Child Molester in Church
If you discovered a convicted sex offender was attending your church, what would you do? Reverend Madison Shockley explains his congregations response when a convicted child molester wanted to join
Tom Fudge: If you know anything about the United Church of Christ, you know it doesn't tend to promote a conservative biblical morality. UCC pastors, and church members, preach tolerance and they judge people lightly. They embrace gay and lesbian members. The church is democratic in its governance.
But that famous tolerance wore thin, earlier this year, when the pastor of a Carlsbad UCC church asked his flock to accept a former child molester. The man, named Mark, was convicted of molesting two boys in the early 80s. He was convicted of indecent exposure in 1998. Since his release from the Atascadero state hospital, he's tried to turn his life around, and he's sought help and comfort in religion.
But many members of the Carlsbad Church weren't comfortable with thier new member, to say the least. And the mother of two kids at the church's pre-school has mounted a campaign to get the man banned from the church. Right now, church members are trying to decide what to do. And during this part of our show, we will wonder with them.
- Reverend Madison Shockley , pastor of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Carlsbad
- Reverend Debra Haffner , director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing in Norwalk, Connecticut, and author of the book " A Time to Heal: Protecting Children and Ministering to Sex Offenders ."