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By Carl S ~

Question: If you have school-age children who are allowed to play in the neighborhood with their friends, do you tell them to trust every adult they encounter? If the answer is "yes" or "no," what are your reasons? Now that you've thought about it, another question: If you know a registered pedophile sex offender lives in your neighborhood, will you encourage them to trust him as an authority figure? In the latter case, aren't you setting them up to be victims?

Those questions are the result of another question proposed by WizenedSage: How can anyone continually abuse, or even stand by and watch children being abused? Since then, this question has troubled my mind, for a week now. I have to admit, the answers are profound. I suspected the roots might run deep.

Then came assistance, so to speak, on helping find the "logic" behind how pedophile clergy members alone can abuse children continually, with the tacit consent of their superiors and confidants. My mind became like a space probe on its journey to find answers, boosted by exploiting the gravity from a planet, when I watched a program about a Mormon cult. It's members were so dedicated to their spiritual prophet that they killed his rivals and their own kin members, because each of his "revelations” commanded them to. He and they were prosecuted and sentenced. This got me to ask my wife: Shouldn’t the Mormon Church be held responsible for educating his followers, which led them to kill for him? Her answer, that the cult was split off from that church, ergo, no longer considered a member, I found unsatisfactory. It missed something - the indoctrination the cult members had in their Mormon upbringing - to believe in divine, unquestionable revelations, and to trust those who communicate them as the will of God. They were already set up, pre-disposed to accept, follow, and obey the will of God as divinely revealed through his appointed living prophet.

Just as the members of cults are set up to become gullible to those who lead them, because of their childhood indoctrination, so too are the victims of pedophile clergy. And it is not only the children who are open to being used, but their parents. They also are indoctrinated to be gullibly trusting, having been raised in the same tradition. They trust the authorities enough to turn their children into their “safekeeping." Meanwhile, clerical authorities know what they are doing to them. Surely, this has been going on for hundreds of years.

And so we come round to answering the question of the raping of children, and their mental and physical abuse. It began with, and is continued by, trusted authority figures who depend on cover-ups, silence, and ecclesial approval. When it comes to preserving God's holy churches and holy teachings, the end justifies the means.

Does this partially answer the question, how can anyone continually abuse, or even stand by and watch children being abused, and do nothing to stop it? Doesn't their "Savior God" watch them being abused and not intervene? When it comes to really being saved, there is no savior. Do the abusers and their protectors care‘? What enables the system? One theological answer would include the dogma inculcated in those children that whatever happened to them was the will of God. Another would be that anything that affected them would be for the greater good.

It's easy to ignore the damage done by religions if you look the other way, or say, "Well, my kids are safe. That doesn't affect us." Most people would probably agree, because it doesn't affect them; it isn't close to home. But might we not agree that the system set up by religious indoctrination affects us all in many ways? The effects are closer to home than you think. Consider: cults, terrorists, ISIS, and the religious right. Is it a stretch to imagine many people in jail because they are "juvenile delinquents," considered dangerous to society, their crimes driven by reacting to the violence done to them as children, by trusted authorities? How much impotent rage has been ignored and shoved beneath the surface waiting to explode or implode? Why do prisoners hate pedophiles most of all?

There was a period of time when some peasants were devil worshipers. They believed that, since the ecclesial authorities were domineering and prospering, and corrupt, they were rewarded by their God, they would appeal to Satan, (who ruled the earth, according to what they were taught). "Serving God” only worked for the Church's benefit. You can understand their frustration.

This author has focused on Christianity for examples. However, the system and its tradition is the same for Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, etc., and in Jewish sects. Children are being set up for exploitation by trusting authority figures. Be forewarned; teach your kids to be streetwise when it comes to religious claims. Better yet, stay out of the neighborhood.