers, nursery workers, etc. Rarely is the past life of the new church member examined, either through an interview or background check. All that matters is that Jesus saved them.

What I have written above also applies to pastors. Over the course of twenty-five years in the ministry, I candidated at a number of churches. Not one church did a criminal background check. Several churches did check my references, but the references they checked were the references I gave them. Who would ever give a reference of a disgruntled church member or board member?  Every church I candidated at readily accepted the information on my résumé. I found every church to be trusting, and while this is a trait that should be commended, it is a trait that often results in churches hiring men who are deceivers.

Bad people are those who become members of a church for ulterior reasons or they are pastors who have a secret past; who go from church to church preying on unsuspecting churches. Bad people do bad things to trusting children, teens, and adults. They physically and sexually abuse people. They scam people out of their money; sometimes their life savings. They wreak havoc wherever they go. After getting caught, they pack up their wares and go down the road to another church and set up shop. There is no shortage of supply of sincere, trusting, honorable church members.

There are some things that churches can (must) do to keep themselves from being easy marks:

  • Do not allow a person to become a member of the church for at least one year. Do not allow them to hold any office of authority or responsibility. Time will likely expose them for what they really are.
  • Require federal and state criminal background checks on every person who will be in a place of authority or will have contact with children or teenagers. This must be a “no exceptions” policy. These background checks should be repeated annually.
  • Pastors should have an open door policy.  Church members should be encouraged to share any concern they might have.
  • When someone reports abuse of any kind an immediate investigation must be done. This investigation should be performed by someone outside of the church; someone who does not have a vested interest in the church.
  • ALL criminal activity should be reported to the police. ALL abuse should be immediately reported to the police or children services. In Ohio, people in places of authority are REQUIRED to report any abuse they are made aware of. They can be held criminally liable if they do not report it.
  • Churches should thoroughly investigate candidates for the pastorate. State and federal background checks should be done. References should be thoroughly checked. Phone calls should be made to the churches previously pastored. I would even go so far as to send people to the churches he previously pastored or is currently pastoring.
  • Candidates for a church’s open pastorate should be just as diligent,  Churches are notorious for hiding their dirty laundry. Why did the last pastor leave?  Churches, as a whole, can be just as abusive as a pastor or an individual church member.
  • Churches must be diligent in their investigation of new church members and prospective candidates for the pastorate. The unasked question is often the the very thing that ends up biting the church in the ass. Personally, I would record all interviews, along with ANY meetings the church has. Recordings put an end to the he said-she said fights that are far too common in Christian churches.
  • Every church program or class should have a minimum of two workers who are not related. No person should be permitted to teach a class, work with the teenagers, or man the nursery by themselves. If possible, every room should have a window in the door or hall wall.  This allows people walking by to look in at any time.

Just because someone is a teenager or a pre-teen doesn’t mean they should be exempt from the things mentioned above. Many churches staff their nursery, Jr church or vacation bible school with young people from the church. (and sometimes from other churches)  Churches assume that young people are safe. This assumption can prove to be deadly. Years ago, we had a teenager in our church who was a nice young man. Likeable. Easy going. Oh, and he spent two years in a juvenile detention center for sexual abuse.

The church attracts bad people who do bad things. Unless churches are diligent in protecting themselves,  they will continue to be easy targets for abuse. The old adage is true, better safe than sorry. A genuine Christian will not be offended if the church is diligent in its protection of its children and teenagers.

Evangelical Cannibalism, How New Evangelical Churches Grow

cool church

If where you live is anything like NW Ohio, new Evangelical churches are sprouting up like weeds in a gravel parking lot. You know, the weeds that keep returning no matter how much Roundup you spray on them. Here in Defiance County, they have spiffy new names, hiding the fact that they are generic, mostly Baptist, churches. They present themselves as fresh, new, exciting places to worship God, complete with a relational pastor and the best damn worship band in town. (props to the Ohio State marching band) One local new church called itself Fresh Life. Two years later, Fresh Life turned into same old shit, different building, and the pastor felt called to go somewhere else.

