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Monday, November 5, 2007

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on November 5 at 8:30 AM

If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they do in churches, angry mobs would burn ‘em all down. From MSNBC:

Police said a youth minister was arrested for allegedly having sex with more than one child. According to police, Marshal Seymour turned himself in Friday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest, WESH 2 News reported.

The Lakeland Police Department said the warrant came after an investigation that Seymour committed numerous sexual offenses while he was a volunteer youth minister at the First Baptist Church at the Mall in Lakeland.

Police said Seymour allegedly engaged in sexual activity with more than one minor and often paid the victims money for the sexual conduct or to keep quiet about the encounters that had occurred.

Yeah, yeah: churches do more than facilitate the sexual abuse of children. They do good works. Denny’s serves delicious Grand Slam breakfasts—and magic chocolate chip waffles that cure hangovers. And Denny’s would still be out of business—burned to the ground by angry mobs, shuttered by the outraged authorities—if kids got raped by Denny’s cooks and waitresses as often as kids are raped by ministers, priests, and youth pastors.

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I have a new goal for America. Let's go a whole week without these "Christians" molesting children. How about it America? Can we try that just for a week?

Posted by Just Me | November 5, 2007 8:47 AM

I never thought of it like that before. Hmmmm. . .

Posted by Michigan Matt | November 5, 2007 8:52 AM

So Dan, to you think there are a given number of child molesters in the world and they all gravitate to churches, the Boy Scouts and schools, because that's where the kids are? Kind of like the bank robber who robbed banks because that's where the money is? Or that the existence of churches creates child molesters? Do societies with fewer or less well attended churches have fewer child rapists?

I'm just asking.

Posted by elenchos | November 5, 2007 8:55 AM

I'm a stone cold atheist, and think religions are a complete waste of time, but your argument is unconvincing.

Try these sentences out:

If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they do in doctor's offices...

If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they do in police cars...

If kids got raped at Denny’s as often as they do in public schools...

Some percentage of authority figures are malformed and use their authority to abuse those in their care. Deal with it.

Posted by Big Sven | November 5, 2007 8:59 AM

And by "your", I mean Dan not elenchos...

Posted by Big Sven | November 5, 2007 9:00 AM

Keep me out of this Dan. You owe me that much.

Posted by Denny | November 5, 2007 9:02 AM

It’s sick enough to read about child abuse, but these inane extrapolations are getting so tiresome. It just recently happened in a mosque.

We only need focus on the fact that there is a percentage of evil people in every venue where there are kids.

Posted by raindrop | November 5, 2007 9:03 AM

I have a Youth Pastor Watch, winde it up and its hands are all over you.

Posted by Very Reverend | November 5, 2007 9:03 AM

if you're repressed enough to become a christian 'youth pastor' in your 20s, when you should be out screwing your way through the phone book on the way to finding a mate, then it only follows that you're going to try & screw what is at hand.

monotheist religion warps sexuality. warped sexuality compromises ethics.

Posted by max solomon | November 5, 2007 9:05 AM

Dan, on this issue your perspective differs from that of Ann Coulter only slightly. The essential difference is that she rants about the evils of Muslims and liberals, whereas for you it's Christians and Republicans. This post is just atheist spank material.

Posted by Greg | November 5, 2007 9:13 AM

@10, but the problem is where are the stories of Athiest child molesters?

Posted by Just Me | November 5, 2007 9:15 AM

@11: I dunno, but I can find plenty of stories about mall Santas and school teachers raping their students, as well as sports coaches. Should we burn down the malls, the schools, and the sports stadiums?

Posted by Greg | November 5, 2007 9:17 AM

#8: LOL

Posted by Tim | November 5, 2007 9:17 AM

I'd rather be raped in a church than be dining at a Denny's.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 5, 2007 9:19 AM

@11, well the athiest clild molestors are likely down the street at that day orphanage (oops I mean day care) center.

Posted by raindrop | November 5, 2007 9:20 AM

Is THAT why they tore down the one in Ballard?

Posted by Gem | November 5, 2007 9:23 AM

Perhaps atheist child molesters pretend to believe in God so they can join a church and get access to the kids. Especially if they don't know how to coach soccer.

It could be that churches are worse at screening people than little league or public schools. But I haven't heard any evidence one way or another. So do more secular societies have fewer kids assaulted?

Posted by elenchos | November 5, 2007 9:26 AM

The only way to completely eliminate this sort of thing would be to eliminate all positions where adults teach, babysit, or in any way interact with children when their parents aren't around.

The real scandal with churches in when they try to cover it up.

Posted by flamingbanjo | November 5, 2007 9:26 AM


Sounds like a plan to me.


Funny thing though, you never hear about licensed daycare workers raping children. Why is that, do you think?

Posted by COMTE | November 5, 2007 9:26 AM

@14, i'm inclined to agree. The thought of going to Denny's tends to induce depression.

Posted by janette | November 5, 2007 9:28 AM

Is this why you're voting for Mike Huckabee, Dan? According to the Washington Post, everyone is.

Posted by Kat | November 5, 2007 9:37 AM

Certainly it is true that if you boarded up all the churches tomorrow, you would not eliminate child molesters. They'd just find another way to do their dirty deeds.

However, churches are not completely innocent. Churches that force their clergy to repress any sexual outlet are only screwing up their priests/ministers. They are exacerbating the situation and asking for trouble. Churches as a whole do a lousy job screening clergy who work with children. Schools and daycare centers do a much better job screening. Churches allow and even encourage private interaction between clergy and children. Schools and daycare centers usually have policies that forbid or discourage private interaction between the staff and kids. The church has had a longstanding and broad history of covering for child molesters and just moving them to different churches. If a teacher or daycare worker is accused of child molesting they are promptly and thoroughly investigated. If guilty they are fired and/or jailed.

