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Apr 18 2012

At Least He’s Trying

You’re getting newsy bits until I can stay awake and focused long enough to do some writing again. Here’s a local one–another sexual abuse scandal in a church.

Darwin Schauer worked for eight years as a lay pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lake George, Minnesota, a small community southwest of Bemidji. He did so despite the fact that district leaders of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod knew he was convicted in 1983 of sexual abuse of a minor.

Schauer, 70, retired in 2008, but continued to fill in as a minister at Trinity up until early March, when he was arrested and charged with 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct for allegedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Now, the ordained pastor who replaced Schauer, the Rev. Don Kirchner, is demanding a shakeup of the Missouri Synod’s leadership in response to the fact church officials tolerated a sex offender continuing to work in a leadership position.

Let’s hope he gets it. It’s bad enough that the unearned authority of a priesthood is there to be abused in cases like this. It’s even worse that those with more authority abused their positions of trust to make it possible.

Note as well that this is one of the things that makes the structure of the Catholic church an evil in and of itself. At least this pastor has a chance of making changes. That can’t happen in a completely top-down organization with a leader who claims unique access to the mind of God.

3 comments

  1. 1
    Ben Zvan

    It’s a terrible story, but I really want to be able to give people the benefit of the doubt if they’ve been convicted and served their time. On the other hand, there’s a fairly high recidivism rate for most crimes which means that serving time isn’t really useful punishment/rehabilitation. I don’t know how to feel about that.

  2. 2
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Frankly I’m surprised that any calls for justice are coming from within the church itself. Missouri Synod Lutherans are pretty authoritarian, and not exactly progressive.

    As far as the idea of rehabilitation goes, if someone’s served their time, they’re free to re-enter the community. But there are some offences that I think should close some career paths.

  3. 3
    abusedbypenguins

    Religion attracts child molesters like fleas to a dog. Every person who identifies as a christian is assumed to be a child molester until proven not, individualy. This applies to muslims, jews, buddhists, zoroasters-everyone who wears their religion on their sleeve is guilty of child molestation or aiding and abetting.

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