home
RSS
Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit
Jerry Sandusky leaves court on Friday morning. His church wrestled on Sunday with how to respond.
June 25th, 2012
11:58 AM ET

Sandusky’s pastor addresses conviction from pulpit

By Dana Garrett, CNN

State College, Pennsylvania (CNN)– Jerry Sandusky sits in a county jail cell in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, but his presence and the weight of the 45 guilty verdicts rendered against the former Penn State football coach on Friday night hung in the air Sunday morning at the State College church where he and his wife are longtime members.

Ed Zeiders, the senior pastor at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, did not shy away from addressing the conviction of his congregant and friend on child sex abuse charges, asking his congregation to “pray for all of those who are victims and for all of those who are predators.”

Zeiders began his sermon with a question.

“In light of the misery, sorrow and suffering we see, affecting every aspect of our life, within us, in the midst of us, and around us – what are we to do,” he asked. “The world needs an answer, our community deserves an answer, and we need to answer together what is the most efficacious way to move forward from here.”

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

Saying that the eyes of the nation are fixed on the State College community and, to some degree, on the community of St Paul’s, Zeiders said that “in the midst of the raging storms around us” the church had an opportunity.

“If ever a local congregation has been given a moment to…..reveal what it means to be Christian,” Zeiders said, “this is that congregation in this moment in history.”

Zeiders spoke to what he said was the transformative power and saving grace of God, making a connection between faith and ethical behavior. “If we are to claim Jesus as savior,” he said, “we must, without fail, come face-to-face with our own morality.”

St. Paul's United Methodist Church in State College, Pennsylvania where Jerry Sandusky was a member.

That morality, Zeiders said, should not succumb to the idea that “my faith and my morality are solely my business.”

“We have seen the evidence of what that means, again and again, and we are feeling the pain of such a thing today,” he said.

Zeiders’ message of morality extended to institutions, including, by inference, Penn State. “This is a turning point when evidence is everywhere that our leaders have failed,” he said.

Speaking after the service, Zeiders said he has maintained his pastoral relationship with the Sanduskys throughout the trial, and that he was in the courtroom last Monday when the defense began its case. He hasn’t talked to Jerry Sandusky since the former assistant coach’s Friday incarceration, but he is making arrangements to do so. He continues to see Sandusky’s wife, Dottie, who he says is “holding up.”

Most congregants at St. Paul’s did not want to talk about the verdict.

“You have no idea how difficult this has been for our congregation,” said one female church member who did not want to be identified. “We are like a family, and the allegations were stunning. I didn’t want to believe them, but there was too much evidence not to.”

Another congregant, who said she chose not to read any news coverage of the trial, struggled with her own internal conflict, saying she trusted that the jury had made the right decision while holding out hope that Sandusky did not really abuse the boys who testified against him.

The late morning service on Sunday included a baptism. Afterward, Zeiders called on his flock to take an oath to “guard and protect” children, reminding them they were the stewards of their safety.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

The Gospel lesson on Sunday recounted the story of Jesus sleeping on a boat while a storm rages all around. His disciples awaken him, and Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves: “Peace! Be still!”

Zeiders drew from those words to help his congregants through what had been a difficult week.

“Sure, the darkness is deep and the waves are powerful, but this is the time to engage the world, not run from it,” he said from the pulpit. “This is the day of our saving. God always speaks the loudest when the waves are the highest. Peace! Be still!”

CNN's Kiran Khalid contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church • Courts

soundoff (481 Responses)
  1. Happy Valley

    Actually, for those posting comments about why didn't people in the church do anything or see anything when they obviously were around Jerry, it actually is Dottie who was mostly involved at St. Paul's. Jerry was not that involved in the church, nor had been in a long, long time. He even references that in his creepy book, Touched, that basically Dottie was the one who was active in the church and he 'left' church activity mostly up to her, joining her a few times a year for holidays. Frankly, if an entire University AND a staff of a very large, nonprofit serving kids missed the signs and they were around him daily, it seems absurd to think a congregation who saw him a few times a year would 'pick up on the signs' of a child predator.

    June 26, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • Really Jersey

      Blaming all the spectators who ever saw him in public at a football game would make just as much sense. It is not like the guy had RAPIST tattooed on his forehead. This guy was paying lip service to spiritual matters. We can actually be thankful the hypocrite did not decide to be "active" in his church.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  2. blessedgeek

    he can turn the tides and calm the angry sea
    he alone decides who is a bumble bee
    he lights every star dark or bright
    he keeps watch all thro each and every horrid night
    he still finds the time to watch the bumble's flight
    stinging each child in its sight

    June 26, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Epidi

      nicely done!

      June 26, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Bob

      Cute.

      June 26, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  3. Brian

    I don't go to church so I don't have to listen to silly pastors giving silly sermons.

