Poll tackles sex offenders in church debate

8 in 10 Church Members Think Sex Offenders Belong in Church
— New survey reveals attitudes and practices relating to released sex offenders at church

Nearly 80 percent of the more than 2,500 respondents to the “Sex Offenders in the Church” survey, conducted by Christianity Today International (CTI), say they believe sex offenders belong in the church under appropriate supervision. At the same time, three-fourths of respondents’ churches do not provide sex addiction ministries.

These and many more findings surfaced in this first-ever survey of its kind. The intent of the survey, conducted in early 2010, was to explore the attitudes and beliefs of pastors, church staff, lay leaders and other active Christians regarding whether to allow sex offenders to participate in faith communities. In addition, the survey explored what practices churches use to keep their congregations safe when sex offenders are present.

So how does the church view sex offenders? Approximately 62 percent of survey respondents say they either are not sure or do not believe a sex offender can be rehabilitated to the point where they no longer pose a threat to others. Eighty-two percent say they look to a repentant attitude as the number one determining factor in deciding whether or not a sex offender should be welcomed in the church.

The full executive report 2010 Sex Offenders in the Church Survey is available to download for free. Additional coverage on the survey is available in the September/October 2010 issue of Church Law & Tax Report as well as the September 2010 issue of Christianity Today magazine.

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