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National

More churches are checking the national sex offender registry. Is it helping?

[religionnews.com – 7/30/19]

Since they were first offered an opportunity to pool their resources and buy background checks on volunteers and employees at a discount 11 years ago, about a third of Southern Baptist churches have signed up for the OneSource program from LifeWay Christian Resources.

Earlier this year, LifeWay reported that 16,000 congregations and other church organizations ran background checks on men and women it hired through a service called backgroundchecks.com. (The Southern Baptist Convention has so far resisted calls to set up a database of its own, saying the national registry was more dependable.)

Other denominations are also increasingly using searchable databases on prospective employees as the #churchtoo movement begins to shift church attitudes toward sexual abuse and prevention.

Most background checks sift through more than 600 million felony, misdemeanor and traffic records. Perhaps most importantly, they also check the nationwide sex offender registry.

But that may give churches and other religious groups a false sense of security about preventing abuse, experts say.

Only 5% of people on the sex offender registry are repeat offenders, according to a recent study in New York state. The vast majority are first-time sex offenders.

Running potential employees through the sex offender registry is useful, said Jeglic. But the data it provides is limited.

Read more

 

Join the discussion

  1. Tim in WI

    All I can take away from this story is just another firm figured out another way to capitalize on the big gov databases. Here churches react to threat of liability exposure due to potential abuse that may occur from hiring or permitting the wrong person to volunteer in church doings. Certainly church leadership does have a responsibility to their brethren to act in good faith, however imposing affirmative restraint based solely on past sin (conviction) absolutely defies any notion of evangelical repentance – Faith in Gods hand.

    Erroneous as it may be, the Southern Baptists are putting their faith in gov database first and faith in their Lord second, so they do not find themselves experiencing what their Catholic rivals are- massive civil torts. One could argue the Atheists have the Baptists right where they want them – as surely every member of their flock will be run through the electronic check exposing every member to data collection and misuse via identification data points used by the paid agent\ vendor!

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/24/child-identity-theft-is-a-growing-and-expensive-problem.html

    • Facts should matter

      They’re also piggy-backing off the Epstein fiasco to bolster their “churchtoo” hashtag Society is so damn predictable when it comes to fear and hate mongering.

  2. AJ

    “Only 5% of people on the sex offender registry are repeat offenders, according to a recent study in New York state. The vast majority are first-time sex offenders.”
    —–
    What!?!? When did this happen?!? I thought recidivism was frightening and high, reaching upwards of 80%. This must be a typo. Meanwhile, NY continues to be the ML equivalent of the Hotel California (or perhaps more appropriate, the Roach Motel…RCs check in, but they never check out).
    =====

    “In addition, a 2010 South Carolina study showed that many sex offenders plead down their to charges to a nonsex crime so they aren’t included in the registry.”
    —–
    Gee, why would people be doing this, since it’s merely a non-punitive regulatory scheme? Good thing the judicial system isn’t warping the process and undermining this incredibly useful regulatory scheme. It’s almost as though it’s seen as punishment. Huh.

    • TS

      @AJ

      On my keyboard, 5% turns into 80% when it does an automatic word correction for this topic, doesn’t it on yours? 🤔 Maybe I need to have it looked at. 😆

      The other thing is, the 5% statistic ought to set the individual in the state of New York who is so fervently registry loving on her ear because it goes against everything she espouses.

      • Will Allen

        Why? Obviously the Registries are working.

        Other thing is why would people “plead down their to charges to a nonsex crime so they aren’t included in the registry.”? Because aren’t they then just included on some other big government Registry where they will have even more “restrictions” and harassment than the $EX Offender Registries? Because many of the non-$EX crimes are clearly more dangerous.

        • David

          @ Will Allen: I wonder this about IML’s “unique identifier passports”: Why does the U.S. State Department not mark the passports of those convicted of identity theft, forgery, unlawful impersonation, etc? Aren’t those the individuals a foreign country should scrutinize as they attempt to cross a border – the ones who have a record of presenting themselves as person(s) other than who they are?? 🤔

        • AJ

          @David:
          “Why does the U.S. State Department not mark the passports of those convicted of identity theft, forgery, unlawful impersonation, etc?”
          —–
          Because the Legislative and Executive Branches have not given State the autonomous authority or requirement to do so. On the other hand, said Branches have, through IML, mandated State to do so for select RCs. Such is the plenary power of Congress.

