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National

Churches Under Fire for Allowing Sex Offenders to Attend Services

[pjmedia.com – 3/7/19]

Several churches within the Churches of Christ denomination have come under fire for allowing sex offenders to attend services. Critics accuse those churches of failing to care for the victims. Defenders claim that those who are truly repentant should not be turned away. Most likely, this is a debate that is going to find its way into all denominations because the problem of sexual abuse is baring its ugly soul across denominational lines.

The sexual abuse of minors is especially heinous. There is something about the betrayal of a child’s trust and the violent disruption of innocence that causes most of us to respond in extreme ways that we don’t generally respond in the face of other crimes. As a society, we understand that children are to be protected and nurtured. Shamefully, over the last few years, report after report about sexual abuse suffered by children at the hands of pastors, youth pastors, and other church staff members has surfaced. As we rush to examine policies and practices to help ensure the safety of our children, little thought is being given to what becomes of those guilty of the crime and yet are truly repentant.

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  1. RegistrantNotAnOffender

    There is a huge difference between leaders in church who abuse children and those whose offenses had nothing to do with a church or church kids but simply want a place to worship.

    These people would call out Jesus for associating with sinners.

    I know some avoid church because they don’t want to deal with it but I’m thankful to have found a church that accepts me.

    There is also a church near by me that specifically is for sex offenders. Only those 18 and up can attend their services.

    I could have hidden my past but I am glad churches are having these uncomfortable conversations. It forces them to take a stand one way or the other.

    • Will Allen

      I would not calling it “hiding my past”. If you are only attending church, it’s none of their business. In the same way that no one is handing you a dossier about themselves. Further, even talking about it acts as if it is legitimate. It is nothing to be addressed.

  2. R M

    “Several churches within the Churches of Christ denomination have come under fire for allowing sex offenders to attend services.” by whom? What critics?

    Are all “sex offenders” the same? Who the hell are these critics, whoever they are, to judge? The “bible” was written by people, it may or not be the truth, but if you’re going to use it as the honest truth you need to look at the entire scripture and not just one quote.

    Mark 3:28-28: 28 Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter.

    I, for one, lost faith in any god long ago.

    • Will Allen

      The only people freaking out about it are idiots. Unfortunately, everyone is starting to accept that most people in the U.S. are idiots and that we should give a shit about their idiotic opinions.

      When I took my children to church it was quite easy to keep them from being molested. I didn’t just blindly trust everyone that was there, as if they had excluded all “$EX offenders” or something! It’s just stupid.

      • R M

        @Will: “When I took my children to church it was quite easy to keep them from being molested. I didn’t just blindly trust everyone that was there…”. THAT is exactly what people have forgotten… how to take responsibility for those who you bore.

        • Mike

          Well what about the law that states the separation of church and state?

        • RegistrantNotAnOffender

          What about it?

  3. troy

    and who are these critics? id like to know…your going to tell me I cant praise my lord in any church I would like to go to? the next thing these sicko’s will be telling me when to eat,what to think,and believe what they want me to believe……truly Nazi Germany is here

  4. W

    See what mr. Roberts started? Electronic blacklists will proliferate in range and scope.

  5. Lake County

    Jehovah’s Witnesses has had a lot of publicity and lawsuits lately around the world due to them covering up child sex abuse. So now, in their most recent 2019 (confidential) elders manual it says that they should not knock on doors of know registrants. So they have decided to not even preach god’s word to registrants. Registrants are allowed to attend thier services, but they must figure it’s better to not try and convert registrants at all. So much for being Christ like.

    • AJ

      @Lake County:
      “So now, in their [Jehovah’s Witnesses’] most recent 2019 (confidential) elders manual it says that they should not knock on doors of know registrants.”
      —–
      Wow, someone actually stumbled upon a beneficial element to being a RC. Now if only telemarketing/number-spoofing companies would follow a similar policy….

  6. Bo

    Yeah, I remember seeing an old news reel about something similar but it was hard to understand becuase the narratoration was in German.

