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National

NC: Sheriff bans sex offenders from church

ROBBINSVILLE, N.C. – A sheriff in one of North Carolina’s smallest counties told sex offenders they can’t attend church services, citing a state law meant to keep them from day care centers and schools.

Sheriff Danny Millsaps, in Graham County, told the registered offenders about his decision on Feb. 17, according to a letter obtained by the Asheville Citizen-Times on Friday. Full Article

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  1. MS

    Plenty of large churches in CA have some sort of school or daycare that operates during the week or on the weekend while the adults attend the normal “adult” service. I seriously hope this is challenged. I’m guessing this is NOT what was intended or meant by the law. Let’s continue to trample the constitution in order to protect the children from the big bad wolf.

  2. c

    I’ve been attending Sunday services at a church with a K-12 school. I’m always wondering if I’m in violation. Same for my kid’s gymnastics, etc. Do I need to tell the Pastor and owners and get them to green light my being there with my kids?
    If anyplace should be sacred it should be church, school on site or not.

    • Timmr

      I had thought freedom of religion was guaranteed under the Constitution. For many denominations I can’t see it is even possible to practice your religion without participating in the communal ceremonies of your chosen church.

  3. j

    Another podunk sherrif with a podunk size brain doing what comes natural the land of Jim Crow.

  4. mch

    Knew this was coming, but I hope someone sues the hewll out of him and makes him a believer!
    I have a degree in Theology, had been active in church since 1972 and recently decided to stop going to church, simply because it’s a liability now. All it takes is one complaint and SWAT and the news come knocking. I’ll worship in the peace, quiet and relative security of my home.

  5. Bluewall

    I am happy I’m in a state with a group marching against the insanity

  6. Jo

    YAY! Now this will finally start getting challenged.

  7. Q

    So…this guy just woke up one morning and decided that registrants were a threat to kids in churches?!?!?!

    I wonder what part of

    ” A state Superior Court judge eventually ruled the law, as applied to churches, was unconstitutional.”

    in regards to registrants attending church this anti american doesn’t get?

  8. mk

    My hub has not been able to attend church since he left prison.
    His first PO was adamant that he not attend.
    ok fine.
    but wow. really. How does that help anyone?
    just attending. Not singing in the choir or teaching bible study or caticisim (spelling sorry)

  9. Guy

    I figured I would post this here.

    Okay, so here goes — It’s been a while since I’ve commented on here but I’m on the registry and have been for a while now.

    Being on the registry means that you are functionally banished from being a full member of society. It impacts every aspect of your life — your living situation, housing, jobs, travel, friendships, romantic relationships, education, you name it. It is so easy to let it, for lack of a better word, become your identity. That being a sex offender is the most salient thing about you, regardless of what your crime was, how long ago it was, what has happened since, and who you are now.

    Church, for me, has played an important role in changing that. When I started attending my church, I told the pastors my story and they didn’t blink an eye. I didn’t tell anyone else about my past, but I attended services, volunteered, and did what I suppose everyone else who goes to church does which is be a part of that community.

    Eventually, my story became general knowledge in the congregation because of a media story. I went to church the day after the story ran, not knowing what the reception was going to be. Instead of hate, people showed me love, hugged me, and told me I was in the right place.

    I was a sex offender, and it didn’t matter. My experience with church began to show me how I did not have to be defined by my crime; it’s an experience that runs contrary to all the other effects that the registry brings about in people on it. It is, for all intents and purposes, a modern day scarlet letter made indelible in this information age of ours.

    I understand that there’s fear about sex offenders, and I understand that everyone wants to keep their kids safe. Maybe excommunicating sex offenders from the body politic of modern society makes people feel safer, but I wonder if having a group of people who can never be anything but the worst thing that they’ve ever done makes it more likely that they just give up on trying to do anything differently. How does that make anyone safer?

    So I’m disheartened to read stories like this. I get that there aren’t many easy answers, but surely this can’t be one of them.

  10. David

    The former minister at my church spoke with me after services one day, he said a member of the congregation had seen me on the Registry. He said we should talk. I said I was available anytime, but he never contacted me or spoke with me after that, so I guess it was just a way of saying, “we’re aware and we’re keeping an eye on you.”
    (Note: my offense was 20 years ago and consensual.)
    I still attend, but am now self-marginalized: don’t talk to others much, don’t participate, don’t share. I listen to the sermon then leave. I get annoyed when they talk about civil rights, prison reform, or reaching out to marginalized populations. Guess it makes them feel good to talk about it, harder to take action. It’s rather sad: they can’t even reach out to one of their own right in their midst.

    • Jo

      Thanks for sharing David. Yep, I just stopped going all together. This society has done its best to make us feel shunned. Can’t travel outside of the country, have lost touch with all my friends and family because I got kicked off Facebook, can’t get a loan for my business because of a 20 year old conviction, and don’t go to church because of the inevitable, well, just what you experienced. And dating? Yeah, that’s always fun. I received a life sentence, obviously, despite what I was sentenced to, which was a long time ago.

    • td777

      At my previous church, the entire congregation knew about my offense, were supportive while I was on parole, and were great support after parole. At my current church, not that many know, but a few do, including the pastor. I don’t shy away from being active in the church, including social events. I know the restrictions the law puts on me, and abide by them. If anyone finds out I’m on the registry, I simply talk to them, explain the reason I’m on it and how God has moved in my life. If they really are Christians, they don’t hold my mistakes of the past against me. I will follow what the law requires of me, I understand how many of my rights I’ve lost because of this, but I refuse to let it define me.

  11. Gerald

    The Devil made him do it!

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