Sex offenders like to go to church.

93% describe themselves as religious.

The most egregious sex offenders–those who have the most victims, the youngest victims and those who get away with it for the longest amount of time–are the ones most actively involved in their churches or synagogues. The offenders themselves tell researchers, “I like to go to church because even if they catch me, all I have to do is cry. If I cry and mouth the right words of repentance they aren’t going to report me. They will send me back into the flock because it’s all about keeping the family together” (from a presentation by Victor Veith, Director of the National Child Protection Training Center).

One molester, a minister, said: ” I considered church people easy to fool…They seem to want to believe in the good that exists in all people…and because of that you can easily convince [them that you will not harm again.]” (From Dr. Anna C. Salter in interviews with convicted sex offenders from the documentary Sex, Lies, and Sex Offenders)

Last week Billy Graham’s grandson, Boz Tchividjian, proclaimed that the Christian mission field is a “magnet” for sexual abusers, even going as far as to say that evangelicals are “worse” than Catholics on sex abuse and hypocrisy.

Today’s Call to Prayer, at 3 PM wherever you are located, is a prayer for deliverance from denial; a prayer to find the courage to pull our heads from the sand. May we become ready and willing to find the courage to speak up and stand up, to report suspicions and work with authorities, to install and enforce stringent policies, to name known abusers and hold them accountable. This is a Call to Prayer for each one of us in our corner to take necessary actions to end the sexual abuse of children, women and youth in Mennonite and religious congregations, homes, and institutions.

Click here to see the original Call to Prayer for Sexual Healing posted in July.

“The solution to sexual violence is acceptance of reality. We will never deal effectively with the problem of sexual aggression if we do not first find, examine, and deal with the myths we use to make ourselves feel safe.” — Dr. Anna C. Salter