        • Will Allen

          @David:

          The answer is – because not enough people would get off on harassing those people.

          Why don’t they mark the passports of people who have gone to other countries and been convicted of beating local citizens nearly to death? Or how about just beating people in this country nearly to death? Because that is not nearly as dangerous as $EX, of course. Not nearly as dangerous as a person sitting in his/her own home and looking at bad pictures.

  3. Harry

    If, Jesus showed up in most Southern Baptist Churches He would be kicked out and told not to return. The SBC has drifted far the foundation of the Christian Faith.

    • David

      Organized religion is a dying dinosaur, sustained to a great extent by their dodgy “tax-exempt status”.

  4. Facts should matter

    “A lot of the information on the registry is incorrect. It gives us a false sense of security.”

    LOL OMFG.. Really now..

    (cue scary music): Living in the shadows..flying under the radar..slipping through the cracks… /boo

    It doesn’t MATTER if the info is current, complete or accurate. Why? The legislate intent and “goal” is inauthentic and intentionally malicious It’s a public shaming tool masquerading and being trotted out as a preventative “safety” mechanism.

  5. American Detained in America

    I’m a Christian, and both my current pastor, and the one at my previous church, know about my status on the registry…and neither have ever treated me as if I’m less of a person or less important than every other member. If a church body is truly living out their faith, they wouldn’t be doing this. Jesus didn’t come to segregate us into groups by whether we are saints or sinners, instead he declared we are all sinners in need of grace.

  6. David Higham

    I read a lot of your comments all the time on these matters but I wonder how many of you are actually doing anything to fight these laws I my have contacted many attorney’s to help me to challenge these idiotic laws of the rest of everyone on the registry did the same thing instead of waiting for someone else to do it ,then it is gonna be years before any of these laws are not gonna go away.
    If you do not have the money then we need to get as many people as possible to pool the money to challenge these laws I am sure that narsol would be willing to help as a matter of fact we could start a separate fund to fight the fight. Now let’s see how many people are going to step up.

  7. USA

    We have a serious problem within the Catholic Church. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable with a child related offender teaching Sunday School or leading a kids group. Yes, I’m entitled to my opinion!

    • R M

      @USA: How do you know that a “child related offender” isn’t already “teaching Sunday School or leading a kids group”? 95+% of new sex crimes are not by ones previously convicted.

      • Will Allen

        Exact same thing that I said in another comment here. Which is why, in reality, it really doesn’t do any good to do background checks. They are just a “cover your behind” move. The Registries are certainly beyond dumb. You have to watch EVERYONE. If you don’t, you aren’t protecting anyone at all. You can check your stupid Registries all day and night. Registries are a dumb tool for dumb people.

  8. Tim in WI

    USA,
    Yes The Catholics have a problem and you should be uncomfortable with convicts teaching Sunday school. That you focus on child assailants for restraint is short sighted however, a convicted rapist of women is just as much a threat to Sunday schoolers. Same goes for those convicted of gun violence. For this observer the Catholic church has been it own worst enemy. Proof enough exists in the opinions forwarded by Catholic members of SCOTUS !n the Wetterling Act review where history repeated itself and the Catholics looked the other way, and said nothing while the unionized democratic socialists of 1930 Germany amassed power through the use of regulatory law.

  9. Will Allen

    Here’s the problem with caring about a “child related offender” doing whatever – it is a trivial reality that ANYONE could be an active or future child molester and no one has any clue about it. So it doesn’t matter at all if your Sunday School teacher is a “child related offender” or not. If a church or anyone else is ACTUALLY going to protect anyone, they are going to have to ignore the background checks and Registries and monitor every single teacher. But what they are doing instead is paying extra attention to background checks and even more worthless, the Registries, and thus are not actually protecting anyone. It is a distraction and diversion. Which is why we continue to see churches molesting children. And we always will until they stop focusing on the past.

    Just as an aside, I’m not comfortable with probably 90+% of the people living in Amerika teaching or leading my children in anything. Especially people who think Registries are okay. Dangerous people with dangerous ideas.

