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Should sex offenders be able to adopt?

Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

PEDOPHILE ADOPTION RULES FOR SEX OFFENDERS

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, today, I’d like to take you to an article out of the U.K. Telegraph. An individual who’s in academia in England at the London School of Economics, one Helen Reece, had a personal encounter with Theresa May in which she asked the prime minister to relax rules which automatically ban sex offenders from caring for children, saying this could be a breech of their human rights.

In an article in the respected Child and Family Law Quarterly, Ms. Reece suggested that reoffending rates were not high among sex criminals, adding that, despite growing public concern over pedophilia, the number of child sex murders are actually very low. In her article, Ms. Reece suggested that the review should also introduce an assumption that sex offenders, including child abusers, pose no threat once they had served their sentence.

DR. REEDER: Tom, when we were considering the programs that would be appropriate for us to deal with, this was one that was very difficult for me on a couple of bases. First is just the absurdity of the petition from this “law reader,” Mrs. Reece, to the prime minister, Theresa May. I hate to even give it any airtime, to tell you the truth but there are some things revealed in this and the way it is gaining traction in the news media in the United Kingdom and knowing that we basically are tracking about 10 to 15 years behind the cultural disintegration of Europe, we probably need to deal with it.

THREE MAJOR FLAWS 

There are a number of things that she asserts that need to be taken on. The first is the notion that, if someone commits a crime, if they go to prison and/or pay a fine, that will rehabilitate their heart. Prison is not rehabilitation — prison is there to protect the public from people who do certain types of crimes, secondly, to isolate them from the culture and then, thirdly, to become a process whereby reparations to victims can take place.

The fact that someone serves their time is not an assumption that they’re rehabilitated unless they prove otherwise. No, on the contrary, whenever someone engages in sexually perverse activities and they have been convicted of them, the assumption is that is a heart-soul issue and that doesn’t change without a heart-soul change and that needs to be demonstrated.

Secondly, there are certain crimes that everyone understands that suspend certain human rights. This “human right” to adopt is not an unalienable right — it is a right of privilege and it is something that is given to people when they demonstrate the trust factor that you are willing to put the life of a child into their hands. And someone with a record of pedophilia and someone with a record of sexual perversion is not someone that you put the life of a child into their hands unless there is longevity and demonstration of changed lives.

Thirdly, we again see our culture’s view of children — we already have the evidence with abortion — that, “Children are there for my fulfillment. If we are pregnant with a child and that child is not going to be fulfilling by its imperfections or its untimeliness, then I have a right to kill that child in the womb.”

You see that cavalier, irrational, nonsensical view of children and, now, if we would like to experiment with a child to put them into the hands of a convicted pedophile, that pedophile’s human rights and desire for adoption surpasses the child. The child again is just a commodity.

That brings me to another thing: this absurd state that we need to relax the rules prohibiting pedophiles from adopting children because the rates of pedophiles killing children are amazingly low. Well, I would love to know what is amazingly low? “Pedophiles only kill this many children so, I’ll tell you what, since they only kill this many children and we only lose that many, that’s a sufferable loss. We can take a chance on that.” Even if you have any evidence that pedophilia can lead to the destruction of a child’s life, then we should never expose any children to such a precarious existence.

A RIDICULOUS ARGUMENT

Finally, I would say, in response to this, while the argument is an acceptable low number of children are murdered by pedophiles that we can take a chance, why is that metric being used? What we’re looking for is not, “Hey, by the way, they’ve got a good chance of surviving and not being killed,” but we want to put children in homes that are going to nurture them, develop them, grow them and raise them up where we have every confidence in our vetting that this child’s life isn’t going to simply possibly survive.

Instead, this child is being placed in a home in which they’re going to be nurtured and developed because this child is made in the image of God and defenseless and when we put them somewhere, it’s not to fulfill the wishes of someone who is a convicted pedophile. This child is going to be placed where they will have the best opportunity to grow and develop.

Therefore, Tom, if I can just merely sum this up, for those whom have been convicted of pedophilia, that is a deeply ingrained and entangling sin that has so many facets to it. It desperately calls out, first of all, for the work of the Gospel that you can be forgiven of your sins and you can be transformed. Secondly, it calls for the focus of society to make sure that, while you want people to be liberated from such practices, you also must protect society from those practices because they find their fulfillment in the most defenseless people of all, children, and you certainly do not want to expose any children to the possibility of the trauma of such acts and then even to the loss of their life because of where these acts can lead to.

BELIEVERS SHOULD CONSIDER ADOPTION  

And then the last thing I’ll say is this: I want to say to any and all out there, pray through whether God would have you as someone who might open up your home to adoption. Even as we do this program, just two Lord’s Days ago, this wonderful couple in our family, an interracial marriage, they have opened up their heart and their life and they’re bringing in these children and they’re adopting them. They brought them forward for covenantal baptism just a couple of Sundays ago. And I’ve watched what they do and then I’ve watched the other families that are doing that.

Now, listen, not everybody is called to adopt — not everybody is called to do that, I’m fully aware of that so don’t, out of any false guilt, go do that — but if the Lord places that within your heart and if we as a church can support such people that are doing that foster care and adoptive parents, then we need to do that. Why? Because we need children to be placed in the best possible homes if they are orphaned by virtue of the death of their parents, or by the abandonment of their parents or by the incarceration of their parents. If these children need a home, then let’s provide the best possible home. And I appeal to the church of Jesus Christ, let’s all of us pray through how we can, as churches, support adoption and fostering and pray through if God would call you and your family to do that.

LET’S CUT THE APPEAL IN THE U.K, REHABILITATE THE OFFENDERS AND BRING ADOPTION TO THE CHURCHES

That’s the bigger deal for me in all of this. Certainly, I want to address this other initiative that seems to be gaining some traction in the United Kingdom — that it would not gain traction here and at least raise up my simple voice from a Christian world and life view — and also calling for the Gospel ministry to pedophiles on a one-to-one relationship and protect them from themselves by not extending what is not an unalienable right but a privileged right of adoption to them. There’s too much that they already need to work on in their life and then let’s bring the Gospel ministry of truth and love to them.

And, since we’re talking about adoption, may the church of Jesus Christ raise up a wonderful representation of God’s love to us in that, when we were orphaned by sin, He adopted us into His family through the grace of the Lord Jesus. And those families that can and are called to do it, then prayerfully consider it. And, by God’s grace, may our churches surround those who take on this adoptive and foster care ministry.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

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