Why Do People In Christian Ministry Molest Kids? Here Is My Pastor’s Response

In early July, I sent this to my pastor.

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My question was in regards to this article and the corresponding meme (below).

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My pastor is a reasonable guy. He believes in science. He doesn’t hate any group of people. And he’s not a right wing evangelical nutjob. His response to my question enlightened me, and I wanted to share it with you guys.

Sexual molestation is a huge problem. Dr. Gene Abel estimated that between 1 and 5% of our population molests a child at some point in their lives. Ugly! The average church in America is less than 75 in attendance. There are over 300,000 churches. There are 600,000 clergy in the U.S. And I would guess 100,000 of those are new to the category each year and another 100,000 leave it.

The 25 mentioned in this story represent less than .000035% of all the clergy in the U.S. and we don’t know anything about what kind or size of church they represent or even if they were paid. We would hope that this number might be 0, but I’m guessing that it’s lower among clergy than any other occupational group which has access to children. Molesters will go to great lengths to fool people, and sadly some infiltrate churches, especially small ones with uneducated congregations.

How many school teachers get into this kind of thing each year? It’s happened at Kaufman ISD multiple times. It happened when I was in high school and man, talk about a cover up! But no one from this website would be attacking teachers or education with an article like this.

We work hard to screen and monitor our staff. Most churches do. I don’t think there is an epidemic in churches per say, but i do think that child molestation is a painful issue around our world.

Just FYI, over the past decade most churches put extensive screening procedures in place. We have. Both for volunteers and staff.

His response alleviated some of my concerns somewhat. He’s right — the percentage of church staff who molest kids is small in comparison to the overall population. While that number should be ZERO, it’s at least comforting to know that the problem isn’t as prolific as we fear. The perverts in Christian ministry get a lot of attention and we focus on them, but in reality, while we disagree with the dogma of most Christian churches, the majority of their people aren’t going to molest kids.

I explained to my pastor why we so detest Christian hypocrisy and a lot of Christian ministry overall. (his name is redacted to protect his privacy)

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So again, it’s all about perspective. The molestation rate in Christian ministry should be ZERO, but bashing all Christians because of the .000035% is unfair and as liberals, we do strive to be fair. Maybe this will help, as my pastor hoped.

Tiffany Willis Clark is a fifth-generation Texan and the founder and editor-in-chief of Liberal America and AmReading.com. An unapologetic member of the Christian Left, she had a long and successful career actively working with at-risk youth, people struggling with poverty and unemployment, and disadvantaged and oppressed populations. She’s passionate about their struggles. In 2011, she made the decision to pursue her dreams and become a full-time writer. Connect with her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, and like her Facebook page.