“Zingcreed – thinking aloud about religion. A personal polemic by Peter Turner, M.A., M.Sc.”
It makes me both sad and sick to be covering such a topic as sexual abuse of children on my Zingcreed blog. The appalling truth is though that I am not representing the reality of the church today if I write over 90 Posts and don’t mention it. Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me” not “Use my name as a front so you can get access to innocent children and make them suffer.”
Is Christianity worse than other religions in this respect? I don’t know – I’ve not seen the data; but as is the way with blogs I shall express my opinion – for what it’s worth – based on anecdotal evidence alone.
The elderly head honcho at a mosque I frequently pass got his photo on the front cover of the local paper last year. He had allegedly been molesting young kids (in the plural) who came to the mosque on Saturday mornings for Quran lessons. If you are a Christian do you feel any better knowing that it’s not just your religion where such betrayals of trust occur? Well, you shouldn’t.
In America, male buddhist leaders got a reputation some years ago. It seems a lot of young female devotees were taken advantage of by these men whom they thought they could turn to for spiritual guidance.
Even In the “progressive”, “radical” Christian circles that I monitor there was a recent accusation made by a female student against against a world-renowned American academic. I know that man’s work and I admire it. I find it unbelievable and very depressing that a person with such clear and helpful analyses could be accused of such a thing as rape. Should I purge my mind – and these blogs- of his insights? Should one ignore the Ride of the Walkyries because Wagner who composed it was anti-semitic? Probably not. But justice should be done. Retributive justice (surely the traditional Christian approach) or Restitutional justice (more Christian by far in my view)? In other words Revenge (cut his balls off) or Victim support (perpetrator to recompense the child and submit to a counselling/curing/healing process.) Frankly not my area of expertise and I’m sure it shows!
I hope to summarise the 3 official reports into Irish catholic child abuse in a future blog.
SDA COVER UP
While staying with relatives in the Antilles I dip into the local papers. On 24 July 2013 there were two separate cases reported of child abuse by Ministers of religion. Of course the media love stories like these – the scandal, the tittle-tattle, the muck raking all boost sales. But such naming and shaming must have a positive effect too.
- It reminds the public that you can’t trust anyone 100%, especially male authority figures
- It makes the public aware that men of the cloth are just as prone to temptation as laymen
- It allows one to dispassionately consider correct courses of action after such assaults by comparing different “case studies” that don’t involve you personally
- It enables Christians to evaluate the responses of different denominations – transparency plus immediate action or cover up?
In the first case a 65 year old married Baptist Minister with kids of his own allegedly abused a 13 year old girl belonging to a family in his congregation. The girl reported the incident to her parents and the man was in handcuffs before the day was out, and, flash flash , his mugshot graced the tabloids the next morning. So, immediate action but by the police not the Baptist authorities, whose reaction to the allegations still hadn’t appeared in the press several days later.
The Seventh day Adventist preacher reported in the same paper on the same day had been having sexual relations with under-age girls in his congregation for two years AND THE CHURCH HIERARCHY KNEW ABOUT IT AND DID NOTHING.
“I accuse” the SDAs of aiding and abetting child abuse. When asked by the press why they hadn’t done anything they had no answer. I guess – just like the Catholics, they covered up to protect the church’s “good name”. Ha! Look at it now! Are they simply going to pass him along to another parish like the Catholics have done repeatedly? No the police are now on the case . I hope this abuser who betrayed the trust of his flock gets the maximum sentence possible.
- Both churches, Baptist and Adventist, need to set up commissions to look into the whole area of priest-lay relations.
- Codes of conduct should be drawn up.
- Examples of best practice shared around;
- Clergy should be retrained and sensitised to the issues.
- More female Ministers should be recruited.
- A counselling service for Ministers should be set up.
All this is off the top of my head. If a dumbo like me can think this up for himself in 10 seconds flat then so can the church. Know what? I guarantee they don’t do it. Like expecting the SDA to learn from the RCs whom they have proved mathematically to be lead by Satan (See LOL blog #4) it just ain’t going to happen.
Oh, and another thing – how about compensating the victims and their families. An official apology. A financial package. Psychological counselling for the trauma. Just for starters.
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