Here in Defiance County, Ohio there is zero need for new churches. We already have over one hundred churches for 37,000 people. The population is aging and in decline and almost everyone professes to be a Christian. God, guns, and Christianity are on display everywhere one looks. Out of the closet atheists are few, and even traditionally liberal churches tend to be conservative. Why then are there a plethora of new churches?

I’ll give the Independent Baptist church movement credit for one thing: their churches are initially and primarily built on evangelism. Granted, they think everyone who doesn’t believe like they do is a non-Christian and headed for hell, but they do make a concerted effort to evangelize the unchurched.

I was taught in college that the best way to start a church was to find the meanest, baddest man in town and win him to Jesus. If this man became a Christian and started living for Jesus, it would be the best possible advertisement for the church. Here in Defiance County, I am not the meanest, baddest man in town, but I am arguably considered the resident atheist who hates God and Christianity. I would think that pastors would be lining up at my door trying to win the preacher turned atheist to Jesus. In the eight years Polly and I have lived in the shadow of five Evangelical churches, not one preacher has knocked on our door.

In the 1970’s,  the charismatics came to this area and began pillaging local established churches. Overnight, churches lost members and income. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, these new churches experienced meteoric membership and income growth. Today, these same churches are in decline as their members move on to the latest, greatest church in town. You see, it’s not about Jesus, worship, or even doctrine. It’s all about getting the best show for the dollar.  Entertainment driven Evangelicals want to be pampered and have their felt needs met. Fail to do this and they will leave, complaining that they are not being fed or God is leading them elsewhere. If you want to study religiously driven narcissism, just stop by one of these new Matt Chandler, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Bill Hybels, Ed Young, Andy Stanley, Perry Noble, Steven Keller wanna-be churches. Services are consumer driven buffets for fat Christians who are only interested in having their felt needs met.

Where do most of the members of these type of churches come from? Other local churches. Overwhelmingly, their growth is transfer growth. One new church in Defiance has multiple services filled with people who used to attend another local church. Church leaders think they are being blessed by God, but what they are really doing is cannibalizing other churches. I am sure there are a few new converts, but, for the most part, the growth is driven by people changing pews.

And here’s the thing…a decade or so from now, another new, glitzy, we have the most awesome hip preacher in town church will come to town and Christians will leave the old-new church for the new one. I have watched this happen time and again, like the rising and setting of the sun. Evangelicalism is driven not by devotion to God ,care for the lost, or care for the sick and hungry, but by a narcissistic need to be relevant. This is why they spend enormous amounts of money on buildings, staff, technology, and feed lot fattening programs for Christians.

What’s really happening is that Evangelicals are changing what club they belong to. And that’s fine as long as Evangelicals are willing to admit this. However, they aren’t willing to admit that their new hip hop church is just their old church with a bigger sound system, better drum player, and a man who can really “speak” to them.

I watch from afar, amused at their self-absorbed attempts to be relevant in a culture that increasingly has no interest in what they are selling. Like when a town becomes saturated with fast food restaurants and they begin  trying to steal each others customers, new Evangelical churches come to areas already saturated with Jesus and steal members from other churches. It’s fun to watch. May the best band win.

Dear Parkview, I Know I Am Fat

parkview physicians

Snark ahead

My primary care doctor is associated with Parkview Physicians Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He works out of the Bryan, Ohio office. I’ve had many of my recent tests done at the Bryan office or Parkview Regional Medical Center in Fort Wayne. Last Wednesday, I had a colonoscopy done at Parkview Regional. Good news, no cancer.Bad news, I am still sick.

With every office visit and procedure, Parkview generates reams of papers that are given to patients to educate them about their health. Last Wednesday was no exception. While I am sure Parkview desires to have an educated patient base, I find the papers a waste of time. Most  often, they tell me what I already know. Take the last batch of papers; here’s part of what was printed:

parkview hospital

OMG, I am overweight. RED ALERT! RED ALERT! Obesity Ahead!

