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Would you continue to attend a church with your family if you knew one (or more than one) of your fellow congregtion members was a sex offender?

For those that didn't watch tonight's 20/20, check for it online tomorrow and take the time to watch it, but bring tissues!

The majority of the story was about a church/cult which routinely victimized and even supported both physical (which was actually encouraged) and sexual abuse of children and teens. While the girls were accused and punished, the men were generally not asked to do more than give an apology. The young girls were even told to "Forgive & Forget" and that "Christians don't press charges."

Brought up towards the end of the show it was mentioned that a number of these men have faced legal action, in spite of the church. And the pastor which was being interviewed said that yes, there were sex offenders in the congregation, but that he didn't inform parents or other members of their status - if they want to know they can go online and look it up.

Honestly, it's not something I've ever thought of. I don't' do church, but I've never thought to check for sex offenders in other local groups where I take my kids. Now, I think I will.

But if you knew one of your fellow church members was a sex offender, would you go? Have you ever checked? Do you think the church should have to inform you that they are there?

**Please note, this branch of Christianity is NOT mainstream. And from what I'm gathering even the branch itself is not very strongly banded together, so the actions of THIS congregation really shouldn't be held against the entire branch, but the exmembers that were interviewed referred to it as a cult, which is why I use the term. Not because I have any general belief about it, I simply don't know enough to form an opinion. Should anyone here be an IFB church member, I hope I did not offend!

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Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 11:13 PM on Apr. 8, 2011 in Religion & Beliefs

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Answers (20)
  • Nope....i would switch churches until they got that sex offender out of there!

    Answer by ItsJustMe1017 at 11:14 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • If the clergy at the church were known offenders . . . absolute boycott.

    This kind of strikes home because I was raised in the Catholic Church, and I was pretty disgusted when all of those years of abuse came to light. I got really pissed, too, that the church didn;t take the complaints seriously, or that they protected clergy. I mean . . YUCK!

    I still waiver now. I am researching other religions because of it, which is sad. I like the content, but not the management. And, that's important.

    I can't see that any relationship with God is good with abuse in the middle. I would rather skip out on the middle man then condone that type of monstrous behavior.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 11:18 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Honestly, if you've ever talked to a lot of Christians, you'll find that "most" of them are reformed. As its pointed out in the bible serveral times, Jesus didn't preach to and eat with the nobility of the time, he ate and shared with the beggers, the prostitues and the tax collectors. The people who really need and hear loudest his words are sinners.
    That being said, i think if a parent is going to take their children somewhere regularly, they should know who they are hanging out with. Its not like the information isn't available, and it doesn't cost.
    I know for a fact that there are several ex-robbers and muggers at the church I go to, and even one 'accidental' murderer...but that was the past.
    This is an extreme case, and much like the church from Arkansas they just give everyone else a bad rep, as you said.

    Answer by an-apple-a-day at 11:19 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • If I went to church and knew that there was one there, I would simply keep an eye out for my child.

    Church is for come and repent and be forgiven. If they are kept out, how will that happen?

    In the case that you are referring to, the church itself condones this. Therefore, it's not a big deal to them as most already expect this to happen when they go to 'worship'. It's part of their services.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 11:20 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I thought that sex offenders couldn't be within so far of children? I seen where a guy couldn't live with his mother because one of his young cousins lived there and since he was a sex offender he couldn't be there, so technically I would think they wouldn't be able to go to a church with children? I don't know much of the rules but that would make sense to me. I think if the church knew then they should inform families.

    Answer by kayaiden8907 at 11:23 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Jademom, i couldn't have said it better.

    Answer by bauerlove at 11:24 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I would never attend a church who's doctrine alighned with abusing children physically and sexually. I'm not concerned with checking out the member's backgrounds at my church since my children are never left alone with anyone that I do not personally know. Now, if any one of the members of clergy (deacons, sunday school teachers, etc) were on the list, then I'd feel obligated to bring that forth to my pastor. If the pastor allowed them to continue on with their positions which I am most certain he would not), I'd leave the church.

    Answer by Renee3K at 11:31 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • I think that if you knowingly go to a church/cult or another group that condones abuse of any kind it is up to the individual to choose to go there. I don't think that the clergy should point out offenders any more than they should air anybody else's stuff.

    Jademom, I completely agree!!!

    Answer by MChildressDem at 11:31 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • This just proves that the Catholic Church isn't the only one with this issue. You would think others would learn a lesson from what the Catholic Church did wrong, and you wouldn't hear of these stories anywhere else. My parish has taken steps to make sure things like the priest scandals don't happen anymore. Every single person who works in a school or with youth ministry in our diocese is required to pass a background check, take a safe child awareness class, among other things. Whether you volunteer at the school or religious ed classes, teach at a school, or are a parish priest, you are required to take the classes and have a background check. I think anything involving children should have similar guidelines. And yes, I am very careful about what activities I've put my kids in over the years, and in sports, etc I have always stayed to watch practices, etc so that I know what's going on. I'm just overprotective that way...

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 11:32 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

  • Excuse my grammatical errors, computer and my fingers haven't adjusted to the keyboard yet.

    Answer by Renee3K at 11:34 PM on Apr. 8, 2011

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