Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sex Offenders

Continuing from yesterday's post on sexuality, I want to make some comments about the way we treat sex offenders. I want to clarify that I am not excusing any of the crimes, but I also do not believe we treat the offenders fairly, in large part because of the taboo on sexuality.

One of my classmates allowed me to upload her presentation on sex offender housing. It includes some stats and background information on sex offenders, which you may find interesting. You may have also seen some articles on a recent law passed in Georgia that bans sex offenders from engaging in church volunteer work. Yes, you read that correctly.

The arguments for these bans and for housing restrictions on sex offenders usually rests on the emotionally-charged plea to protect our children. Fair enough. These people violated others, and children are vulnerable.

It's not that simple, though.

Most sex offenders did not do anything sexual to a child. Most are disgusted by the idea and would defend children against child predators. Yet the law makes no distinction between a child rapist and the college mooner. Both must register as a sex offender for life, cannot live near schools ever, and in Georgia, cannot formally exercise their faith doing church volunteer work.

Something is seriously wrong with that.

I understand and agree with the heart of these laws. However, I believes the laws are wrong. They need to be more specific and tailored to do what they actually aim to do. We also need to remember that sex offenders are still people. If we become a bit more informed as to what qualifies as a sex offense, we may not judge "sex offenders" so harshly right away because many offenses are not as high on our hierarchy of sin...

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