So while churches don't directly cause child molesting, they do little to curb it and a lot to facilitate it and cover it up. If I had a kid, I wouldn't let him/her anywhere near a church.

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 5, 2007 9:44 AM

for everyone who thinks churches are a bastion for this problem, check this out:

if children were getting raped at denny's with the frequency they get at school, the Lumberjack Slam® would be a lot more popular.

@14 ha! feel for me: first job... denny's.

Posted by infrequent | November 5, 2007 10:01 AM

My grandparents told me that, after all of the Catholic priest abuse scandals started showing up in the news, they (finally) started screening childcare volunteers at their church for sexual offenses or offenses against children - I think they actually give real background checks. Nice to know that, however slowly, at least some of the fundies are evolving on this issue...

Posted by Hernandez | November 5, 2007 10:01 AM

I actually went to college in Lakeland, Florida where this youth pastor operated. Over a late-night meal in Denny's there I was once propositioned by an almost stereotypically skeezy looking child-molester to come to his place and watch "some films I made with children".

True story that is a strange nexus of Denny's and fucked up sex.

How bout that?

Posted by newyorkguy | November 5, 2007 10:07 AM

C'mon, Dan. Where kids congregate, the molesters will too. We're not gonna shut down all schools, Boy Scout troops, pediatricians' offices, little leagues, ballet schools, etc. because some children will get molested at them.

Statistically, you're off anyhow. At any given time, between 1/4 and 1/3 of Americans attend religious services weekly, and you get close to half for attending around once a month. That's up to 150 million people who go to church at least on a monthly basis. About a quarter of the US population is under 18, so, 32.5 million children in church at least once a month, being conservative, since fundies do like having lots of kids. And how many get molested by their clergy?

How do schools hold up to those numbers? How about Campfire Boys and Girls? Either way, I bet schools, youth clubs, and churches all hold up spectacularly next to home sweet home. Remember, the most likely person to molest a child is a family member.

Posted by Gitai | November 5, 2007 10:54 AM

One aspect being overlooked here is the trust factor. Established offenders are going to be attracted to situations where there is a culture of trust, and where better than churches for that? An active population that actively wants to believe the best of the others in their midst as well as innate goodness of people - especially members of their own faith. Of course they are going to be juicy targets for manipulators devoid of conscience. They always have been and always will be.

Also not mentioned is the promise of a 'cure' for sin that many of these churches promise. They get people with deep-seated issues with abuse of authority or children and tell them Jeebus will fix them if they just 'Believe!' Years later they're well integrated into the church community and they still aren't fixed just repressed and only the opportunity is needed for it all to come out. Churches offer comfort to alot of people that are vulnerable or marginalized in the community and can often be very sheltered from the wider community as well enhancing those opportunities.

Then add in situations like the catholics where you have entire populations of sexually repressed church leaders up and down the hierarchy, along with a paranoiac need to protect the church's image, and it would be a miracle if these abuses weren't happening.

Religion itself is not the problem and no religion is immune. It is the specific social, cultural and economic situations that allow authoritarian religion to flourish that also attracts abusers.

Posted by mike in oly | November 5, 2007 11:27 AM

I hate to say it, but child molestation is just not that black and white. Take the BSA; they have very strict policies against molestation ("Two Deep" Leadership) and yet boys still get abused, adults arrested. You yourself Dan just posted an article about a 25 year old female teacher kidnapping her 13 year old student without very much fanfare. What, is a female predator at school not as bad as a male religious predator? Tad sexist, n'est pas?
What makes these policies especially damaging is that there are genuinely good adults out there who are unable to reach out to kids because of the Culture of Fear... Boy Scout leaders who suspect abuse in the family but can't speak to the child alone about it, and it's difficult enough to get a victim to talk alone to a trusted person, let alone two.
Why the attack on churchs? I agree whole heartedly with you that these bastards are sick... But I don't think it's necessarily religion that inspires it, it's more organizations that inspire that trust and bonding but can be abused. Even BSA policies can be manipulated. How bout you post some articles about boys getting molested at camp or at all-boy schools with as much vigor?

Posted by Marty | November 5, 2007 1:23 PM

My simple rule: anyone who wants to work with children is a molester. Youth pastors should be randomly picked from the adult pastorate; scout leaders should be picked from the childfree movement.

Posted by Mr. Wilson put mustard on Dennis' wiener | November 5, 2007 1:28 PM

This is a strawman argument. Everyone knows Denny's is a wholesale child rape clearinghouse and nobody has ever lifted a finger to burn any of them down.

Posted by Nice Try | November 5, 2007 2:22 PM

I've never been raped in a Denny's, but every time I go there's an orgy in my mouth.

Posted by ilovewaffles | November 5, 2007 3:17 PM

Agreed--typical atheist, anti-Denny's propaganda.

Posted by NJ Matt | November 5, 2007 7:17 PM

"Police said a youth minister was arrested for allegedly having sex with more than one child."

I like the wording, it implies that the crime was having sex with MORE THAN ONE child. That it would have been okay if he'd done just one, or just one at a time.

Posted by Teresa | November 5, 2007 7:42 PM

No, no, Dan. It's completely different, see, churches benefit society by... uh... oh, they don't pay any taxes at all, do they? Make churches pay taxes, and add on a special "fucking children up" tax. If they don't pay -- they'll probably refuse -- seize their property, in other words, the churches, and sell them to Denny's.

Posted by Donovan | November 5, 2007 10:13 PM

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