Recently, a former youth pastor was sentenced to 29 years in prison for molesting a young girl. This case seems no different from the many we read in the news about pastors and priests fondling, molesting and raping young children. These cases are real, true and terrible, but they shouldn’t be a reflection on Christianity or Catholicism.
The youth pastor, Russell Lewis, worked at Church by the Glades, which has a congregation of 6,000 to 7,000 members. This congregation is led by many pastors and employees, who are not rapists or child molesters. They are using their position to further the gospel, not further the amount of children who are traumatized.
The pastors and priests, who are rapists and child molesters, deserve to be in prison for using their influence to take advantage of children. They deserve to never be allowed back into society for their crimes. Lewis deserves his 29-year sentence because he sexually molested a 14- year-old girl. However, these people should not be a reflection of pastors who use their positions to preach about their beliefs and only that.
Lewis helps create a stigma surrounding all religious figures because of his heinous crime. Men in these positions should not rape or sexually harass a young child. They should not traumatize a child because they have urges. They should not be in the positions they have. But some pastors and priests are in these positions and they rape children. It’s sad, awful and disgusting because these men are hypocritical. They preach one thing only to do the opposite.
There is a stigma surrounding the church and it is understandable. Who would want to be a part of a church, or a religion, where there is rape and child molestation? Fortunately, not all pastors and priests are like Lewis.
Lewis should not be a reflection of the church. The church is not full of perfect people. Pastors and priests are not perfect, because no one is, but they should handle their position in the church responsibly.
Church by the Glades probably suffered after Lewis was arrested and convicted of his crimes. Some members probably left because they felt they were attending a church with “bad” pastors. But two years after Lewis was arrested, the church still has a congregation of 6,000 to 7,000 members. These people probably realized that Lewis is a terrible person and it’s awful what he did as a youth pastor, but Church by the Glades, and its pastors and employees, should not be a reflection of Lewis.
If these people can see the difference between Lewis and the other pastors, so can you.