“I apologize for not posting this last week, but due to the media bias toward religion, and the media’s obvious use of Clergy Sexual Abuse to cover-up shortcomings, or more to the point, total disregard toward Our Children’s safety by Our Constituents, in not enacting ample legislation and also not opening up the Statute of Limitations with the exception of Clergy related, I ceased posting anything related to Clergy Abuse and also anything related to Law Enforcement Abuse”.
Sexual abuse of children is “one of the great tragedies of the modern (Protestant) church,” a crime that often is ignored by congregations who should be focused on nurturing the next generation of believers, said Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, a former Florida sex crimes prosecutor and grandson of famed evangelist Billy Graham.
Tchividjian’s comments came as Houston jurisdictions of the United Methodist and Evangelical Lutheran churches this week host training sessions for clergy on the danger of “moral failure.” As many as 300 Methodist ministers on Wednesday are to attend sexual ethics training conducted by the 675-congregation Texas Annual Conference. Similar seminars are being staged by the Evangelical Lutheran church’s Gulf Coast Synod in communities in the greater Houston area.
“I can tell you in my own experience that there are hundreds and hundreds of abuse cases that have occurred within the Protestant context,” said Tchividjian, a Liberty University law professor and founder of Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment, a non-profit organization working to identify and prevent sexual abuse of children in church settings.
“The absolute tragedy is that not only do churches fail to protect children. It’s the dismal responses. All too often a congregation’s response is to protect itself,” Tchividjian said. “We love redemption stories. All the offender has to do is cry and express his or her sorrow, and pretty soon they’re surrounded by rejoicing. They may even make the victim feel he or she was to blame.”
Tchividjian said one-fourth of females and one-sixth of males have experienced sexual abuse by the time they turn 18. “That may not all have happened in a church setting,” he said, “but most pastors are absolutely ill-equipped to understand this issue.”
While much concern about sexual abuse of children has focused on the Catholic church, Tchividjian said the situation within Protestant congregations remains a hidden crisis. “When things surfaced within the Catholic church, a lot of people in the Protestant world reacted with shock and pointing of their fingers at the Catholics,” he said. “Their reaction was not to take a step back to evaluate sexual abuse in their own denominations.”
Tchividjian said his organization seeks to educate the Protestant community regarding how sexual predators “think and act,” providing expert assistance to congregations grappling with abuse and, in some instances, investigating allegations of wrongdoing.
“As Christians, we believe in a Gospel that is about a God sacrificing himself in order to preserve and protect individuals. When it comes to child sexual abuse, too many churches and Christian organizations prefer to sacrifice individuals in order to protect themselves. We end up living out the very antithesis of the Gospel that we preach. The consequences are devastating.”