Friday, October 29, 2010

Male Entitlement: Theological Roots of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Pastors

A postscript to what I just posted about Bishop Eddie Long and the theology of the body: I encountered the CNN report re: Long's sermon about "fresh sperm" at the Bishop Accountability website today.  And here's what strikes me as I think about why Bishop Accountability, which does tremendously important work every day monitoring the crisis in the Catholic church caused by clerical sexual abuse of minors, may have uploaded a link to this story to its website:

There's obviously a strong connection between theologies that make males into little demi-gods with power and authority over others, and sexual abuse of minors.  It is no accident that Bishop Eddie Long, who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing several young men in his congregation, preaches about his role in bringing the "fresh sperm" of sermons to his congregation.

And it's no accident that a religious system completely dominated in its governing sector by males--the Catholic church--has a serious problem dealing with sexual abuse of minors.  There's a genetic link between theologies that assure male domination, theologies that tell men that their possession of a penis elevates them to a human status above that of women, and sexual abuse of minors.

Above all, there's a genetic link between this particular and heinous form of abuse (which is abuse of power over others, first and foremost) and the tendency to cover up cases of sexual abuse of minors.  The abuse of power--the signals telling those with religious authority in top-down, male-dominated religious systems that they have the right to use others as objects--and the cover-up of such abuse are both rooted in the unmerited male entitlement that these religious systems provide to men running things for such religious groups.

The problem of sexual abuse of minors and its cover-up won't be resolved until we grapple with the unmerited claims of the religious leaders of some churches to have quasi-divine status because they are males injecting fresh sperm into the passive wombs of their churches.
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