Most fat people know they are fat, and putting their weight in red with an explanation point is only pointing out the OBVIOUS.

My blood pressure was great, as was my pulse, respiration, and O2 levels. Why no star beside these? Come on Parkview, encourage your patients instead of always pointing out their failings. I want to be affirmed not fat shamed.

This is what technology has given us; reams of paper that do little to improve or change our health. I suspect most people don’t even bother to read the papers. I usually glance at them, looking for something I don’t already know, and then I put them through the shredder.

I love my doctor and the treatment I receive at Parkview so I don’t want them to think I am an unhappy patient. But, I am tired of warnings about my weight or the other medical deficiencies I have. I get it, I should weigh less. Move on…and stop putting my weight in red.

 

 

Good News! If You Go to Hell, Here’s How You Can Get Out

get out of hell free card

According to Evangelical commenters and preachers, I will end up in hell some day because of my unwillingness to worship the Christian God. Since being told this 666,666,666 times, I have diligently scoured the universe to find a get out hell free card. Well today, thanks to a reader named Scott, I’ve found a way to escape the flames of hell. Granted, no one has ever succeeded in doing so, but since I know about this ahead of time, I can plan.

how to get out of hell

Comic by Wiley Miller of Non Sequitur

My One and Only Statement on Josh Duggar and the Duggar Family

josh duggar with ted cruz

Josh Duggar with Ted Cruz

A few readers are surprised I haven’t written anything of substance about Josh Duggar sexually molesting five girls when he was a teenager. One reason for not writing anything is because there are plenty of news stories and blog articles about the matter, so all I would be doing is repeating what others have said. Suzanne, my dear friend at No Longer Quivering, has posted numerous articles on Josh Duggar. I urge you to check them out:

Here’s what I think:

  1. The Duggar family have a closet full of secrets
  2. Josh Duggar committed felony sexual assault when he molested five little girls
  3. The Duggar family covered up Josh Duggar’s crimes
  4. Their church and elders covered up Josh Duggar’s crimes
  5. Advanced Training Institute covered up Josh Duggar’s crimes
  6. The police covered up Josh Duggar’s crimes
  7. TLC ignored rumors of Josh Duggar’s crimes

The Duggar family, all of them, have long been publicity whores, allowing the public unprecedented access to their life. They should have made sure there were no skeletons in their closet. They didn’t, and now they are paying the price. They will be remembered in the same light as June, Honey Boo Boo’s Mom. While I derive a small bit of perverse pleasure from seeing House Duggar brought to the ground, I remind myself of Josh Duggar’s victims and the Duggar children. They are the innocent ones and they will ultimately be affected the most. Their lives, from this day forward, will never be the same. Their parents didn’t ask their permission when they started pimping them out to TLC. They are collateral damage left in the wake of their older brother’s criminal acts and their parents willingness to use/misuse them for material gain.

One good thing to come from Josh Duggar’s crimes is that a bright light is now shining on the Quiverfull and home schooling movement. What was once done in secret is now known by all. This is a good thing. Duggar’s crimes also shines the light on Bill Gothard and Advanced Training Institute. Again, this is a good thing.  The only way to kill the fundamentalism of the Duggar family, Bill Gothard, and the Quiverfull movement, is to continue to expose their deceit, hypocrisy and, in some cases, crimes.

Let the defenders and supporters of the Duggar family whine, complain, fume, and object.  Their words fall on deaf ears. They are more interested in maintaining things as they are than they are defending those who are harmed by fundamentalist Christian beliefs and practices. Those of us who daily make known the foibles of fundamentalist Christians know that our greater objective is to help those harmed by the pernicious teachings of people like the Duggars, their church, and the religious circles they are a part of.

