April 26, 2011

Highlighting Examples of Clergy Abuse is Important

clergy abuse

Being an atheist is certainly no guarantee that one will be a moral person. Unlike humanism, atheism does not include any particular set of moral guidelines. Some atheists may strive to be better people, but that's not a requirement one will find in atheism. Of course, being an atheist is also no guarantee that one will be an immoral person. Plenty of atheists are good without gods. Try telling that to some Christians though, and you are likely to meet some resistance. Some Christians continue to insist that only those who are "saved" can be moral, that morality comes from their god, and the like. There are many effective rebuttals, but Mojoey (Deep Thoughts) has been working tirelessly to compile one of my favorites.

Many Christians work hard to condemn atheists. They demonize us in every way we can imagine (and some we have difficulty imagining). And yet, the perpetration of sexual assault and other crimes against minors by clergy of all Christian denominations is a serious problem.

No one is claiming that only Christian priests, pastors, ministers, and the like are guilty of committing such crimes. That would be ridiculous. But as Mojoey reminds us, publicizing it when they do commit such crimes is an important reminder that many people seem to need. Not only does this lead at least some people to question why they are supporting such a system, but knowing about what is happening makes it more likely that the rest of us will do what we can do to prevent it.

The sexual abuse of children is certainly not the only crime we see committed by Christian clergy. Some are skilled con artists who embezzle money, swindle parishioners, and exploit their position in many other ways. Others sell drugs, rape adults, and even kill. These crimes are worth highlighting too.

If Christians want to claim that it is not their faith that leads the criminals among them to molest children, I will listen. What I will not accept is the even more common claim that anyone who commits bad acts is magically no longer "a real Christian." That is not how it works, and I think most of us know better.