Thu | Aug 24, 2017

Devon Dick | Wickedness vs weakness in sex scandal

Published:Thursday | January 19, 2017 | 1:00 AM

The recent report that a married pastor has been charged with carnal abuse and rape of an underage child raises issues for Christians as to whether a paedophile is a sign of weakness, wickedness or sickness.

Glenn Tucker in the Letter of the Day (January 13) argued based on the work of James Cantor of the University of Toronto who theorises that paedophilia is caused by biological susceptibility. Tucker concludes that 'nobody chooses to be a paedophile'. How he knows that not even one paedophile made a conscious decision? However, because one has a predisposition to certain action it does not mean he has no control over sexual urges. One does not have to act on one's preferences and proclivities. If Tucker is correct, then we will no longer have just LGBT but we would have to add a 'P' for paedophile to make it LGBTP because some argue that nobody chooses to be LGBT. However, paedophiles make a conscious decision. It is not a sickness.

But is it a weakness? The Bible has different words for the English word 'sin'. Weakness would be when one misses the mark and fall short of expectations. So when a man and a woman, who are not in love, become intimate out of lustful desires, then that could be considered weakness. However, there is wickedness which is rebelling against God's will; engaging in lawlessness; deliberately and stubbornly engaging in iniquity. It is presumptuous sinning. It is flying in the face of God. An example in the Bible would be in the Corinthian Church, 'there is sexual immortality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father's wife. And you are proud!' (1 Cor. 5:1-2). Similarly, we must recognise that rape of an underage child is grievous; an act of depravity and wickedness. It is unspeakable agony when a child's early sexual experience is rape. It robs her of peace of mind, innocence, proper understanding of sexuality and relationships. No wonder many contemplate suicide or become sexual perverts or hate men.

God hates sin and it alienates people from God. To restore a healthy relationship with God there has to be an awareness of sin and attrition for sin. The person ought to confess that what was done was wrong without excuse or scapegoating. In addition, there should be repentance, which means a commitment to change course.

 

DID NOT ACT

 

It is good that the accused pastor has resigned from pastoral duties even before the court trial. In addition, the president of the denomination has resigned from the post as well as from the Teachers' Services Commission because of the allegation that he was aware of similar misconduct and did not act, and now claimed lack of knowledge. Furthermore, the bishop who was scheduled to speak at the Leadership Prayer Breakfast withdrew, perhaps because he did not want to be a distraction. What is needed now is swift conclusion of these matters and allow the chips to fall where they may, and also allow the innocent and their families to get on with their lives and the victims to find closure and get our support.

What is the way forward? Report any suspicion or action about sexual assault of underage children. The Church must support gender equality in word and deed and teach children about their sexuality and rights. In addition, there should be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to receive complaints from persons who, while as minors, were sexually assaulted. There may be difficulty in prosecuting the perpetrators because of time lapse, but the desire would be for closure and compensation.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.