Sunday, April 12, 2009

Failed priorities in a Tracy church community

Note: since I first wrote this, new details have come to light. Rape with an instrument has been added to the charges against Melissa Huckaby, and police have revealed that Sandra died inside the church.

After a short inquiry, police in nearby Tracy have arrested mother and Sunday-school teacher Melissa Huckaby for the kidnapping and murder of 8-year old Sandra Cantu (left). If Melissa is indeed the killer - and the police sound pretty darn sure - there is an irony here. California is a state where a religious coalition of priests, rabbis, and pastors encouraged their flocks to ban gay marriage by popular vote, in the name of "protecting the family" and "protecting the kids." Everyone knows you can't trust those gays around children, right?

Well, here you have the pastor's granddaughter, herself a mother, charged with murdering a little girl. Turns out the greater threat to kids came from within the church and the "traditional family."

As the Bible says,
מְקוֹם הַמִּשְׁפָּט שָׁמָּה הָרֶשַׁע, וּמְקוֹם הַצֶּדֶק שָׁמָּה הָרָשַׁע
The place of judgment, that's where the evil is; the place of justice, that's where the evil is. (Eccl. 3:16)

The reality is that anybody can be a child abuser. Anybody can be a killer. It doesn't matter if they go to church. It doesn't matter if they're gay or straight, atheist or devout, single or married, kids or no kids. That's the great danger about child predators - you can't predict who they are. They always seem like nice, normal people.

If this is child abuse, it's not the first time. It's happened before, in Sunday school, at home (her 5-year old daughter is "rail thin and sick a lot"), wherever. 28-year old-mothers don't just suddenly murder a child out of the blue. This tragedy was a long time coming, and somebody knew about it, someone inside the church and/or the police department.

Our American society likes to flap its gums about wedge issues like gay marriage and abortion. But when it comes to really protecting our kids - our living children, not some ball of cells on a petri dish - we come up short. We trust our children to people who are untested and unqualified, because we go to the same church as them. When child predators arise in these low-security systems - and I've seen this happen more than once - the State lets them off on a plea bargain, and the clergy sweeps it under the rug to save face.

Truly, The place of judgment, that's where the evil is.

The sad truth is, politicians and clergy in this country don't really care about domestic abuse, or child abuse. It's just not a priority in American society. There's too much agreement on those issues, they're not polarizing enough. They're not interesting enough. So they distract us with backwards-thinking non-issues like gay marriage. But there's only so much time in the day. If your church is worried about two loving homosexuals, you can be sure it's overlooking something far more dangerous.

Don't even get me started about the all-important wars we send our young people out to die in. Stupidity to the infinite power.

An eight year old girl is dead.

Don't be fooled.

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