A Canadian woman is asking this very question after a man convicted of sexually assaulting her received glowing support from community leaders during the sentencing phase of his trial.
I almost let this one pass. It seemed trivial when I read it this morning. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that this seemingly small thing, leniency for a convicted sex offender, may actually articulate the problem I have with sex crimes and religious hypocrisy.
Jonas Bouvier appears to have the support of community. He once ran for public office, Is a member of the Tlicho Christian Fellowship, and appears to be "one of the guys". Pastor David Shed's primary concern is for Bouvier's family. The victim is never mentioned.
OK, so Bouvier's wife is sick, Bouvier is the sole provider for his family, and they live in the middle no where. Bouvier's a nice guy with an aling family. It's just that he likes to push the girls around. It's all good fun. I understand the thinking here, and it wrong.
The message Pastor David Shed sends is one which allows predators like Bouvier to escape the consequences of their actions. It would been a more effective message had Shed condemned Bouvier's crime, cast him from the church, and encouraged Bouvier to do his time, seek counseling, and then seek to rejoin the community once the wounds have healed.
Bouvier's wife... perhaps his church community can pitch in to care for her while he is paying the price for assaulting an innocent woman. Is it too much to ask ?
Pastor David Shed cares only for his sheep. The victim is not his concern. He claims to have contacted other members of the church and community leaders before making his recommendation. Only... he did not contacted the victim. He wrote a nice glowing letter of support for the perpetrator instead.
What message do Pastor Shed's actions send? They marginalizes a serious crime, they enable bad behavior, and they heap pain and suffering on the real victim. Great work Pastor Shen, great work.