A ministry Marianne and I are part of, through our churches, is Nathan’s Voice. It has helped many victims of sexual abuse by church leaders, and hardly a week goes by that we are not assisting or counseling yet another survivor – both men and women.
This is a widespread problem, involving leaders in the church who use their position of trust to sexually prey upon men and women seeking their help.
It effects all kinds of churches, from highly structured traditional churches to loosely organized organic fellowships – and all kinds of church leaders, from local “pastors” to so-called apostolic “workers”.
Most people are surprised to learn that in the United States, this is not illegal in most jurisdictions unless it involves some other misconduct – such as a direct physical assault, a minor, or maybe employment discrimination (i.e., sexual harassment in the workplace against an employee of the church).
All jurisdictions, however, make it illegal for an attorney, doctor, teacher, therapist or other helping professional to have sexual contact with someone seeking their professional help.
If it is illegal for attorneys, doctors, teachers and therapists, then why should it be legal for church leaders to use their position of trust to prey upon and sexually exploit anyone seeking their help?
Those in ministry in the church actually have heightened fiduciary responsibilities beyond all those other professions, and thus a greater potential for harm when they violate the trust we place in them. As such, it is appropriate to impose legal protections against sexual predation by abusive church leaders.
If you agree, please sign this petition to change the law in Virginia so it becomes illegal to sexually abuse men and women under the guise of church “ministry”.
The New Testament says that all Christians are subject to the God-given jurisdiction of the State to protect the innocent and punish evil. See Rom. 13:1-5. Church leaders, therefore, should NOT be exempt from civil authority when they sexually abuse others
You can sign this petition even if you live outside Virginia, although maybe you should consider launching a similar petition to change your state laws also.
Please pass this along to others and encourage them, too, to sign this petition.
~ Jim Wright