The scandal brought on by allegations that spiritual leader Bishop Eddie Long has coerced young men into sex has brought many parents to their knees. How could a man known for doing such good possibly turn around and hurt young people? Well, the truth is that this kind of behavior happens all of the time. Just ask a Catholic. Sick people in authority use their power to lord over youth (and adults) for their pleasure. For this reason, as a parent, you must know how to protect your child from a preying pastor. Just:
1. Go to youth meetings.
Don’t just look at the youth meetings and get-a-ways at your church as a free night for yourself. Attend them too and find out what the church is doing with your child. Also, see if any adults are too close for comfort with your young one, including the pastor.
2. Ask about church policy.
Protect your child from a preying pastor by finding out what the church policy is about adults working with children. Are kids around the pastor all of the time – in his private office or home? Does he take a special interest in a few of them and take them on trips? Get the details. What you learn could make you find a new place of worship.
3. Judge the pastor’s integrity.
Use your common sense and good judgment to determine if your pastor has integrity. If he’s been accused of other misdeeds (like Bishop Eddie Long) such as misappropriating money or abusing his wife, he may have other troubling problems too. Face the truth. Some people are gifted to speak, but their talent doesn’t make them holy. They have to struggle like the rest of us to do the right thing. Never follow behind the leadership of a man or woman like this.
4. Teach your child about life.
As you teach your child about Jesus, protect him from a preying pastor by telling him about life. Explain that some adults are sexually attracted to young people. As a result, they try to touch them inappropriately. Stress to him that this kind of activity isn’t all right under any circumstance. He has a right to say “no” even to a pastor.
5. Report any abuse you see.
The best way to safeguard your child from a preying pastor is to report any abuse you see. Go to the authorities even if other church members refuse to. Make sure your pastor’s poor behavior goes record, so an investigation can be started or charges brought against him. Remember, you can always change churches, but restoring the innocence of a molested child is impossible.
These are five ways you can protect your child from a preying pastor. Make them a part of your life and keep your child out of harms way at church.