[Trigger warning.]

Another friendly reminder that no one's got the market cornered on morality, no matter what they may claim:
One in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader, a survey released Wednesday says.

...It found that more than two-thirds of the offenders were married to someone else at the time of the advance.

...[Diana Garland, dean of Baylor's School of Social Work, who co-authored the study] said, "when you put it with a spiritual leader or moral leader, you've really added a power that we typically don't think about in secular society -- which is that this person speaks for God and interprets God for people. And that really adds a power."
A power that allows for coercion via the assurance of God's personal stamp of approval:
Carolyn Waterstradt, 42, a graduate student who lives in the Midwest, said she was coerced into a sexual relationship with a married minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for 18 months. He had been her pastor for a decade, she said, and told her the relationship was ordained by God.
It may be tempting for some of the heathens among us to make cracks about Waterstradt (or other coerced victims) being naïve to believe such a thing, but adults (and not just religious ones) choose to interact with other adults in positions of authority all the time, and frequently do things that seem inexplicably compliant to onlookers. Doctors have taken advantage of patients by telling them they need to undress for exams (when they really don't), or that they need to be photographed naked before simple procedures, or that intimate touching is required (when it's really not).

Questioning authority is a tough thing to do in a one-on-one confrontation (especially for women, who are socialized and expected to be accommodating and agreeable in a way men are not), and religion is just a particular (but not unique) clusterfuck in that it combines strong and pervasive disincentives against questioning authority with flawed human beings endowed with the responsibility to speak on behalf of an authority its adherents regard as infallible.

I'd like to think this would finally put to bed that tiresome equation that finds "religious" axiomatically equal to "moral," but I know better than that.

[H/T to Kev.]


*Who Would Jesus Coerce?

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