  7. Henry

    My entire family will never walk through another door of a church in this life time because of how Christians treat us. I don’t care what you did in this life. No should ever bar you from church fellowship. It’s the family of God. Family!!

    The majority of Christians have turned their back on us. That was never meant to be. It’s not the ministry of Jesus. It’s the agenda of the country club, and that is what the church has become.

  8. rob

    Churches preach forgiveness. Or at least they use to….

    • TS

      @Rob

      Preaching v practice of Christianity are two very distinctly different things. When one does not follow the other, it is called being “hypocritical”

  9. Harry

    I have been recently been selected to a key senior leadership position in my church, which is part of a major denomination, l did not apply for the position, they came looking for me and know about my SO pass. I have keys to the church, allowed to drive church vehicles and have unrestricted access anywhere on the campus. That being said, l avoid all situations that envolved children and women. It is important the RC avoid all appearances of wrong intentions and be aware their surroundings at ALL times. We had a RC that came to the church and he started talking to kids and l alerted the pastor and the pastor and l went to the individual and he tried to deny it. We ask him to stay away from the kids or stay away from the church. I later heard he was in jail.
    I am sorry to say, most SO do need to be watch, because the of their sloppiness. RCs do need to ‘walk on water’ to gain trust.

    • Will Allen

      Wow, you’ve really bought into their nonsense. Since you have, you must think that you are quite a potential liability problem for that church. You should fix that.

      “Most SO” do not need to be watched any more or differently than does any other person. I’m sorry, but once a person has completed probation or parole, the person is no different than anyone else. If you allow people to treat you differently or say that you have to act differently, you are part of the problem. If I was a Registered Person who attended your church, you would never know it. Wouldn’t be your business.

      • Harry

        “If I was a Registered Person who attended your church, you would never know it.” That is the way it should be, Will.

    • R M

      @Harry: “I am sorry to say, most SO do need to be watch…”. What you should of said is “ALL people need to be watched as ALL people sin. You Harry, need to look at statistics regarding recidivism.

      Sure, we have to watch our ass as a little mistake or technical error can land us in prison for a long time (commit a crime while on NJ CSL…up to 30 years in prison…. that’s right, I said a crime… doesn’t have to be a sex crime) but so does EVERY HUMAN as 95+% of new sex crimes are by those with NO criminal past (I can’t believe I have to state that on this forum).

    • Lake County

      I do not believe “most SO do need to be watch(ed)” I believe most of us are very aware of the dangers of ever being around kids not related to us and do avoid any contact with kids. The danger is not that we might commit another sex crime, but that someone thinks we are looking to groom some kid. Plus it would be harder to be believed innocent if someone made false accusations against us. Perhaps a small number of registrants should be watched if they are dumb enough to risk talking with children without their parents being there. But saying “most” do need to be watched is wrong.

    • Really?

      So do you cross the street if you see a woman or child walking towards you? Do you change lanes if you see a woman in a car beside you in traffic? Do you ask for male waiters at restaurants?
      I will live my life as I did before my “error on internet”. I refuse to “walk on water” for anyone! Which is why I refuse to step in a Christian church!

    • C

      While one might say you come off as a Kapo, yourself a registrant watching and advocating the watching of registrants, you did the right thing. We non-risk RCs have it rough because of the RC monsters (e.g. John Gardner). Had that guy in your church done something horrible, the impact would have rippled out directly to you, another RC and potential time bomb in their midst to be preemptively excommunicated before you, too, did God-knows-what.
      What it really boils down to is being good parents without being hyper-paranoid that anyone who talks to our kids must be some kind of deviant.
      And as registrants flying under the radar, we should avoid behaviors that could be taken out of context, like idle chit chat with kids in the bathroom, a subject we beat to death on this board a couple of years ago.

