Sex Offenders in the Pew

Written by Scott J. Sheely on Sunday - October 17, 2010.

Christianity Today, October 17, 2010:  According to a recent article in Christianity Today, the U.S. Department of Justice's Sex Offender Registry includes the names and locations of 549,000 persons convicted of or charged with sex crimes. The odds are that if you are reading this article, you have come into contact with a sex offender or a victim, whether you know it or not. This in itself may account for the emotionally charged responses to sex offenders.  Click here to download a copy of the article.

In April 2010, Christianity Today International (CTI) conducted a national survey of 2,864 people, including ordained church leaders (15 percent), church staff (20 percent), lay members (43 percent), and other active Christians (22 percent). Respondents were drawn from the readers of CTI publications and websites. The purpose of the "Sex Offenders in the Church" survey was to explore attitudes and beliefs on whether to allow sex offenders to participate in faith communities. The survey explored what practices churches use to keep their congregations safe when sex offenders are welcomed.

Pastors, lay leaders, and churchgoers overwhelmingly agree that sex offenders who have legally paid for their crime should be welcomed into churches. In fact, 8 in 10 respondents indicated that registered offenders should be allowed to attend church under continuous supervision and subject to appropriate limitations.

About the Author

Scott J. Sheely

Scott J. Sheely

Scott J. Sheely served as Executive Director of the Lancaster County Workforce Investment Board from 2000 until early 2015. He has worked as a Human Resource Director of a large mental health agency, operations manager of a nursing home chain, associate pastor of a church, and owner of a wholesale jewelry business.

Under Sheely's leadership, the WIB created the first health care-based Industry Partnership in Pennsylvania. He serves on the steering committee of the Pennsylvania Center for Health Careers and recently served on the Workfroce Cabinet of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.