Dear Tony Kornheiser, You Don’t Know What You Are Talking About When it Comes to Josh Duggar

tony kornheiser

ESPN Pardon the Interruption Host Tony Kornheiser

I am a long time viewer of sports show Pardon the Interruption (PTI), hosted by Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. Kornheiser also has a daily radio program. For some inexplicable reason, Kornheiser decided to address the Josh Duggar case. Here’s part of what he said:

“Wasn’t it addressed awhile back? And the only reason he’s quitting his job now is because it became public. […] You have the right to address it privately. […] He was a kid!”

Really? He was a kid? You have the right to address it privately? Why is Kornheiser making light of Duggar molesting five little girls? Does he really know anything about the Duggar family, Josh Duggar, and their fundamentalist religion? I doubt it. This is a clear case of Kornheiser opening his mouth without having any understanding of the matter.

If, at age 14 (almost 15), Josh had raped one of his sisters, would Kornheiser respond the same way? Hey, he was a kid, he didn’t understand the seriousness of what he was doing. Is this what Kornheiser would say? I doubt it. But, maybe he would. Maybe he thinks 14-year-old boys should get a pass for what is done in their youth. Perhaps his comments are a reflection of his age, hailing from a generation that routinely turned a blind eye to sexual abuse and rape. Well Tony, it’s 2015 not 1950.

And here’s what I do know. If Josh Duggar had molested Tony Kornheiser’s daughters, I guarantee you he wouldn’t be so understanding.

Finally, A Fundamentalist Who Hates the Duggar Family

duggar family

I don’t plan on writing specifically about the Josh Duggar affair. I assume anyone who reads this blog knows all they need to know about Josh Duggar’s molestations of young girls, including his sisters. What I do plan to post are a few quotes from the past week or so that I think readers might find interesting.

Zsuzsanna Anderson is the wife of Steven Anderson, pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. I wrote a full length post on Anderson and you can read it here. Here’s what Zsuzsanna Anderson had to say about the Duggars:

– The Duggars, it seems, have always been running in circles known to attract freaks and weirdos. Sadly, many Christians who grow sick of churches pushing birth control, Christian school, and nurseries find themselves attracted to the home church, repentance, patriarchal crowd. From what I have read, it seems the Duggars left a soulwinning, independent Baptist church to join a “home church,” and later got tied in with ATI and Vision Forum, the heads of which have both resigned amidst sex scandals involving much younger women. Guarding our kids against abuse in this day and age is vital.

– I have zero doubt whatsoever that for Joshua Duggar to do what he did (to his own sisters no less), he himself at some time before that, or even at that point in time, was the subject of abuse.

– Not all who are abused become abusers themselves, and it is never an excuse. I do believe that without the perpetrators being punished properly (which would be swift execution), it is virtually impossible for victims to overcome abuse, unless they have the Holy Spirit of God to help them through it.

– The Duggars promote a false gospel that calls for “repentance from sins,” rather than, what the Bible teaches, a turning from false religion or whatever else we are trusting to get us into heaven other than Jesus. While I have know many good Christians who truly were saved become mixed up in this doctrine of “there will be / has to be some change,” many of which later reversed course and realized that their definition of repentance was works salvation, the Duggars push this point more than most, and associate with obviously false prophets such as Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, promote the damnable “Hell’s best kept secret,” etc. Because of this, I have only ever given them a 50/50 chance of truly being saved. Unless I talked to them in person, it is impossible for me to give my opinion on it accurately just because as with everything else, they are so wishy-washy it’s hard to put a finger on it. I give their children even less of a chance of being saved, since it seems all they have ever known is this false gospel crowd.

– Being popular and loved by the world is another sign of a false prophet. Then again, while the Duggars enjoyed immense popularity, it was hardly for their Bible preaching/teaching, but rather for their unusual family size and lifestyle. Remember, the show does not promote virtually any doctrine, at all. Besides, they had vehement and vocal haters, too. So their rock star status may or may not be an indicator of being a false prophet.

