The scandals of the Catholic Church are well known. To this day the church is still acceding to multi-million dollar settlements  — the latest is a $210 million agreement between the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis and 450 victims of priestly abuse.

But the Catholics are hardly alone either in producing abusers or in concealing their abuse. Evangelicals are their soul mates in criminally deviant and sinful behavior. Although evangelicals commit more crimes against girls, visit more prostitutes and unlike Catholic priests (who are unmarried) they commit adultery.

Evangelicals also follow the Catholic model for dealing with their crimes – protecting the abuser and dismissing the victim. However, unlike Catholics, evangelicals belong to a very loose confederation. There is no central authority setting rules. Each church is free to decide its own code of conduct. Which means that estimating the scope of abuse is far harder.

Evangelicals also differ from Catholics in that they are big on victim blaming — from accusations of flat-out lying to charges that the victim brought it on herself. Even when the victim is prepubescent.

Sexual abuse by church leaders creates cognitive dissonance among church members. They have been told since birth that the church is an oasis of morality in a desert of sin. Tales of sexual assault don’t jibe with that core belief, especially when the perpetrator is a religious leader. And, as witnessed in the Josh Duggar affair, evangelicals believe the best way to deal with sexual abuse is to treat it as a sin, subject to spiritual counseling, rather than a crime, deserving a criminal remedy.

Evangelicals also love sinners. I suspect in their philosophy forgiving the sinner makes them feel righteous and superior. Although I’m not sure how it helps those sinned against.

You have to believe that witnessing a procession of guys busted for sexual sins — gnashing and wailing and begging God for forgiveness — while their ‘adoring’ wife bravely stands beside them — and the congregation embraces them — might give a man, prone to sinning, the belief that there isn’t much downside to behaving abominably.

Hasidic and other ultra-orthodox Jews have the same desire to keep their crimes in-house. With Orthodox Jews, the situation is exacerbated by a deep distrust of goyish American law enforcement. Some Jews even believe that it is mesirah (or banned) to turn a Jew over to non-Jewish authorities. Although, as you might imagine, in this legalistically obsessed community there is a variety of opinions.

While it’s hard to say for sure, it seems likely that religion does not make a man more likely to be a pedophile, visit prostitutes or commit adultery. But it does make it more likely that his crime will be covered up.

Fundamentalist Muslims take it one step further. They solve the crime against women problem by defining behaviors most people think as criminal as not criminal. For example, blaming unmarried women for their own rapes. Giving married men unlimited sexual rights over their wives. And permitting wife beating.

If religious people are confused as to what to do if they uncover a crime here’s a simple rule — report it to the police. Colleges should follow the same procedure.


Wells Fargo Pays a $1B Dollar Fine. The Finance Industry Shrugs.

April 27, 2018

There will be no end to corporate crime unless CEOs, CFOs and COOs start going to jail. The crash of 2007 revealed all kinds of shady, unscrupulous financial industry practices. Banks paid billions in fines — often referred to as ‘the cost of doing business’ — but only one executive served any time, Kareem Serageldin of Credit Suisse. And […]

Read the full article →

Trump Takes a Nixonian Approach to Drug Addiction.

March 20, 2018

Trump went to New Hampshire today to tell Granite Staters that the solution to the drug epidemic is the death penalty for drug dealers. Which is a typical piece of Trump marketing. It’s splashy. It gets headlines. And it is useless. Drug dealers already work in a business where death is a fact of life. And for every […]

Read the full article →

Trump’s Plan to Defeat Addiction is to Execute Drug Dealers.

February 26, 2018

The word in Trump World is that the big guy’s solution to drug addiction is to knock off the drug dealers. And there we were thinking all we needed was a wall. As he often does, he floated the idea as a joke. (From Axios) He often jokes about killing drug dealers… He’ll say, ‘You know […]

Read the full article →

Fighting a ‘War on Drugs’ Is Pointless. We Have to Fight a ‘War on Addiction’

October 30, 2017

At 3 AM on Sunday morning, Carlos Andrade 22, stepped outside of the family’s Brooklyn home to smoke a cigarette with his father Joseph Andrade, 44. An hour later both he and dad were dead from a heroin/fentanyl overdose. They are mourned by their family and friends, but to everyone else, they are just two more names in the list of […]

Read the full article →

Trump Declares a National Opioid Emergency. Now What?

August 10, 2017

Donald Trump declared opioids a national health emergency – but did so two days after his Secretary of HHS said that it was premature to do so. An administration about-face which raises questions about Trump’s sincerity – if Trump’s lack of follow through on everything wasn’t already enough to cause doubt. Add in the fact that […]

Read the full article →

Why Are We Addicted to Treating Addiction as a Crime?

March 20, 2017

What would be the best way to solve addiction in this country? You don’t know the answer? Or do you have the wrong answer? You are not alone. The architects of the “War on Drugs” are equally ignorant. A century ago we decided that drug addiction is a crime. Which is an odd – and unique […]

Read the full article →

The FIFA Scandal Shows that Loosening Financial Regulation Is A Gift to Bankers.

May 30, 2015

“A criminal remains a criminal whether he uses a convict’s suit or a monarch’s crown.” ― Victor Hugo It is said that the only things we can be sure of are death and taxes – let’s add cheating, and take a good look at taxes. Almost every week some business pleads ‘no contest’ to some […]

Read the full article →

For Bigotry to Flourish, Its Victims Must Be Stripped of their Humanity

May 16, 2015

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view — until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” Harper Lee – ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Racism, xenophobia, and other bigotry are easy when you do not see people as individuals – but only as part of a […]

Read the full article →