Clergy Abuse of Minors in Christian Fundamentalism discussion

Schizophrenic Christianity: How Christian Fundamentalism Attracts and Protects Sociopaths, Abusive Pastors, and Child Molesters
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How Fundamentalist Clergy Sex abuse compares with Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse

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message 1: by Jeri (last edited Apr 29, 2014 03:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeri Massi | 14 comments Mod
A PCA pastor asked me yesterday how the amount of abuse in Fundamentalism compares to the high number of cases in the Roman Catholic Church. Also, are there types of churches where abuse is more rampant (ie, is sex abuse of children rampant throughout all denominations or just certain denominations/churches?)

From researching news accounts and looking at abuse data collection websites, my conclusion is that the more conservative/patriarchal the American church is, the higher the incidence of abuse. Barriers like well publicized policies to protect children, screenings, and a clearly established and obeyed grievance policy all reduce the likelihood of abuse of children but don't eliminate it. The more the congregation expects professionalism and post graduate education in the pastor, the less you see abuse.

From what I've seen, sex abuse of children in the IFB and SBC is at least equal to that in the RC church. But there are no metrics. All that I can say is that I have documented 84 cases, and not one ever included the church applying church discipline, except for a few especially outrageous cases where the church punished the victim.

The RC church obliged us by keeping records. But fundamentalists try to erase all history of an abuse case or even of a person who was caught by police. They have even changed records to try to show that the person was never in the ministry but merely attended the church.

So the IFB has way, way more cases than any Presbyterian denomination (answering the PCA pastor's question). Sadly, the PCA has more cases than the PCUSA, though the gap has gotten a little smaller since the PCA worked very hard to make policies to protect children a lot more clear and required.

In the USA, mainstream churches that emphasize conscience and charity have a lower rate. I have never found an abuse case in the Society of Friends. I am sure one or two must exist, but they are rare. In the US, I have never run across a case in the Salvation Army, but in Australia, I did read of one big case where there were several victims, young boys. I note that in countries recently tied to British history, the Salvation Army is far more influential and powerful than it is here in the USA. It has a very different complexion across the ocean than it does here: far larger, easier to access, harder to monitor. Similarly, over in Europe, many Baptists are far more literate, educated, and mainstream, over all, than their kooky American counterparts in the IFB and even the SBC.

But I cannot say what the rate or the total count or the percentage is in the IFB. I can say that Fundamentalism is getting worse. And the IFB in particular is getting a lot worse.


message 2: by Michael (new)

Michael Olesen (molesen) | 1 comments I'm an epidemiologist by background. The way to answer this kind of question is with the proper denominator. Without a rate, it's a meaningless comparison. For example, lets say that the RC church has 10 abusers but 100,000 members and an IFB church has 5 abusers but 1000 members. The raw number of incidents is much higher in the RC church but obviously the problem is considerably more prevalent in the IFB church.

While I'm only using those numbers for illustrative purposes, my statistical instincts and IFB background tells me that when looked at as a RATE of abuse, it is MUCH higher in IFB settings, simply because of the number of cases I know about personally plus the numbers that Jeri was alluding to here.

The only conclusion I can reach is that the system is corrupt and enables this type of behavior.


Jeri Massi | 14 comments Mod
I certainly agree! Thanks for weighing in!


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Clergy Abuse of Minors in Christian Fundamentalism

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