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December 05, 2008

More thoughts on sex offender laws

I'm glad to hear the various thoughts that sex offender laws, particularly those in North Carolina, have provoked. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind as we continue to ponder this issue:

First, the fact that some sex offender laws are too extreme does not mean we should eliminate all of them. Rather than throw out the entire system, we should seek a discerning response -- one that truly considers an offender's risk level and compares the return on public safety with the damage done to offenders' lives. 

Second, we can't blame people for wanting to be safe. While their methods may be absurd, their goals are certainly not. Those who lobby for and support tough sex offender laws really believe they are serving the public interest.  Many sex offender laws are responses to tragic stories. We must extend compassion to the hurting, scared families of little boys like Adam Walsh and little girls like Megan Kanka.

At the same time, we can explain to these people that their ideas are not the best way to keep us safe. Below are some articles that present great information to inform our dialogue about current policies:

"When Evidence is Ignored: Residency Restrictions for Sex Offenders" (Corrections Today)

"No Easy Answers: U.S. Sex Offender Policies" (Human Rights Watch)

"The Pursuit of Safety: Sex Offender Policy in the United States" (The Vera Institute of Justice)

"How Should We Treat Sex Offenders?" (by Prison Fellowship vice president and Justice Fellowship director Pat Nolan)

For more information and additional articles by Prison Fellowship on this issue, go to Justice Fellowship's Sex Offenders in Society issue page.

Finally, as society's rules make life more and more difficult for sex offenders, the church has an even greater opportunity to minister to them. We don't have to wait inside our brick walls for them to come to us. Even if they are not allowed near our buildings, we can proactively reach out to them through hiring them to work at our businesses, helping them in the search for housing, bringing Bible study and counseling materials to them, and offering an encouraging word.

Does anyone have more suggestions about how to care for this struggling group of offenders? 

Whatever we do, let's not let frustration keep us from speaking and acting with the love of Christ. 

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Karen, I agree that the answer is more discerning laws.

I don't know that it is ok, though, to allow hysteria free reign and a blank check, and hysteria is what we are talking about.

It is such that men entering teaching or working with pre-schoolers - and men are needed, and experts agree - are afraid to do so because of the Salem Witch Trial's level of evidence that it takes to get you falsely accused and put on the sex offender list. All it takes is one hysterical mother that doesn't like a strange man working in day care, or a female student who didn't get the grade she wanted, and you are ruined for life. That goes for the ministry, as well.

That isn't right. There have to be the Biblical two or more eyewitnesses who agree in their testimony, and if they saw rape, then it should be execution, as the Bible says. But there are other sexual sins and sex crimes, and allegations that need to be re-examined. Feminism as well as hysteria have distorted and destroyed justice, and Christians ought not support the destruction of justice.


Only one thing is constant: Our Lord Savior is a Loving and Forgiving God.
We are all sinners.
First, Adam was never sexually assaulted.
The registry was intended for the most violent and dangerous offenders.
This is no longer the case. Any sex offense is punishable by law.
My son at age 20, made a mistake WITH his girlfriend. He will pay for what they BOTH participated in.
This is NOT what the sex offender registry was intended for, period.
There is no comparison to his offense to that of a John Couey.
Sex offender restrictions and requirements are based on such horrific crimes, yet individuals such as my son are caught in this net.
Many on the sex offender registry are paying for the crimes of those offenders such as John Couey.
More sex offenders are paying for the crimes of the habitual offender.
When all sex offenses are created equal, this is nothing short then Communism.
Our legislators are not experts. LAWS are NOT working! Restrictions are NOT working! Simply put, the registry has yet to save ONE child, yet sexual abuse continues.
The only way to possibly STOP this vicious cycle is to incorporate experts.
The registry needs to be cleaned up and restored to its true intent.
No LAW will stop a sex offender from sexually abusing. If this was the case, we would see a decrease in offenses.
Focus needs to be on the predators and those who are at risk at re-offending.
NOT on Romeo's such as my son or those individuals who have never re-offended.
This cannot be obtained with the regsitry as it is today, nor with any laws mandated.
The registry is diluted, resources are lacking and the cost is becoming astronomical!
The madness and hysteria needs to end.

Thank you.


The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The Lord says's who so ever does unto the least of these has done so unto me. There are very safe ways to incorporate former sex offenders into the Church. If you google CoSa (circles of support and accountability) you will find that this program originated in Canada and the challenge was taken up first and foremost by Church members.
We CAN provide a buddy system when a former offender is in Church. Many former offenders are Husbands and Fathers. There are many Godly former offenders. Discouraging Godly Fathers from being the Spiritual leader of their family is sinful.
We all know that the best way to reform a person is for them to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus did NOT tell
us to go out and spread His word to the "good people" or the "socially acceptable" people. He said Himself that it was the sinners who needed Him most. I do believe with all my heart that the Lord is not at all happy with some of the things we "Christians" are doing, or more importantly NOT doing.
One of the things you can do is to have all the Church bodies write to their Lawmakers and demand this be repealed. Also most Churches have a mission program. I can think of no more worthy mission than that of redemption and mentoring a former sex offender.
Can your Church rent out space for these men to have fellowship meetings, bible study?
My gosh it sounds like we are talking about China or Vietnam or some other 3rd world country where the Christian practice is prohibited. I never thought we would see something like this in the USA. We Christians had BETTER stand up now and demand freedom to worship for EVERYONE or more groups in our society may lose that right.

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