With all the reports about clergy sex abuse in the news, it seem we live in the era of Clergy Gone Wild. The Roman Catholic Church scandals have been dominating the news but its not only the RCC that has a problem keeping its clergy under control. Protestant clergy, including Evangelical Preachers, seem to be trying their best to keep up with the Catholics.
Valerie Tarico, a former evangelical Christian, and a licensed psychologist, has an excellent piece on ExChristian.net entitled: "The Protestant Clergy Sex Abuse Pattern." She begins:
One of the most striking aspects of the Protestant clergy sex abuse pattern is that most people don’t realize it is a pattern. The Catholic Church has taken a well deserved beating in the courts and in the court of public opinion as former altar boys, orphans and ordinary parishioners have come forward with appalling stories of sex abuse. Yet equally egregious violations by Protestant clergy have failed to generate the same level of outrage. Why?She gives four reasons:
- The Catholic Church is easier to think of as a monolithic entity. That means it is easier for the press to cohere the abuse incidents into a single story and our brains to grock it. The idea of one big conspiracy appeals to us: “The Church” did it and then covered it up.
- The centralized hierarchy of Catholicism makes Catholic offenders easier to sue and guarantees deep pockets. The lawsuits in turn both generate their own news cycle and bring victims out of the closet.
- Since most Americans are Protestants, the Catholic Sex Abuse scandal is a story about “them.” Protestant Pedophilia is a story about “us,” which makes it less gratifying and more uncomfortable.
- Most Americans find the idea of celibacy peculiar at best. It makes for a more interesting narrative than a generic story about abuse of authority.
The truth is, though, that Protestants, including Evangelicals, have a big problem in this area too.
Here are some websites that document these abuses:
Blog on the Way
Stop Baptist Predators
Clergy Gone Wild
Black Collar Crime Blotter