Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?-- Matthew 7:1-3King James Version (KJV)
“Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone,” is a well-known quotation from the Bible. In many neighborhoods, the equivalent advice was “people who live in glass houses should not throw stones.” Both adages have approximately the same meaning. In the United States and possibly in the world, almost no one with access to news is unaware of sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church. News media outlets raced almost daily to find another abuse cover-up. However, during that time there was no national comparison of Protestant scandals of similarity. Many assumed that Protestant churches escaped that stigma because they operated differently from Catholic Christians.
In many cases, those who believed this were right. For instance, although the Southern Baptist Convention represents a large number of Baptist churches, those churches operate as autonomous entities. In fact, many Pentecostal and Evangelical churches operate at the behest of their leader. Traditional Protestant churches such as Lutheran, Episcopalian, Presbyterian and Anglican all have some type of central governing body. Nevertheless, none of these faiths is rarely, if ever, examined as a group.
This small enquiry is broken into multiple categories based on type of crime. The first section covers just a small number of cases for 2014 and 2015. After that, clergy crimes are listed by type. Understanding that this report is in no way extensive in depth, it does represent the various crimes involving Protestant clergy, which is extensive. Nevertheless, there is no way this short piece could capture in depth the extent of clerical crime among Protestants.
With that lack of examination in mind, the following is a high-level examination that skims the surface of the same crimes perpetrated by the Catholic Church. All though the cases listed stay focus mainly on convictions, plea agreements, sentencing and guilty pleas. Included in the scrutiny are such crimes ranging from murder to bank robbery. However, judging from even a shallow analysis, it appears that Protestant clergy are just as bad as their Catholic counterparts are if not worse.
Interestingly, going through the cases sentencing for similar crimes punishment varied widely from state to state and city to city. The lopsided application sentencing is disturbing. Sentences in this investigation ranged from as little of 6 months probation to 133 years. In some cases, the maximum sentenced was applied, but as mentioned often it seems the punishment didn’t fit the crime. Nevertheless, perpetrators in the sexual offense did receive punishment. Whether it was appropriate can only be determined by the judge issuing sentences and the victim’s family.
NOTE: Some of these cases have not been adjudicated. Nevertheless, they are public record and are available as such on line. Follow the link below for the full report.