In the comments to this entry, about the unprecedented teacher abuse of children in the public schools, the argument was raised, that if I continue to attend church while homeschooling my children, then I am a hypocrite, because clergy have abused children too.
One reason the church / public school comparison is flawed is because church attendance is always voluntary, whereas the government mandates public school attendance for every child, with the threat of force backing up that mandate. By the grace of God the government allows homeschooling parents an exemption. But someone cannot just get up in the morning, and decide to not send their child to school; childhood education is not voluntary in this country, but church attendance is.
Public school is also funded by mandatory taxation from every citizen, whether that citizen has children in school or not. Taxation carries, again, the threat of force backing up that mandate. I do not have a choice in whether my hard- earned dollars will support public schools and pay teacher salaries, even the salaries of those teachers who practice statutory rape on children. But I do have a choice in whether my hard- earned dollars will reward clergy who do the same.
The other flaw in the general hypocrite argument, which often arises when someone is confronted with sin, is that because x also did this sin, then no one can fault y for doing it. It is a classic case of deflection. Our five year olds do the same thing: “She started it!” is the excuse often given when we tell Johnny that it is wrong to call his sister names.
So why is the deflection defense always futile? Because each person will stand before God and answer to Him for the sins they have committed. When the spotlight of God’s truth is shined on someone’s sin — let’s say statutory rape of children, for example — they will not escape the wrath of God by saying that someone in the church did it first. Woe to the clergy, and the teachers, who cause one of the little ones who believe in Him to stumble. The only escape is the escape offered in the days of Noah: judgment is coming, but God has provided an Ark, an Open Door, for all who repent of their sin, receive His forgiveness, turn from their wickedness and do it not again, and walk, filled with His Spirit which gives new life. The only other option is wrath, and woe to them who choose it.