      I told my pastor about my history and it did not phase him. Indeed, if I miss church he’s at my house within a few days urging me to come next Sunday. Fellow congregants and church faculty live on my street, so I figure they must know about me, but they’re always pleasant. Our relationship is superficial, however, and never goes beyond the obligatory smile and wave. Who knows what they’re really thinking and wondering? I just go about my business and never put myself in a situation that could be misinterpreted.
      My pastor does the same, BTW and he told us all one day that his office door has a big window to avoid accusations of inpropriaty when he is meeting with people and needs to close that door. It isn’t just RCs that need to watch their step.

    • RegistrantNotAnOffender

      While I can respect your abundance of caution, you are not a leper. If your offense didn’t involve children you shouldn’t have to avoid children. If your offense didn’t involve an adult female you shouldn’t need to avoid adult females.

      I think suggesting all SOs need to be watched because you had one in your church who made poor decisions is hogwash. Why didn’t your church simply set up some accountability for him? I have a male leader who is aware of my offense and checks in with me. There is a safety plan that allows me to interact with with youth but always in public places with my wife present ans obviously avoiding physical contact.

  10. Henry

    “We non-risk RCs have it rough because of the RC monsters…”

    We all should be careful of classifying others in our group. I know a lot of ex cons that feel much less of a felon when they point their finger at us and say “your a sex offender”. We are all fighting this together.

    • C

      Did you read the next part of my sentence, Henry? I don’t know about you, but I feel a whole lot less risky than the John Albert Gardners of this world and I hope you do, too.

  11. Notorious (but not dangerous) D.I.K. / Kennerly

    It seems that many registrants have adopted a 12-Steps approach to being around kids, perhaps as a result of years of treatment abuse/brain-washing. For myself, I refuse to live my life being afraid of their company or refraining from ever speaking to them. Maybe some people who possess a complete inability to exert control over their behaviors need this but I’m not going to live my life in a state of servile acquiescence to a hysterical society that imposes upon me its truly irrational demands. Apart from being a secular humanist and atheist, I would not be a good candidate for any church that imagines my chatting with their small fry to be “dangerous.” The greatest danger I might pose to these congregants would be to their beliefs.

    • C

      So, there’s a chance we’ll see you Sunday, then?

    • Will Allen

      I agree. What I did 20+ years ago is no more relevant than anything that anyone else walking around and interacting with me every day is. For example, I don’t walk up to people in church and ask them who they “accidentally” murdered 20 years ago (e.g. by driving drunk). Similarly, I’m not telling anyone anything about what I did to be listed on a big government Registry. People aren’t going to be able to concern themselves with “accountability” for me or a “safety plan”. I’m not allowing it.

      Regarding being around children, I live a normal life like a normal person. I don’t worry about if children are around or not. I’m not going to worry about that any more than any other person needs to (not discounting that however). And the reality of the situation is that I would not accept being harassed as a result of being around children. If that happened, I promise people would pay. The dumbest thing these criminals could do would be to arrest me for some “$EX offender” nonsense.

  12. Joe123

    Another beautiful example, literally, ‘in your face’ example, of why Man Made Religion, including Churches, is utter Bullsh*t. You’d have to be blind, deaf and dumb at this point to not see why all of religion was made and for what purposes since they can ‘outcast’ who they wish. It’s pathetic, even more pathetic are the amounts of people who follow it. I will agree it gives people a sense of community and belonging, but as a former church-goer, I can say that it’s all complete bullsh*t for reasons such as this.

    • C

      I hear ya. When my pastor said “It’s not like you molested your 8 year old niece,” it was pretty clear how he’d have reacted had that been my conviction. I think he’d look at his entire flock differently if every person stood up a revealed their darkest action. Indeed, we’d all look at each other in a new light which is why I think if there should be a registry for sex offenses there should be one for all offenses. I showed you mine, now you show me yours, America, you sanctimonious, effs!

      Enough of my ranting. It’s Monday. Back to work!

  13. RegistrantNotAnOffender

    Even as someone with a non contact offense there is nothing more irritating to me than offenders are who criticize our brothers who have contact offenses as the real predators. There are plenty of people with non contact offenses and stings who would have done more if they had the chance. Lets not judge

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