If there’s one issue that has haunted the earth for centuries, it is sexual abuse.
In the Old Testament, there are stories of sexual abuse, meaning that this is not a thing that is only plaguing modern society. In 2 Samuel, the Bible documents the story of Amnon, David’s son, contriving to have his half-sister Tamar alone in order to have incestuous sex with her.
Modern society has seen rising cases of sexual abuse, reported in the media while many of them go unreported. Teachers have been caught up in sexual liaison with students, priests have been accused of paedophile while parents have been caught in incest with their daughters.
Pope Benedict is reported to have admitted that sexual abuse of minors plagued the Catholic Church during his papacy. “As far as you mentioning the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can only, as you know, acknowledge it with profound consternation...,” he said.
According to Justin Halcomb in Grace and Truth, “sexual assault is a sin against God because the blessing of sexuality is used to destroy instead of build intimacy and because it is an attack against His image in His image-bearers. The ability of sexual assault to obscure internal and external relationships makes it a cosmic affront to the Creator and the order of his creation. Sexual assault is a sin against God because it violates his most sacred creation—human beings made in His image.”
If that be the case, then why are we witnessing increased sexual abuse, not only in the community but also among religious persons? Who are going to protect vulnerable women and children from this scourge if they cannot be protected by those who should? Does the church have moral authority on this issue when some of its members have been caught, literally speaking, with their pants down while sexually molesting children under their care?
In Mark 9:42, Jesus says : “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.”
While it’s clear that the bible condemns sexual sin, since sex should only be between married couple and for procreation, then are Christians doing enough to prevent it and teach the faithful against engaging in immoral sexual behaviour?
Some people like Miriam Umutesi of Kimironko believe that the church is not doing enough in this regard. “It’s like sex topic is a taboo that shouldn’t be preached from the pulpit. The preachers would rather talk about other mundane issues but be silent on matters sexual.”
She adds that when religious leaders involve themselves in sexual abuse, then it shows that the whole fabric of the society is being eaten by a worm and it would be hard going back to the straight and the narrow since they should be the ones leading us down the moral path, citing the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that were destroyed by God because of sexual immorality.
She notes that the Church should set clear guiding principles on dealing with past and present cases of abuse and work with police to fight the vice. “Abusers should also be stopped from entering priesthood and those found out must be excommunicated.”