[bolding added by me, for two arguments I find extremely meaningful.]Dear God,
If your civic and ecclesiastical leaders are any indicator of who, or what, You are, we do not wish to know You.
Utah state Sen. Stuart Adams’ was quoted in The Salt Lake Tribune as to why he blocked legislation that would have removed the exemption for members of any church’s clergy from the general requirement to report child abuse when they learn it is happening.
“I think they have the First Amendment right of religious protections,” Adams said, “and I don’t think I want to put clergy in a spot where they have to be excommunicated or thrown in jail. Those are the options and I don’t think that’s right.”
That is at the heart of a major problem in the church – any church — and it’s pushing people away. Adams’ argument represents a prevailing focus on protecting leaders and institutions at the expense of child abuse victims. If clergy have a First Amendment right of religious protections, is he suggesting that we, child abuse victims, do not have the same right?
We’ve heard many arguments relating to the legal rights, privileges and liabilities of individual leaders and church institutions. Adams and those like him spout religious protections but their position is mutually exclusive. When you protect the “penitent” through laws like these, you create a conflict of interest.
Church institutional policies and procedures, and laws like this that they support, protect the “spiritual well-being” of the abusers and ignore the spiritual well-being of us child victims. You cannot support and protect the abuser and children this way. As soon as leaders take a position protecting the abuser, regardless of their intent, they have necessarily chosen a position in opposition to abused children.
When your leaders state from the pulpit that they have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to child abusers, but either do little or nothing to protect us or, worse, actively support legal privileges like the clergy/penitent privilege, their comments are as “sounding brass” and a “tinkling cymbal” culminating in the directive to, “Call the legal department.”
When a church leader’s first step is to contact legal for direction, they have divested their spiritual authority, goodwill and trust to a system that has historically marginalized those whose voices need to be heard. Legal’s interest is to protect the institution of the church, and we continue to be re-victimized by the process.
Do they not know that abuse offenders, especially sex offenders, often disclose their abuse because they want to relive it, as opposed to being honestly penitent? And, if they were truly penitent, wouldn’t they turn themselves in to law enforcement to answer for their wrongs? In that context, Adams’ comment on the “incentive for people to confess” takes on an entirely different meaning. But, that hasn’t been addressed.
Throughout this debate, I have not heard any discussion from Adams, or those like him, about how to protect us children who are being abused – only how to insulate the leaders and their institutions.
As Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
To your civic and ecclesiastical leaders who continue to support our offenders through the veil of protective legislation, please feel free to join us in the hell you continue to create for us.
The thousands of child abuse victims whose voices have been lost in this debate.
Jamie Rikala is a billing specialist who lives in Pleasant Grove.
By Jamie Rikala | Special to The Tribune
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commenta ... s-leaders/
Comments have already been closed, not hard to see why. Here's just one highly inflammatory one:
ETA: here's a different link for the op Ed piece, in case the one above doesn't work. This one is from a reddit thread:“I think they have the First Amendment right of religious protections,” Adams said,
Pretty damn bold to admit that your religion holds kid diddling as a religious tenet.
https://www.sltrib.com/opinion/commenta ... 0e90c6020f