A Looming Crisis for the Religious Right by Frederick Clarkson


Fri Sep 27, 2013

Frederick Clarkson

The child sex abuse crisis in evangelical Christianity, although less reported, is at least as bad as it is in the Catholic Church.  Taken together, this suggests that there is a crisis of a different kind looming for the leaders of the Religious Right, whose concern for the victims of abuse has been too muted, and too often belated when it is evident at all. There is also too often an obvious and alarming tendency to sympathize and side with the abuser over the victims.  The proud defenders of what they call "family values" become bizarre self-parodies, at best, under such circumstances.  

I have written about this before and will do so again, but today I am reminded of the seriousness of the matter by a Religion News Service story about a prominent evangelical child abuse investigator addressing "a room of journalists" on the subject. Excerpts below:

Sarah Pulliam Bailey reports:  

The Christian mission field "is a magnet" for sex abusers, Boz Tchividjian, a Liberty University law professor who investigates abuse said Thursday (Sept. 26) to a room of journalists.

While comparing evangelicals to Catholics on abuse response, "I think we are worse," he said at the Religion Newswriters Association conference. But it’s harder to track.

"Protestants can be very arrogant when pointing to Catholics,"  said Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and executive director of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (GRACE), which has investigated sex abuse allegations.

Mission agencies, "where abuse is most prevalent," often don’t report abuse because they fear being tossed from countries, he said. Abusers will get sent home and might join another agency. Of known data from abuse cases, 25 percent are repeat cases.


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