Many Christians are angry, schoked, and sad over the revelations related to Warren Jeffs (leader of the Fundamentailist Latter Days Saints church) and his conviction of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old who were his "spiritual wives." To me this takes a more personal angle since my daughter could have been anyone of these girls.
Now, I understand that many of us are making absolutely clear that most Christians do not approve and condem this behaviour. Many of us cringe at the thought that these people (that call themselves Christians) created a community that not only tolerated this but approved of this. But defending ourselves and saying "We are not like them" is not enough. We must also ask the following: what can we learn and what can we do about it?
These are some of the questions that come to mind:
If you go to a church, have you ever spoken to your pastor/priest about this?
What rules and guidelines are in place to help avoid this from happening?
Do they need to be updated?
If you have children, how can you have a conversation with them about this potential threat?
If your church belongs to a denomination, what do the current rules say? Have these rules been enforced?
Those are just some of the questions and some of the things we can do and you probably can think of many more. We must educate ourselves and always remember that when a priest/pastor/religious leader commits this kind of crime is not only the crime that cannot be tolerated: this is also an abuse of the authority and a violation of trust.
Child sexual abuse (along with any kind of child exploitation) is never justified.