Sex offenders are the foremost pariahs of our current day. In opinion polls, even intravenous drug users place higher. A recent series of high profile cases involving child sexual abuse have revealed the maddening frequency of the problem. My hometown newspaper now exists in electronic format, and as I read the local news, it seems that every other week brings a report of a new crime against minors. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Most are the product of incest, unreported, hushed up within families. The offenses that occur in a public setting, among those who aren't blood relatives, most often make it to most peoples' attention.
One of the few places sex offenders are welcomed and made to feel included are in houses of worship. It shouldn’t be said that the red carpet is necessarily rolled out for them. Yesterday, during Meeting for Worship, an issue that has lain smoldering for over a year once again took center stage. A frequently tone-deaf member of the Meeting implied strongly in her vocal ministry that the sex offender who has been Worshiping with us has no right to participate. He has provided no problems whatsoever for anyone since he began attending, three or so years ago. In her mind, exhaustive policies made to ensure child safety were a waste of time, since there was no way to contain the potential threat.
The sex offender she called out by her vocal ministry took understandable offense to the treatment, leaving Worship in dramatic fashion, midway through. His son departed with him, leaving an ugly energy behind in the Meetinghouse. Healing ministry followed, though what had been a joyful gathering until then was still soured by its conclusion. The man rightfully noted, as he parted, that he had been treated the same way as the tax collectors, prostitutes, and lepers of Jesus’ day. ..Continued.. by cabaretic