I never had sons, only two beautiful daughters. But now I do have two grandsons, and would I encourage them to be sent off to be altar boys or hand them off to a scout leader to go on a scout retreat when they turn 10, 11 or 12? Knowing what I know now, no. Not in a million years. The danger of them being sexually molested by older men and priests is very high statistically. Did you hear that? The chance of them being toyed with sexually (isn’t that a horrible phrase and a misleading euphemism) is extremely good. Here are the shocking numbers. Four out of five Vatican priests are gay according to a recent and scholarly work titled “In the Closet of the Vatican”. That’s 80%. They may not be sexually active according to the book, but really, who are we kidding when we say that? According to an article in Slate they estimate between 15-50% of all priests are gay (let’s use proper language here, can we? They are homosexual). That number is contrasted with an estimate of 3.8% who claim LGBTQ status in the general population. The Los Angeles Times, quoted in this same article claims that 28% of priests in the 46-55 age group are homosexual. So, from a high of 80% at the Vatican being homosexual, to an estimate of 50% in the church at large or as low as 28% according to the L.A. Times. Imagine that. The low number equals a third, but the likely number is probably closer to half.
Now for the ugly truth. These are not celibate homosexuals. I would be on very thin ice if I stated this as opinion or as an outsider, so I won’t. I will quote Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput for the following observations. He calls the abuse of our boys “predatory homosexuality”. I quote, “Not naming the real problem for what it is, a pattern of predatory homosexuality and a failure to weed that out from Church life, is an act of self-delusion.” Officially the Catholic Church is doing its best to hide this obvious fact, by saying at their latest conference in Rome that homosexuality had nothing to do with the high rate of abuse. But the facts don’t support their denials. According to this article featuring Archbishop Chaput, the article states, “recent studies of clerical sex abuse in Belgium and Germany, as well as a comprehensive report produced in the United States following the 2002 sex abuse crisis, suggested that males make up at least three out of four victims of clergy abuse.” The article also sites this as proof: “A 2005 report found that ‘a number of studies performed over a period spanning more than half a century — many of which were performed by homosexuals or their sympathizers — have shown that an extremely large percentage of sexually active homosexuals also participate in child sexual molestation.’”
Armed with these facts dear parent, would you ever send your child off to a church outing or class without your personal supervision or the supervision of other vested parents? If you do, you’re derelict. It is up to you to protect your boys (and girls) from predators. If it sounds like I am picking on the Catholic Church unfairly, I am not. The above articles, especially the one from Slate make it very clear why the church is attracting so many predatory homosexual priests into the clergy. The Protestant Church is not immune to scandals (more on that later in my blog post), far from it, especially the sexual immorality in the pulpit. But the Protestant Church does not have a policy or doctrine forbidding marriage like the Catholic Church has, and the doctrine of requiring celibate priests is a huge factor in attracting homosexuals to the priesthood according to the articles mentioned above.
Unfortunately, we can’t feel safe by simply saying it’s only the Catholic Church that is the culprit. No, it is also the Boy Scouts. They too, have been attracting homosexuals as scout leaders for many of the same reasons and for many years (the files mentioned next date back to 1940). The Boy Scouts of America keep secreted away what they call their “perversion files”. According to Jeff Anderson, the victim’s rights attorney spearheading this effort to shine the light of daylight on this scandal, says, “”For many, many years there’s been an excavation of what are called the ‘perversion files’ — those are files held and hoarded at the Boy Scouts of America headquarters,” Anderson said during Tuesday’s New York press conference, adding that “those ‘perversion files’ that they’ve had reflect that they have removed thousands of offenders of childhood sexual abuse over the years and they’ve kept that in files secretly.” The numbers are staggering. According to an internal audit by the Boy Scouts of America of their own files, they have found 7,819 reported perpetrators and 12,254 reported victims. When I say reported, you know as well as I do that the real numbers could be double or triple those numbers since many boys and parents chose to remain silent. No, it’s sad to say, you can’t trust the Boy Scouts any more to protect your boys from sexual predators.
I believe I have listed the two main culprits of sexual abuse in our culture today, but I do not want to ignore one much closer to home. As I said earlier, the Protestant Church is not immune to child sexual abuse either. I highly recommend reading this article from the Washington Post titled “The sin of silence – The epidemic of denial about sexual abuse in the evangelical church.” The author features the story of Rachel Denhollander who was abused by a youth volunteer at her church and was told to remain silent about the abuse. Later when she became a victim of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse among the girls in the USA gymnastics program, she defaulted to what she was told before, “remain silent”. She’s not remaining silent anymore and shouldn’t. The article goes on to list the many superstar leaders of the evangelical Christian church that have been accused of and found guilty of sexual abuse or unwanted sexual advances. Among the most famous are: Paige Patterson, Bill Hybels, Bill Gothard, and the systematic cover-ups in the Sovereign Grace churches. Regarding those cover-ups, here is what this article had to say:
“As an adult, Rachael Denhollander once again found herself at the center of one of these disruptions. The church she attended, Immanuel Baptist in Louisville, was actively supporting former SGC president C.J. Mahaney’s return to ministry. Mahaney had been asked to step down from his role in 2011 because of “various expressions of pride, unentreatability, deceit, sinful judgment and hypocrisy.” In 2012, a class-action lawsuit held that eight SGC pastors, including Mahaney, had covered up sexual abuse in the church. Mahaney and the SGC claimed vindication when a judge dismissed the lawsuit for eclipsing the statute of limitations. In 2016, Immanuel Baptist Church repeatedly invited Mahaney to preach at its weekend services.”
After telling her church leaders that having C.J. Mahaney speak at their church was inappropriate, she was asked to find another church. How very, very sad.
You might feel after reading all this that you can’t trust any church to protect your child. The answer to that of course is that some churches you can and some you can’t. You may have strong feelings about your church’s youth group and how good you feel about its ministry and how much good it is doing for your child. I don’t trust them. Not for a second. Personally I would never send a child to a youth retreat that was not supervised extremely closely by a number of parents who guaranteed that the children were never left alone unsupervised with a youth worker. I would never allow my child to be alone, not ever with a youth pastor or volunteer. Not in today’s culture. For that matter I will not send a grandchild to a summer camp unless that camp can guarantee that my grandchild will always have more than one adult in the cabin at all times.
On the other hand, a Family Integrated Church like Cornerstone is immune to these dangers because of our philosophy of ministry and practice. Our children are with their parents 100% of the time, all the time, at every event. The exception is if a parent wants to take advantage of our nursery for a few minutes. Guess what? In our Family Integrated Church, we only allow mothers in our nursery shepherding our most vulnerable. These precious lives are far too valuable to expose them to the dangers of sexual predators now lurking almost everywhere. As the saying goes, “NOT ON MY WATCH”.
My conclusion is simple. Parents, please be extremely cautious about where you go to church and what is happening to your children while they are there. You are their protectors and defenders.