Originally posted at The Coalition of the Brave.
Over at Bruce Gerencser’s site, Bruce writes an extensive series about men and women of the clergy who commit crimes. Many of these crimes are of a disturbing sexual nature, and some of them involve children. In my view, Bruce does us a service by highlighting the existence of these crimes. The organisations involved (usually, but not limited to, various denominations of Christianity) are not exactly quick to deal with offenders in their midst, and have historically shielded dangerous elements in their ranks, lest the scandal and horror rock peoples’ faith.
The thing is, if it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be. The presence of these deeply disturbed individuals, who often don’t receive background checks, and are often unsupervised, in places of worship is a serious problem within various branches of Christianity. There is little desire to tackle this, and some Evangelicals have even gone as far as to say the offenders should be forgiven, and that the victims of their terrible crimes should forgive them. Others decry the existence of Bruce’s Black Collar Series as being unfair, that it is a form of bullying, though all Bruce does is reproduce news articles, to spread the word about these stories. There is nothing wrong with that! Highlighting what is a very serious problem, one that causes people harm, is not wrong. Acknowledging the distress and pain caused to the victims and their families is not wrong. Expecting organisations like the Church to take serious steps to stop this is not wrong, and criticising the failure of these organisations to take those steps is not wrong.
I am prepared to say that most Christians would be horrified at the actions of abusers, be they Christian or otherwise, as I am prepared to say that most Christians are good people. There is however a loud minority that offer no empathy or compassion to the victims of these dreadful assaults, preferring instead to be all ‘woe are the abusers, we should sorry for them!’ Some argue that the Bible does not guarantee there will not be victims of crimes such as these. I would say ‘so what?’ That does not provide an excuse for what pastors, who are in positions of trust in their communities, get up to.