Title: The Christian Right: Business as usual...? Credit: Craig Young Comment Friday 15th July 2005 - 12:00pm1121385600 Article: 821 Rights
To read Christian Right websites, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Graham Capill ever existed, with one exception. To the credit of the Locke Foundation and Matthew and Madeline Flannagan they have thoroughly repudiated Capill and condemned his abuse, actively taking issue with other fundamentalist community members that offer "cheap grace" to the offender in question. I've had major differences with the Flannagans over other issues over the last decade or so, but this isn't one of them. Sadly for the Lockes however, they are the only ones who seem to have done so. I wouldn't go quite as far as they do, and call for the death penalty for Capill. I've been told nine years is supposedly a strong sentence, but I hope he will prove ineligible for parole after only three years, and be forced to serve his whole term. Hopefully, the Sensible Sentencing Trust will have something to say about this. I would certainly support any campaign for lengthened sentences for perpetrators of child sexual abuse. Otherwise, where is the commentary about Capill's paedophilia? It's not there. Occassionally, this denial can take grotesque forms. The Maxim Institute devoted two articles in its recent Evidence journal to attacking child abuse prevention professionals as "experts." If "experts" means professional medical practitioners and psychologists who work with child, and who rely on evidence-based findings to support their practice, then I trust them. The Institute has had an attack of populism, perhaps attributable to the fact that no New Zealand child health or welfare organisation agrees with them about retention of Section 59. To my knowledge, the Institute has no staff members that have particular expertise in the fields of developmental psychology, pediatrics or forensic psychology. I hope that it was a coincidence that its anti-professional diatribe came out at the same time as Capillgate broke. Fundamentalist media silence has otherwise occurred. No-one seems to have learnt any lessons from Capillgate, and treated it as an isolated event attributable to an evil and duplicitous individual. Which, indeed, Capill is. However, no Christian Right or fundamentalist pressure group seems to have taken the opportunity to audit their organisations, to ascertain whether they have adequate screening procedures to repell potential paedophile infiltrators. Given that Catholic clergy paedophilia survivors groups have called for exactly that measure of justice from their institution, why is the New Zealand fundamentalist community so silent after Capillgate? It shouldn't be. Just as seriously, there are several other unasked questions. One: how do we know that Capill offended only against the three courageous young women who spoke out about his abuse? Shouldn't someone have made inquiries in Geelong, where Capill attended the Reformed Theological Seminary? Two: do we know that Capill worked alone? Did sympathisers actively conceal his offending during the period that he abused those three children? As Deborah Coddington tells us, though, he is not alone. She lists several 'gentlemen' of the clergy in her most recent Paedophiles and Sex Offenders Registry. The Christian Right needs to realise that it cannot be 'business as usual.' Unless and until they take steps to protect children at risk within their communities, they will only receive derisive laughter when they claim to uphold family life. At whose cost? One of Capill's victims contemplated suicide. As far as I'm concerned, our communities should never let them rest until they do behave responsibly toward their children, and against sexual predators within their own organisations and networks. Recommended Reading: [This Dunedin-based conservative Calvinist organisation is alone in speaking about the implications of Capillgate.] Maxim Institute [Ignored Capillgate.] Strongly Recommended: Deborah Coddington: Paedophiles and Sex Offenders Registry 2003: Wellington: Alister Taylor: 2003. Mike Riddell: Masks and Shadows: Auckland: Flamingo: 2000. [Riddell is currently a liberal Catholic. In this chilling book, he deals with an Anglican evangelical paedophile who is exposed as a child rapist and murder, and who receives graphic retribution for his crime. Riddell deals effectively with the gravity and seriousness of what his protagonist has done, and its effect on others.] Craig Young - 15th July 2005    
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