The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget.
“ Thomas S. Szasz quotes


On September 21, 2009, 1:43:59 AM, we received an e-mail at The Wartburg Watch which was quite illuminating.  In fact, it does such a good job in outlining today’s focus that we have decided to publish it with certain names changed to protect anonymity.

“A few years back I ran into an old friend from my college days who happens to be a circuit court judge now. We started talking about the droves of Christians who were coming to court hearings on porn places being shut down in our city.
He expressed some real frustration with them. He said, they come and demand we shut down these businesses but then they also come and speak up for leniency for perverts convicted of crimes just because they claim to be born again! He said he did not understand why he should discriminate FOR Christians in sentencing”.
Christians should be the first group in our society that understands forgiveness.  Our very name is taken from the "One Who Forgives".  However, Christian should be the first ones to acknowledge that we are capable of great sin, even heinous sin.  We remember when we first became Christians; we heard so many wonderful stories that went something like this.  “I was a drug addict for 15 years and when I came to Jesus, He healed my need for drugs and I am now drug free.”

Yet, the longer we are Christians the more we begin to see that Jesus doesn’t always “automatically” heal us from our sins. This means that addictions can still affect Christians.  Just as Jesus didn’t heal everyone from their illnesses and poverty, He doesn’t always “just heal” them from their addictions.  Think of Paul and his thorn in the flesh.  If ever there was a Godly man, it was Paul.  Yet, in some unknown way, he suffered.  And perhaps it is in the struggle to overcome our addictions that we see the God who walks with us, encourages us, and uplifts us.  We must be willing to take up our cross daily and die to ourselves.

"Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."  (Luke 9:23-24 NKJV) We seek the “quick fix” while God seeks our sanctification.
Please refer to our archives (which will become very easy to search in a week) for the articles that we have done on pedophilia.  The average pedophile, upon his arrest, has molested over 140 different children!!  The reoffense rate after incarceration appears to be in the 90th percentile.
Approximately one year ago, Dee was attending a church when she spotted a man who had just been released from an 8-month prison stay for child molestation.  She knew much about this man and was aware that he had a 30-year history of reported molestations, which included his own family.  She saw this man walking in the church hallways near the children’s area.

Dee immediately notified the pastor who seemed a bit irritated.  He said that this man’s parole officer said he was at low risk for reoffense!  Huh?  How does an 8-month prison stay “cure” a 30-year cycle of abuse?  Dee once again e-mailed the pastor, begging him to reconsider how they would supervise this man.  Finally, after once again exhibiting annoyance, the pastor claimed that they would have him watched while on the premises. 

Recently, it has been discovered that this man is living in close proximity to a public school.  Thankfully, an alert social worker has reported this.  However, due to the pastor’s irritation and this man’s lengthy history, Dee is still concerned for the well-being of children at that church.  Hoping said pastor is reading this blog, she pleads with him to keep the children safe.
Recently, Christianity Today did an interesting article called “Modern Day Lepers.”
The article discusses a convicted sex offender in North Carolina who violated the law by attending church.  He is not allowed within a certain distance of children.  The story goes on to discuss the dilemma faced by churches and pastors.
"One of the most vexing problems facing our society, and more particularly the church, is how to deal with sex offenders," said Pat Nolan, vice president of Prison Fellowship. "As one pastor expressed to me, 'Jesus taught us to be forgiving. However, he also has made me shepherd of my flock, and it is my responsibility to protect them from the wolves.'"
The article goes on to give another of example of the need for due diligence.

We have always tried to act from the position of the damage that would be done if someone offended/reoffended and we had known about it and did nothing or told no one," said Chambers, whose rural congregation averages Sunday attendance between 250 and 300.
In the case of one woman convicted of sex crimes against boys and girls, the church laid out specific guidelines, he said:  She'd arrive for the assembly, go directly to the sanctuary, and exit immediately when the service was over.  If she needed to use the restroom, specific members were assigned to accompany her.

"She complied for a period of time," Chambers said, "but then began to bend/break our requirements, so we told her that she was no longer welcome and notified the church that she then tried to attend."

This story gives an example of how quickly pedophiles can revert to their old ways.   These sorts of sexual addictions are somewhat like metastatic cancer.  For years, a person can appear healthy.  Unfortunately, even a single cell of cancer can lie dormant and return years later and lead to the death of an individual.  One must assume, for the sake of the children, that such an individual still is affected by those impulsive urges.  To pretend otherwise is to put one’s naïve wishes above practical realism.
There has been a very informative and moving news series of a man arrested for viewing child pornography.  This story was covered extensively in The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the links to both stories are included here.

