Sadly, there have been too many instances where clergy have abused their position, crossed boundaries, and have through different misconduct, injured many people. For people in positions of power and care, boundary crossing and violations are harmful for the communities we serve.
That is why we go through training. That is why we have supervision networks. That is why there are policies in place for healthy and safe environments at church.
As some of the scandals have broken out around Donald Trump, the republican nominee for president, I have been listening to what people have been saying (including the nominee himself). This past week a tape from 2005 was revealed and the nominee said some terrible things about women. (Similar words were given in various Howard Stern radio shows over the years as well.)
Many are rightfully outraged at his words and behaviors. To name a few:
- he kissed women, without permission
- he grabed their genitals, without permission
- he walked in on contestants changing at his beauty pageants, without permission or warning
- he often talked about the appearance of women
Their accounts revealed unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women and unsettling workplace conduct. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants.
What this says to me is that Donald Trump violates boundaries regularly and has done so all his life. He believes his prestige, power and money affords him that luxury and it is unquestionable. When asked by Anderson Cooper if he understood what he talked about was sexual assault, he denied it. (Washington Post: here.)
The electorate will have to decide whether this or anything else he has said or done (see here) disqualifies him for president. I know that I have raised my boys to treat women with respect and not as horribly as he has, and I have warned my girls about guys like him. I know that if I said or did anything like Donald Trump, I would be removed as a priest from the church and rightly so.
(Sadly, too many women in our country have had this experience in their lives. See here. We as nation can and must do better than this.)
Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with fear, injustice, terror, disease, and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.