Let's be brutally frank. Religious activities are rife with opportunities for people to engage in power trips, seductions, abuse, and mind games. I've seen it almost everywhere I've ever seen a group of people gathered for worship, no matter the faith path. This is part of the reason I've joined the teeming masses of folks who revere buzzards.
There's a lot of Scottish DNA in me, and I feel that's were I get my skepticism. I'm always on the lookout for a hidden agenda, and at times I've actively put people to the test to see if they have such agendas without them knowing they were being tested.
Friends, we would like life to be all kindness and good will, but be skeptical. Start from a position of caution, and remain cautious. Always ask yourself, "Is this a balanced relationship?" If you feel that someone has more to gain from you than you have from them, proceed with caution.
Go into every situation with the aim of full disclosure. I had to have a full criminal background check to be able to care for the diaper babies in the United Methodist Church. I mean, fingerprints and all. You know what? I applaud the UMC for this oversight. AND for sending other church ladies randomly to spy on me. On this, the Methodists had it going on.
The sad fact about child abusers is that they are the sneakiest of all. They will toe the straight and narrow for years and years, gaining everyone's trust ... and then they strike. So, how are they to be avoided?
Keep track of your kids everywhere you go. If they are going to be out of your sight with some church elder, demand that this person have a criminal background check.
Yes, your youngsters want some time outside your purview, especially perhaps at the Pagan campground. Okay, let them take that nature hike, but spy relentlessly. Maybe you won't enjoy yourself quite as much, but that's your kid. How many people out there wish they'd never let their sons be altar boys?
Oh, Anne Johnson. So paranoid. What an awful way to go through life.
Hold that thought.
One of my very best friends was busted with a computer full of the most horrendous child abuse pornography. He's still doing time, and when he comes out, what exactly will he do with the rest of his life? He's a pariah. You know what this man was before that computer got seen by the wrong eyes? A pillar of the community, a deacon in the church, a youth group leader. That's what. Oh yeah, and president of the regional Big Brothers chapter.
Skepticism is a virtue. Better to be pleasantly surprised than bitterly disappointed. Proceed with caution. Trust only that the Sun will rise in the east.