Religion News Service Magazine
By Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) Nearly eight in 10 respondents who participated in a Christianity Today International survey said convicted sex offenders should be welcomed in church pews.
The vast majority of survey participants -- pastors, church leaders and staff members and active Christians -- agreed to the idea so long as offenders who were released from prison were subject to appropriate limitations and kept under supervision.
The results were published in the September issue of Christianity Today, the evangelical magazine that is the flagship of the Illinois-based publishing company.
A significant majority -- 83 percent -- said a demonstration of repentance is a key factor in shaping views about whether or not convicted offenders should be welcomed by a congregation. Two in three respondents said their views would depend on whether one or more of the victims of the offender attend the church.
Almost three-quarters of the respondents' churches do not provide a recovery ministry to people with sexual addictions. Almost a quarter said they "do nothing," while about half provide referrals to other organizations or ministries.
The survey was based on the responses of 2,864 people drawn from publications and websites of Christianity Today International.
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