Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sex Offenders Banned From Church in NC

North Carolina is a proud member of the so-called Bible Belt of states that take their religion seriously. So some eyebrows were raised when James Nichols was arrested for attending church.

His offense? Nichols, a convicted sex offender, had chosen to worship at a church that has a nursery where kids play while their parents pray. Now Nichols, 31, who only recently got out of prison, is fighting back, challenging the legality of a new law that took effect in December prohibiting registered sex offenders from coming within 300 ft. — nearly a football field's length — of any facility devoted to the use, care or supervision of minors.

As more states have adopted laws regulating where sex offenders can go, it was only a matter of time before the noble goal of protecting children butted heads with the sacrosanct First Amendment right to worship where and when you choose.


Churches are supposed to welcome all people into their doors. They are supposed to help people get in touch with their spiritual selves and serve as a refuge for those who are overwhelmed with life. Consequently, I don't think anyone should be banned from going to Church.

Sex offenders should do a long bid in prison for violating and potentially ruining a person's youth. I know a number of young women who were molested when they were younger. Most of them are well-adjusted, but the burden they carry from being molested adversely affects other parts of their lives. I don't believe any amount of money or happiness in adulthood can overshadow a traumatic childhood experience. Sex offenders must pay a hefty price for stealing their victims' innocence.

I'm a man of Faith, but I rarely go to Church. The church, as an institution, doesn't serve the community the way I think it should. I try not to pass judgment, but I have seen too many churches that aren't committed to the Word. Don't even get me started on the prosperity ministry. Nevertheless, I have seen several of my family members transformed by their commitment to organized religion. The Church will always play an integral role in the rehabilitation process, which is why I believe banning sex offenders from them is counterproductive.

People get ready, there's a train a comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
Don't need no ticket, you just thank the Lord