In this Book

Bad Pastors

Child-molesting priests, embezzled church treasures, philandering ministers and rabbis, even church-endorsed pyramid schemes that defraud gullible parishioners of millions of dollars: for the past decade, clergy misconduct has seemed continually to be in the news.

Is there something about religious organizations that fosters such misbehavior? Bad Pastors presents a range of new perspectives and solidly grounded data on pastoral abuse, investigating sexual misconduct, financial improprieties, and political and personal abuse of authority. Rather than focusing on individuals who misbehave, the volume investigates whether the foundation for clergy malfeasance is inherent in religious organizations themselves, stemming from hierarchies of power in which trusted leaders have the ability to define reality, control behavior, and even offer or withhold the promise of immortality. Arguing that such phenomena arise out of organizational structures, the contributors do not focus on one particular religion, but rather treat these incidents from an interfaith perspective.

Bad Pastors moves beyond individual case studies to consider a broad range of issues surrounding clergy misconduct, from violence against women to the role of charisma and abuse of power in new religious movements. Highlighting similarities between other forms of abuse, such as domestic violence, the volume helps us to conceptualize and understand clergy misconduct in new ways.

Table of Contents

  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xi
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  1. 1. Introduction: Recognizing Clergy Malfeasance and Abrogation of Religious Authority
  2. pp. 1-9
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  1. Part I: How Shall We Name It?
  2. p. 11
  1. 2. Issues in Conceptualizing Clergy Malfeasance
  2. pp. 13-38
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  1. 3. Narratives of Sexual Danger: A Comparative Perspective on the Emergence of the Clergy Sexual Violation Scandal
  2. pp. 39-68
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  1. 4. Has the Silence Been Shattered or Does a Holy Hush Still Prevail? Defining Violence against Women within Christian Churches
  2. pp. 69-89
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  1. 5. Guide to Enlightenment of Strayed Shepherds? The Problems of Claimed Clergy Malfeasance in Interreligious Perspective
  2. pp. 90-109
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  1. Part II: Responding to Accusations of Clergy Malfeasance
  2. p. 111
  1. 6. Charisma, Male Entitlement, and the Abuse of Power
  2. pp. 113-130
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  1. 7. The Politics of a Sexual Harassment Case
  2. pp. 131-154
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  1. 8. Is Abuse about Truth or Story... or Both? One Intentional Community’s Painful Experiences with False Accusations
  2. pp. 155-184
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  1. Part III: Monitoring Clergy Malfeasance
  2. p. 185
  1. 9. How Much Clergy Malfeasance Is Really Out There? A Victimization Survey of Prevalence and Perceptions
  2. pp. 187-213
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  1. 10. Clergy Malfeasance, Victimization, and National/Local Awareness: Their Effects on Church Attendance and Financial Giving
  2. pp. 214-238
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  1. Part IV: Epilogue and Overview
  2. p. 239
  1. 11. Incidence and Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse
  2. pp. 241-248
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  1. 12. The Future of Clergy Abuse/Malfeasance Research
  2. pp. 249-251
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  1. Contributors
  2. p. 253
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 255-256
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