Protestants have their own clergy scandals
Weblog is getting deluged with letters about a recent article on what the clergy abuse scandal means for evangelicals. Many readers didn't like part of the article's report, which suggested that clergy abuse of minors is less common in Protestant churches than it is in Roman Catholic parishes. Don't blame the messenger: That's what the interviewees and other reports said.
An Associated Press report, however, has an opposing view. "While data are sketchy, at least one expert believes the incidence of clergy molesting young children may be about as frequent—or infrequent—in Protestantism as it is in Catholicism," reports AP religion writer Richard N. Ostling. The expert is Penn State historian Philip Jenkins, who says Catholic cases get exaggerated and Protestant cases get ignored. Jenkins admits he has no hard numbers to back up his case, but says neither do those who say it's more common in Catholicism.
Actually, some hard numbers have surfaced from Christian Ministry Resources, the publisher of Church Law & Tax Report (the editor, Richard Hammar, was quoted in the earlier CT online article). "Despite headlines focusing on the priest pedophile problem in the Roman Catholic Church, most American churches being hit with child sexual-abuse allegations are Protestant, and most of the alleged abusers are not clergy or staff, but church volunteers," summarizes The Christian Science Monitor. "Over the past decade, the pace of child-abuse allegations against American churches has averaged 70 a week."
Burnhams spotted? Maybe. U.S. ...1
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