|Senior Pastor Michael Orten of The Truth Apostolic Church, Madisonville, KY|
So I have no problem with the idea that a sex offender who has spent time in jail could acknowledge his crimes, reform his character and be a gainfully employed useful member of society, provided if, as in this case where the offence was committed against a child, parents of children in the area know about it.
But what this story demonstrates is the strange morals of Pastor Orten of The Truth Apostolic Church in Madisonville, Kentucky.
It was Pastor Orten who tried to justify employing this man, not so much by praising him for the way he has turned his life around (although he mentioned that only to give the credit to God, not the man who actually did it, of course) but by the way he tried to minimise his original crime. Pastor Orten had employed the man - who raped a thirteen year-old girl at knife-point - but didn't think parents of children living in the area needed to know about his past. Bad though that was, it could be dismissed as a simple error of judgement and an over-eagerness to help the man rehabilitate his life, but it is what he said when confronted about it that betrays his true moral values.
Listen to the recording from about 3:20 in.
He really does say that stealing a piece of candy from a shop is the same as raping a child - both are 'sins'!
He really does say that a rape victim (and we are talking thirteen year-old girl here!) is at fault for 'choosing' to be raped!
But of course this pastor gets his morals from the Christian book of 'objective' morals where a rape victim is considered guilty of a crime and a crime for which the penalty is the same as for the crime of collecting firewood on the Sabbath - death by stoning. In fact, the sin of stealing (there were no candy stores in the Late Bronze Age of course) is one of the same Ten Commandments as the ones which forbid work on the Sabbath but which mention rape and child abuse not at all.
These are 'objective' morals where a woman (even a thirteen year-old one) is 'guilty' of being sexually attractive and not recognising that a man can't be expected to control his passions. A book of 'objective' morals where 'sin' is 'sin'; where crime is a black versus white issue with no shades of grey on which ideas of mitigation and justice can be brought to bear on the matter.
Fortunately for the man who raped the girl and for the girl herself, we have advanced beyond the Late Bronze Age and now reject this primitive barbarism, otherwise they would both have been summarily executed by stoning with no prospect of atonement or redemption for the rapist and no worries about his victim having to come to terms with her ordeal.
Unfortunately, some Christian pastors seem not to have noticed this and are still looking in their Late Bronze Age handbook of 'objective' morals to try to understand how to behave in a decent, modern society.