Should a Pastor have to submit to the same type of scrutiny that you go though to get a job?
Many companies require you to submit to a background check, criminal record check and credit check. You probably will have to go through a drug screen before you can begin working at your new job. Do most preachers go through this?
This question is being raised because of numerous high profile incidents that have brought negative attention to pastors and their churches. There was the ultra high profile gay sex scandal blowup at New Birth Missionary Baptist church near Atlanta, GA where Bishop Eddie Long was accused of have sexual relations with young men in his congregation by the alleged victims. That matter is now in private negotiations for settlement. More detail on the Eddie Long situation can be found here in an article by Morris W. O’Kelly in the Huffington Post published on December 6, 2010.
Another incident came up when a pastor grabbed headlines when he asked his followers to refrain from Facebook because it could lead to infidelity. Then he admitted that he and his wife had participated in multiple partner sexual escapades with an assistant and his wife. An article on Foxnews.com November 20, 2010, details the story.
One of latest incidents that truly will truly boggle the mind is the instance of the pastor that was arrested and charged with breaking into a church member's home and burglarizing it on Christmas Eve 2010. The Dallas police arrived and caught Pastor Sandra McGriff loading coats and purses from the member’s home into her car. The pastor had a lengthy criminal history. The full story of this Christmas Eve caper can be found on the KDFW channel 4 website in an article written by Pat Daut on Sunday December 26, 2010.
These are just some of the latest example of preachers gone astray. From Robert Tilton's downfall in the 1980s, that was recalled in an article by Scott K. Parks in the Dallas Morning News May 28, 2009, to now, there have been transgressions of all types perpetuated by those in the pulpit. These are not perfect individuals, but the screening that is require to hire a retail store clerk could screen out someone with prior problems. The question is how is a preacher brought into a church today? Many founded the churches that they are leading and grew it as the years passed. In that instance the pastor is the power figure in the church and was there before anyone else, in effect member are joining his church. In other situations a preacher comes in on reputation, recommendation or recruitment.
If pastors had to go through the same screening as a new employee has to get a job, how many would be rejected before ever getting in the pulpit.