A letter to the Protestant church about sex abuse: We are not safer

Many Protestants have expressed righteous sadness at the sexual crimes in the faith traditions around us, namely the Catholic Church, while remaining indifferent to similar crimes within our congregations. We believe our churches are safer. We are wrong.

I know this from personal experience. Both my youth minister and pastor sexually abused me in my Southern Baptist church near Birmingham, Ala., in the mid 1980s, trapping me with spiritual threats and intimidation.

The lack of concern in Protestant churches rests on the faulty logic that, by virtue of not having a celibate priesthood, Protestants are more protected than our Catholic friends. This helps pave the wide road by which predatory ministers, staff members, volunteers and members within Protestant churches groom and abuse children. These abusers are like the Old Testament god Molech, lying in wait with a rapacious hunger for the sacrifice of both children’s innocence and their trust in God.

Unchecked crimes of sexual abuse in the Protestant church include red flags and shrugged shoulders that kill the spirit of young believers and damage the cause of Christ.

My youth minister began sexually abusing me when I was 14, after telling me that God was “calling" me to help him in his ministry. He groomed me, abused me and threatened me for over a year. When I could not tolerate the abuse any longer, I went to the only other person at my church that I thought could help — my pastor.

My pastor blamed me, fired my youth minister and began abusing me. The church fired him after discovering his affair with my Sunday School teacher. These staggering crimes went unreported because of the chokehold of fear the two men held on my life. Both men, Molechs themse...

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