Governor Will Veto “religious Freedom” Bill; Victims Respond
March 28, 2016
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, 314 645 5915 home, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The dispute over these so-called "religious objection" laws – here and elsewhere – involves more than adults with differing beliefs. It also involves innocent young kids and wounded adult victims who suffer when claims of “religious freedom” are used to protect clerics who commit and conceal heinous child sex crimes.
Time and time again, in civil courts across the US, unscrupulous church officials cite Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) laws to block child sex abuse lawsuits and prevent records about child molesting clerics from being disclosed. These self-serving church officials – fixated on protecting their careers, comfort and reputations – exploit these laws to make sure their reckless and callous decisions to hire, promote, transfer and protect child predators are not exposed or scrutinized.
We urge every lawmaker to resist pressure to vote for these bills. We applaud the legislators who are filibustering now in Missouri. And we urge judges to help make sure that these laws don’t help corrupt church officials keep hiding their complicity in child sex crimes.
Remember: In the US, we adults are free to believe whatever we want. But we’re not free to do whatever we want, especially when the safety of precious children and vulnerable adults is at stake.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris(314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,firstname.lastname@example.org)