There Is No Morality Without Religion


sorry, but did joel say something to contradict this? i don't read his column, so i don't know what you are reacting to.
Maybe I'm missing something here, but 1/33 seems to correspond pretty closely to the percentage of women I wouldn't kick out of bed. Seems to me that it has nothing to do with religion; that's just the odds you have do deal with out there.
Plenty of ministers take advantage of congregants through the power, real or imaginary, that they have over them. But if you're a single nice, ethical guy/gal minister in a denomination that allows marriage, you're still in a pickle when it comes to dating. The congregation is your obvious fishing pond, but people still unrealistically expect you to be above "the desires of the flesh." The normal, healthy dating progression to sex creates all kinds of pitfalls--perceptions of hypocrisy, jealousies, worries about gossip esp. if the relationship ends, etc. You would need to be extremely discrete, or try to do your dating in a whole different social sphere. Either way, nosy people will judge you even if you're the world's best boy scout.

Far better to be an articulate, out, gay, advice columnist. Good choice, Dan.
The energy that radiates from the combined sexual repression of the ultra-conservative can be seen from Mars.
how many girls are hit on and harrassed at high school?
keep'em out of school!
how many women are hit on at work?
keep'em in the home!
You can count me as one. I'm now an agnostic, but while I was going through marriage problems, the fundamentalist preacher at my mother's church gave me "counseling." Within the first minute of sitting down he steered the conversation to whether or not I had had orgasms with my husband...pervert!!!! I did ream him out!
Um...Dan? Do some math, please.

1 in 33. In other words, about 3%. What do you suppose would happen if we compared that number to the percentage of women who have experienced sexual advances from male authority figures in other settings? Work supervisors, doctors and therapists, military superios, etc.?

Yes, it's good to point out that churches aren't the safe havens we think they are (unless you're a child molestor who wants relative impunity), but this number doesn't really prove anything. I respect criticizing the church, but we don't need intellectual dishonesty to do it.
2 & 4 have good points & so does Dan. But women and girls are also preyed upon by cocky jack asses with an overblown sense of entitlement everywhere. This is a predatory society.

The hypocrisy in these church going instances is duly noted. It’s sick because these charismatic jack holes think they are rock stars but they deceive and lie to manipulate vulnerable men & women. But then again, it’s disturbing to me that a lot of men behave that way and society is pretty okay with their objectification of mostly women and girls.
Only 3% have been getting hit on by largely married pastors? Gotta say that sounds like somewhat better behavior than the rest of society.
@9 and everyone else who brought up the fact that 1 in 33 is pretty average: I gotta agree with you. Church is a very personal setting, and people hit on each other. Sheesh.

It's not like churches are festering cesspools of sexual harassment; it's just that people who pretend that church is somehow apart from the normal scumminess of everyday society and the natural behavioral tendencies of humans are wrong.

Kudos @ 7, though. It's good of Dan to raise awareness of the fact that church isn't always a safe haven. But no where is.
Some people can't appreciate the difference between being hit on by your boss, who's just your boss, and hit on by our pastor or priest.
Another few things:

1. way to sensationalize the fact that the advances were made "in secret" - exactly how often do sane people make the majority of their sexual advances for the whole world to see?

2. Women who stopped going to church? Um, I hate to break it to you, Dan, but most people who care enough about church to go are going to choose a different church rather than stop going altogether.

3. "two thirds of the offenders were married to someone else..." No, two thirds of the OFFENSES were committed by someone who was married. Unless the study names them all individually, there's no way to know if each "offender" committed only one "offense" (highly unlikely) or if those making adulterous advances were doing more than their share (highly likely).

Yes, Dan, I do know the difference between being hit on by your boss and being hit on my your pastor or priest: when it's your boss, you can lose your income, the roof over your head, the food on your table and your health insurance.

When it's your pastor, you lose a weekend activity. Whoop de doo.

And I say this as a woman of faith. C'mon, Dan.
One of the defining hallmarks of gurus (or any charismatic religious or social leader) is their sexual license among their followers. Their followers reinforce the guru's perceptions of his own standing amongst the group, and sooner or later --and ALWAYS-- that translates to using the followers to fulfill whatever sexual need he has or wishes to explore.

It's almost a tautology, it's so common. For people who study this kind of thing, it'd be surprising if this stuff didn't go on.
Men pursue positions of power in order to use it to their advantage, predominantly for sexual activity. Duh! Women in every institution have to be aware of that, and parents need to be very careful with their children. Although today's YPW included one woman who hit on a kid, the vast majority of abuses are perpetrated by men.

So since testosterone seems to be the driving factor in sexual power abuses, is the solution chemical castration? That's a drastic solution to a pervasive problem, and not one that I advocate. But name another factor that has more influence on the abuse of power than the drive that testosterone gives to abusers, and we'll see what solutions can be found for that.
My aunt fucked our parish priest. He later left the Church because he was in love with another woman in the congregation.

My mother was hit on by her priest (Episcopal). She turned him down, but he also had an affair with her best friend, who played the piano for the choir. She'd gone to him for counseling about her marriage problems.

When these things happen, the congregation usually blames the women and gives the priests a pass.
@ 14, one of my points as #8 was that sexuality/sexual desires are normal human features. That will never go away nor should it. You are right though that most sexual perpetrators are men, men in all walks of life want sex. Our society, in general has a tendency to raise boys with an overblown sense of entitlement to girls. From a young age girls are heavily socialized to be objects of beauty. I’m happy to have a lot of testosterone. But I think people need to be enculturated so that they treat others with respect and humanity – not something that’s there just for the taking.
I meant to @ 15 ... not 14.

and in case I didn't make it clear, sexuality is normal but these abuses of trust and power are not normal or healthy expressions of sexuality... which everyone here agrees with anyway -
Hmmmm.....1 in 33 women worship-service-attenders has suffered a sexual advance by a religious leader, a typical small congregation has one minister and at least 33 adult women in it....
EVERY religious leader is a sex offender!
The church is not exempt from being exposed to the same depraved individuals that other institutions are also exposed to. But i'm glad the light has been shed on this problem even if it was 1%, one person being subjected to this sort inappropriate behavior in what's supposed to be the body of Christ is intolerable and in the end it only serves to empower those who despise the church. As the Living word says in Mark 9;42-47

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out."

"And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell."

"And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell"

So the church is always better served by casting out these individuals and bringing them to justice, so that the good name of our Lord is not easily taken in vain by those who seek to.
My foot can cause me to sin? Where, at the bowling alley? In the long jump?
22 Father Wigglesworth! huh-huh.

black box word: fishy!
@Dan - there's a good reason that the ones who aren't married are doing this in secret anyway - it's wrong. It may not be against the rules for them to date and marry, but you can bet that it's against the rules for them to take advantage of their parishioners. It's sexual misconduct and if it comes out they lose not just that job, but their career, and properly so.
@16 - When did all this happen? My understanding is that the rules are pretty strict nowadays, and if someone turned that guy in he should have been deposed.
The way in which some of these so-called ministers take advantage of their parishoners has to stop. It hurts me to my heart, and I am speaking from personal experience. I was one of those parishoners. Believe me, I tried to tell my story to the media, but no one wants to print it. If anyone can offer any advice as how to expose this minister, I will appreciate it very much. I have been carrying this burden for too many years, and it has destroyed my health. The hurtful part is this minister thinks it is ok. What is worst, I am not the only parishoner that he took advantage of. I really do have to speak out on this, and maybe other ministers would think twice before using their parishoners to satisfy their sexual desires. Hope someone would help me .