Have Churches Failed the Public?

We constantly hear about priests, pastors, and youth ministers abusing children.  We constantly hear from fundamentalist churches how tsunamis, earthquakes, and blizzards are God’s retribution for some imagined evil.  We see pastors and ministers preach one thing from the pulpit while doing the exact opposite on Saturday night in the clubs.

We are told that men of the cloth are just men.  People with normal drives and ambitions.  That they should be forgiven for their ‘issues’.

But that’s not really the point.

These are people that we should be able to look up to, to respect, to trust.  Yet, many people wouldn’t knowingly invite a church official into their home. 

And the Church itself (all of them, not just a particular one) is the main problem.  These organizations are so concerned with public image, that they fail to deal with these internal issues in an effective manner.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think someone who is a known child molester should be preaching or doing any of the other myriad duties of a priest or pastor.  I don’t think that someone who advocates violence should be preaching messages of piece.  I don’t think someone that hates others or supports the hate of others should be in a position of influence and power over an entire congregation.

And make no mistake about it, these people have enormous influence on their congregation. 

The churches tend to ‘look the other way’ when presented with these minor peccadilloes.  Unfortunately, this is exactly the wrong tactic to take.  I’m not saying that these people should be fired or jailed or kicked out of the church (some should, but not all, depending on their individual issue).  I’m saying that the church has to own up to these issues and deal with them like a parent with a wayward child.

The churches have to acknowledge that some of the people that they put in positions of responsibility are not up to that responsibility and remove them.  They should be trained, counseled or indicted for the things that they have done.

The churches, though, don’t do this.  They hide their issues.  They sweep them under the rug, move them around, apologize for them, pay off the victims, blame their targets, etc. 

All in the name of public image.  The problem, of course, is this is starting to come out.  Which is a much larger public relations nightmare than it would have been originally.

But what’s worse, is that the churches are not telling people what’s going on.  In one incident, a minister was fired for child abuse.  But the church never actually told anyone.  This person was later hired by a preschool.  No records of prior incidence, no problems, no nothing.  The church obviously felt there was enough a problem to fire the minister.  Yet, the church never considered that their actions would put a larger number of people at much greater risk.

And that’s the worst story of all.  By hiding their shame, they endanger others. 

Churches are supposed to be moral and ethical leaders.  Churches are supposed to care for all of the people on the planet.  They rarely do so.  Yes, the individuals in the churches are humans, yet the churches themselves should be held to a higher standard.

Yes, individuals within the church do so.  I have no issues with individuals.  The churches, as organizations, have major issues though. 

On thing I’ve noticed is that whenever someone does something good, they and the church, thank their god for it.  Whenever they do something bad, they blame the individual and say that’s he/she is just human and acting not in the churches interest.

Nice racket they have there.

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