– It is ridiculous of all these Christian blogs to go on and on about how we are all sinners, we all need grace and forgiveness, etc. Yes, that is all true – but we are not all pedophiles. That is an unnatural desire, only experienced by a reprobate. Even the world, which is happy to excuse most sins and licentious living, is still horrified by child abuse. No, forgiving a pedophile is not a great picture of what the gospel is all about. They have crossed a line where not even God is willing to forgive – why should we?

– Yet with all that being said, and I know I will draw immense hate for this from the trolls on this site, I am not convinced beyond any doubt that Josh Duggar himself had reached that point of being a reprobate pedophile when he did what he did.

One report stated the incident took place the month he turned 14 years old. I consider anyone that is pre-puberty to be a child. Our oldest, who will be 14 in September, is just now in the very beginning stages of puberty from all I can ascertain (thank you, growth hormone-free meat and dairy). Even for a child of course such behavior is vile, perverted, and sinful, and they should and often do know better. But they are not always acting on their own lusts and desires, but in foolishness they are acting out what they themselves have been exposed to. The unpardonable sin of sexual deviance is the fact that they burn with lust after the same gender, after animals, after (in this case) children. Is that what Josh Duggar felt at age 14, or was he, who I am sure was a victim of abuse himself since his family runs in circles replete with reprobates, just acting out the abuse carried out on him earlier, or even at that time? I have no way of knowing the answer to this question for sure. Neither do I need to know, since it is between him and God. He doesn’t go to my church or ever have access to my kids, so I need not waste my time trying to make this important distinction.

My heart breaks for the victims, who will only be able to get over this by the power of God. I am sickened for the children in the family who likely have never been informed of this before, and whose entire lives have just been turned upside down. Imagine that’s your Dad that was just declared to the world to be a pedophile. The new spouses – were they told of issues their young wives are likely to carry with them for life? How to live with such a burden of shame, that has reached international proportions? What great harm has been done to the Bible and God’s way, by allowing a family to be lifted up to such popularity, when this was sure to come out sooner or later, and waved high and low as a banner for why the Bible is wrong and progressives are right. Who are the people that make a living of trying to dig up past evil on a 14-year old?

It was reckless and irresponsible of the Duggars to allow themselves to rise to stardom, knowing about such “skeletons” in the closet. Even if we set aside “Be sure your sin will find you out,” it was insane to think they could become celebrities, and this not come to light with as many people as were involved in it. Did they consider the repercussions on their son’s life, who would even under the best of circumstances have been reeling to recover from this (if that is even possible)? Did they think the world, who was looking for any way to attack them, was going to look the other way on this? Great shame has been brought upon the cause of Christ through their desire to be rich, popular, or both.

So, a sad story all around, on every level. One that brings shame, to some degree, on anyone who names the name of Christ. e have for years held and publicly stated that the Duggars are liberal and worldly, even as they are known for being ‘fundamentalists.’ Maybe their beliefs are, but what they are publicly willing to take a stand for is weak and anemic.

One comment. I love how Anderson chides the Duggar family for being publicity whores, ignoring the fact that she and her husband have been publicity seekers for years. Steven Anderson goes out of his way to get his name in the press. How is this any different from what the Duggar family is doing? Besides, all of us who are bloggers want, desire, or need the fame and publicity our writing brings. None of us write and hope no one reads it, so Zsuzsanna Anderson is being disingenuous on this point.

Is Clergy Sexual Infidelity Rare?

steamy romance

Pastor Bob shows Church Member Felicia How Much Jesus Loves Her

Repost. Updated and Corrected.