Here is the synopsis.  This man viewed child pornography for approximately 43 years.  He was a successful, married local businessman.  The pornography that he viewed was apparently hideous (all child porn is hideous – please don’t misunderstand us) involving the torture of young children.  This man gave the local news unparalleled access into his life after his arrest.  He reportedly became a Christian and got involved in Bible studies and was being counseled both by professionals and a local church pastor.  He has been sentenced to 6 years in jail.
He has asked to be placed in a prison that counsels sex offenders as well as to be incarcerated in solitary confinement, probably fearing other prison inmates in jail would torture him.  Apparently, even prisoners in jail take offense at child offenders!
There are several interesting and disturbing facts about this situation.

1. The pastor of a local church (which had just undergone another incident involving an “undiscovered until it was too late” pedophile in his church. TWW thinks the church should at least give the appearance of understanding the pain of the victims, hint, hint)!  Said pastor went to court to give this guy a character reference and to ask the judge to give this man more time to get his affairs in order prior to incarceration.  Why?  Because the guy was now a Christian and had repented and was leading a decent life.  It is the opinion of TWW that this man should experience the inconvenience of immediate incarceration and that the pastor was wrong to request this.  The children that he watched being raped and tortured were very “inconvenienced” by their abuse.  Perhaps this man should experience a bit of “hassle” in his life.
2. I have searched these articles and I find something very important missing in the interview with both the perpetrator and the pastor.  The concern seems to be for the perp.  Never once did we see any concern expressed for the children who were brutalized.  This man supported these web sites.  Are he and the pastor involved in efforts to find these children?  Do the pray for the victims?  Do they ever lie awake nights thinking about them?  This whole story appears to be about the “poor” perp, the inconvenience of jail, and what a great guy he is now.  There is a link between pornography and narcissism.  The articles lead us to believe that this may still be all about him.
3. This man viewed this pornography at least 5 hours a day!  He said he has had this problem for 43 years.  Unless God provides a miracle, this habitual behavior will be a problem for him for the rest of his life.  Any pastor who thinks otherwise should look carefully at his understanding of sin and Scripture as well as the reams of data regarding the recidivism.
4. This man’s job was public relations, and he was quite successful in this field.  One must be concerned that he had prepared for this moment.  In fact, he claimed that he was waiting for years to be arrested, as stated in an earlier article.  No one should be so naïve that they wouldn’t consider the possibility that he is using his talents help the public view him in a favorable light.  Even if he is sincere, he could still be manipulating the system in his favor.  As one of my favorite pastors says, “Even on my best days my motives are mixed."
He appears to be a “gaming” the system.  He is requesting the best possible prison arrangements.  We wonder if all people, in his situation, would be able to prearrange for a solitary cell or a special treatment program.

There can be no doubt that we hope this man has turned his life around and is free from his sin.  Yet we refuse to be naïve.  There is too much at stake for the safety of our children.  There is also too much at stake for the church which, as we have seen, can easily fall victim to manipulative individuals.
Here are a few recommendations born of experience.

1.    Never, ever should anyone who has been convicted of pedophilia (we mean child molestation, not some teen kid having sex with another teen kid) be allowed anywhere near children without being accompanied by an escort.  And if he disobeys this rule, he should be thrown off the premises immediately!
2.    It is frustrating and frightening when pastors and church leaders do not act like they put the safety and welfare of the children first.  In this particular situation, there seems to be such an outpouring of support for this man and very little expressed concern for the tortured and abused children who were part of this man’s Internet life for the past 43 years.
3.    If a child, teen, or parent reports any concerns to the church, the pastors and church leaders must respond as if the allegation is true.  We have seen situations in which pastors, etc. refuse to believe such reports and chalk it up to “locker room behavior.”  We also see that people usually have a difficult time believing that pastors could engage in such behavior.  This is stupid and dangerous.
   We think it would be in the interest of these types of offenders to become involved in serving others at places such as rescue missions.  These offenders are narcissistic, and such service would do much for taking their minds of their self-centeredness.

Finally, we believe that the victims of these horrific crimes are often ignored.  In fact, we think pastors and offender revictimized their victims in their subsequent behavior.  Tomorrow we will focus on this subject alone.

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