Indiana is the state that thought it would be a good idea to put Mike Pence in charge. That already speaks volumes. They topped themselves yesterday. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that not one, but three, sex offenders can attend church even with children present. As a parent, that would be a big “Hell No” from me. I suppose Indiana is different.
In 2015, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office sent letters to registered sex offenders that they could not attend churches that have daycares or teach Sunday School.
The move came after lawmakers passed a statute that bans serious sex offenders from access to school property, i.e. a federal, state, local, or nonprofit program or service operated to serve, assist, or otherwise benefit children who are at least three (3) years of age and not yet enrolled in kindergarten.
I have to agree with the Sheriff’s Office in this case. People’s gods may forgive sex offenders, I do not. Apparently, the appeals court disagrees.
In the appeals court’s decision, they stated,
If we’re going to allow anyone who’s previously been incarcerated to live their life and to expect that they’re going to reintegrate into society as a free person, they have to be treated as a free person.
Normally, I would agree with that statement completely. People most certainly can be rehabilitated. However, it is a federal law that sex offenders register as such, essentially labeling them as sex offenders forever. The director of programming for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana seems to agree. She said, “No matter how this ruling affects anything there should just always be protective policies when there’s a youth-serving organization that serves families and children.”
The Indiana Attorney General’s office has a set deadline to review the court’s ruling. They have said that the state’s efforts to protect children from sexual abuse is a top priority and support the sex offender registry.
The decision to let sex offenders in a church with children seems egregious. If their god did not prevent them from lusting after children in the past, why should we put any child at risk now? This can, literally, affect children’s entire lives.