In October 2013, Doug Phillips, of Vision Forum/Vision Forum Ministries confessed that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a woman who is not his wife. Defenders of Phillips took to their blogs, websites, Twitter, and Facebook, to do damage control on the behalf of Phillips and the patriarchal movement. One such defender is Voddie Baucham, the African-American version of Doug Phillips, sans the scandal. Baucham is an Independent Baptist pastor.  (you can find Baucham’s website here)

A Christian woman by the name of Julie Anne, an acquaintance of mine, posted an article on the Spiritual Sounding Board blog about Doug Phillips. In her post she had this quote from Voddie Baucham:

Dennis,You ask, “How many times do we see this in Christian leadership?” The answer may surprise you, but it is actually quite rare. There are hundreds of thousands of churches in America. We hear of these types of things on a national basis when they happen to high profile people. However, considering the number of people in Christian leadership, the numbers are quite small.As to your other point, most men who go through something like this never recover. Of course, there are exceptions. Moreover, there are some circles wherein things like this, and much worse, are merely swept under the rug. However, in circles where leadership is taken seriously, it is very difficult for a man to come back from things like this. People have long memories, and tend to be rather unforgiving. (emphasis mine)

Baucham repeats the oft told lie that clergy sexual misconduct is quite rare. I have heard this line more times than I can count. It is an attempt to prop up the notion that clergy are more moral and ethical than most people; that they are pillars of virtue and morality.  If Baucham doesn’t know better, he should. His statement is easily disproven.

In a study by  J. Krejcir Ph.D. of  the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute, Krejcir came to the following conclusions:

  • Of the one thousand fifty (1,050 or 100%) pastors we surveyed, every one of them had a close associate or seminary buddy who had left the ministry because of burnout, conflict in their church, or from a moral failure.
  • Three hundred ninety-nine (399 or 38%) of pastors said they were divorced or currently in a divorce process.
  • Three hundred fifteen (315 or 30%) said they had either been in an ongoing affair or a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner.

So much for clergy sexual infidelity being rare.

Numerous studies have been conducted concerning sexual infidelity among married people. The percentage varies widely, but it is safe to say that 10-20% of married people are sexually unfaithful to their spouse. The percentage is higher for men than it is for women.

We know the clergy are not morally or ethically superior. They are, in every way, human just like the rest of us. In the United States and Canada, there are approximately 600,000 clergy. According to the  Hartford Institute for Religion and Research, this number includes active clergy and “retired clergy, chaplains in hospitals, prisons and the military, denominational executives, and ordained faculty at divinity schools and seminaries.”  This number does not include clergy who are affiliated with independent churches.

If 10-20% of married people commit adultery, and clergy are no different from non-clergy, then this means that between 60,000 and 120,000 clergy have committed adultery.  Again, so much for clergy sexual infidelity being rare.

Keep in mind, this is only the number of CONSENSUAL sexual relationships. Every month, the Freedom from Religion Foundation newsletter reports clergy misconduct on their Black Collar Crime Blotter page. In the October 2013 newsletter, there are over sixty reports of clergy being accused, arrested, charged, convicted, sued or imprisoned for criminal acts, many of which are sexual in nature. (this is ONE month) As we know from cases like Bill Wininger, Bob Gray, and David Hyles, predator clergy can prey on children, teens, and women for decades without ever being caught.  Even when they are exposed they are often not prosecuted.

To suggest that there is not a HUGE problem with clergy infidelity and criminal behavior is a denial of the facts on the matter. Like the Catholic church, the Protestant and Evangelical church have their own their own sex scandal. As I have said before, Evangelicals love to point to the Catholic church sex scandal, ignoring their own increasing problem with sexual infidelity, sexual abuse, and predator clergy. Catholic priests seem to prefer little boys and teen boys; Baptists and Evangelicals tend to prefer teen girls and vulnerable women. None of these groups have the high moral ground and my advice to them is that they need to shut the hell up.

Yes, most clergy are faithful to their spouse. Yes, most clergy are not sexual abusers or predators. But, should we really take any great comfort in this fact, knowing how many clergy can’t keep their pants zipped up or use their place of power to abuse and prey on those who trust them? I think not.