Revival Statutes, Clergy Sexual Abuse, and COVID-19

Patrick Hornbeck is Chair and Professor of Theology at Fordham University

In the months before COVID-19 struck, Google news searches on the terms “religion” and “epidemic” returned two sets of stories the pandemic has largely eclipsed. One cluster of articles chronicled the opioid addictions sweeping U.S. communities, while the second reported on revelations about sexual abuse by clergy and other religious workers. The nation’s two largest religious groups, the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention, confronted patterns of abuse and concealment that victim-survivors and commentators in both traditions characterized as “epidemic” in proportion. Some state legislatures responded by extending statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse and other forms of sexual misconduct, by reviving expired civil claims up to a certain age, and/or by creating revival windows during which victims could pursue any claims against alleged abusers and the institutions that employed them.


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Obergefell, Our Common Humanity, and Putting Children First




Tanner Bean is an Attorney with the law firm Fabian VanCott in Salt Lake City, Utah

Robin Fretwell Wilson is Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois System & Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law

However a person viewed marriage equality in the run up to Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 United States Supreme Court case that opened marriage to same-sex couples, it showed that marriage matters to Americans. The plaintiffs in Obergefell sought access to marriage on the same grounds as heterosexual couples, for reasons as pedestrian as filing joint taxes (just one of over a thousand statutory benefits of marriage) to those as meaningful as joining their lives in ways that communities and families recognize as significant. (more…)

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