  10. NoName

    Although LifeWay sells products created by non-SBC persons and entities, generally speaking its products feature Christian teachings from a conservative perspective (consistent with the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message). It will not sell, and will if needed discontinue selling, works by authors who disagree with its policies. As an example, in October 2016 it pulled all works by author Jen Hatmaker after she endorsed same-sex marriage.[8]

    LifeWay’s ministry on the subject of sexuality and gender expression categorizes non-normative identities as sinful lifestyles,[9] the threat of which requires church members be “ready when homosexuality devastates.”[10] This is generally consistent with Article XVIII of the Baptist Faith & Message (the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Convention, LifeWay’s parent[11]), though the Article does not specifically address such gender expression issues as transgender or gender reassignment.[12]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LifeWay_Christian_Resources

    This is history repeating itself, though previously under the name of eugenics, which started spreading worldwide.

  11. world citizen

    I’m sure Jesus Christ is just elated with the Baptist churches practice of continual shame. I’m sure he praised this kind of attitude somewhere within his ministry… Wasn’t it at the stoning of the adulterous woman? Yes! I think it was.
    Stupid Baptists!!! Bunch of southern racists hiding behind a Bible translated and commandeered by a homosexual and archaic king.

    • AJ

      @world citizen:
      I’m sure Jesus Christ is just elated with the Baptist churches practice of continual shame.”
      —–
      Remember, religious denominations are creations of man. As such, they’re flawed from the get-go and subject to all sorts of imperfect and even sinful behavior. I don’t recall Jesus saying anything about physical churches, or even pastors.
      =====

      “Bunch of southern racists hiding behind a Bible translated and commandeered by a homosexual and archaic king.”
      —–
      First, lumping all Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) members together as either southern or racist, let alone both, is quite off the mark. SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with churches north of the Mason-Dixon and west of the Rockies. Hardly a “southern thing.” Aside from the founding reason for the SBC, which to my knowledge was long ago disavowed, I’d like to know how it–or any denomination–is showing racism. Do you feel the same for the Missionary Baptist Church (i.e. “Black churches”)? Or is racism only something for those with less melanin?

      As for the “homosexual and archaic king”, I suppose you to mean King James. You may want to check your facts about the SBC, since it uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holman_Christian_Standard_Bible). The HCSB was created through funding provided by the SBC (via LifeWay Publishing) using internationally agreed Greek and Hebrew texts. The KJV Bible is still widely used, to be sure, and I know of at least one denomination that relies upon it as “the” Bible to use. I’m sure there are others, but the SBC is not one of them.

      • citizen

        I won’t debate with you about what you are supposed to be. Only about what you are. If you want to lump yourself in with what I have described, then have at it. I attended Southern Baptist churches and I know what they all profess publicly and what they hide behind strategically veiled teachings and practices.

        However, If you want me to concede that not all Southern Baptists are bad people, I’ll do it. Most of them are. And, the majority of them are misguided as to what Christ actually intended for our world, as are most other denominational and dogmatic sects of Christianity and other religions.

        Lastly, Just because the SBC is the largest denomination doesn’t make them right. Last I checked Christianity was never presented as a consensus religion. And to further my point, the majority of the Chinese population, (Which is also the majority of the world population) says there is no God. So, what does being the largest group of anything have to do with righteousness?

        P.S. this is the only and last time I’ll reply to you. This is not a forum for religious debate and I won’t engage in one here.

        • AJ

          @citizen:
          “I won’t debate with you about what you are supposed to be. Only about what you are. If you want to lump yourself in with what I have described, then have at it.”
          —–
          I said neither what I am nor what I’m supposed to be. Whatever you inferred or imputed is just that. What I did do is highlight your broad strokes against a group of people and I pointed out your factual errors about the SBC using the KJV.

          As for which denomination or “flavor” is right, I wholly agree with your take. None of them gets it right, because they are creations of man. There’s an adage that says, you can never find the perfect church because you’ll join it.
          =====

          “This is not a forum for religious debate and I won’t engage in one here.”
          —–
          Agreed. But apparently in your eyes it IS a forum for religious sniping.

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