    June 26, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Good one

      You know, it really can be that simple. And it applies to every religion.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • sam stone

      i agree. belief is personal, religion is top down. one is real to you, the other is toxic

      June 26, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  4. jimzcarz

    Well we don't have to worry about the anti-christ anymore..

    June 26, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  5. ExPAVIC

    QUESTION

    Reverend Zeiders where were you and your congregation when Jerry needed help and obviosly had no one to turn to with his dysfunctional behaviors?

    June 25, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • ExPAVIC

      And Jesus said, "Oh Lord my God why hast thou forsaken me?"

      June 25, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Dan

      How could they have known? You are acting as if they are omniscient.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Payne

      Really? I don't believe he was looking for any help. He had the perfect arrangement and probably still thinks he did nothing wrong. He's going to rot in jail until his ultimate judgment. Somebody should arrange the meeting soon.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Really

      How could they have known? You are acting as if they are omniscient.

      God knew. Why didn't he do something? It's part of his evil plan? God doesn't exist?

      June 26, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Epidi

      So they are supposed to be pyschic or what?! You must realize that for someone to receive help they first have to ask or exhibit to those around him that there is a problem. I'm not a Christian but I feel confident some of these people would have reached out had they known. Not every person of faith (of any religious flavor) are moral goons who don't do the right things when called upon even when it one of thier own.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • Really Jersey

      Jerry is still protesting he is innocent. He was not looking for any help from the church because he knew the pastor would have counseled him to stop & turn himself over to the police. This abuse was against everything he had been taught was right.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  6. A Random Girl

    I hope they can move on and that they have learned that just because it talks like a saint and looks like a saint... it doesn't mean it is saint. So many in the Christian world want to give people the benefit of a doubt, but you have to look out for any warning signs even if the person is a self-proclaimed Christian.

    June 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      I do investment management, and on at least 6 occasions over the years I have had clients who approached me about this great investment that some guy at their church was arranging, and they wanted large sums of money to give him. I get them to describe what he is doing, as if maybe I am interested, and sure enough, he is promising massive profits on bizarre things like iridium or some supposed secret stock strategy that will return far far more than is possible.

      And no matter how much I logic with these people about things that sound too good to be true, oh no he's a fine Christian who goes to my church, and off the money goes (I cannot deny people their money, even if I know they are about to be robbed). And or course it is a con and the money vanishes, and very often they won't even call the cops because they are not sure what happened.

      The easiest way for a con-man to dupe Christians is for them to sell greed in a Jesus wrapper.

      I once, early on, I approached the pastor of a client's church as there were a number of them putting down significant amounts, hoping he had the influence to help them. It had no impact – he had heard the siren song of money also. The inevitable happened.

      Long story short, you are quite right, Random Girl. Trusting someone just because they go to your church is very bad policy, and God won't protect you from it.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  7. DN3

    What happened with Sandusky should not break anyone's faith in God. His crimes have nothing to do with God whatsoever. I do feel for the congregation at his church since it really shakes their faith in other people. But the lesson here is forgiveness and no one will be tested in this more than the abused. No one finds real peace without forgiveness. Well not many of use learn in this life except when we hit rock bottom.

    June 25, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Edwardo

      So where was God, when these innocent kids were being molested? Their lives altered forever. Once again, the Xtian god was asleep on the job!

      June 26, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Dan

      Edwardo...we are to blame for the crimes of the world we live in, not God. He offers us a way of forgiveness and reconciliation for the sins we commit.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • The Bird Is The Word

      @Dan: Forgiveness, and "after" the fact. How about preventing the torment of children to begin with? Another bit of logic disproving an all powerful and loving god.

      If such an evil and cruel god were to exist, it would be my mortal enemy.

      June 26, 2012 at 1:24 am |
    • yang

      Bird, i think that's exactly where the last, gossamer thread of my faith in a "personal" god broke. no god of power and love would allow innocents to suffer as they do in this world. if a god exists, it's alot different from what many people hope it is....this god is weak, and an ***hole. what kind of game is this, where so many of us try to stop suffering and a god just looks on, doing nothing? what kind of god "tests" its creation in this way? i wish religious people would stop wasting time and energy on their gods and come help the real world, where only WE can make a difference.

      June 26, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • sam stone

      Dan: We are responsible for our own crimes, no one else's

      June 26, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • sam stone

      yang: petty, vindictive people find comfort in a petty, vindictive god.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Really Jersey

      We all have free will Edwardo. Some of us use it to do great good like Mother Theresa, others use it to do great harm like Sandusky. Do not blame God for his choice.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  8. cindy

    My! not being a church goer myself, this article makes me want to go. if I could find a pastor like him. how differently we look at things! I found comfort in his words, just reading them. such a painful thing. he started the healing process. I don't understand the aloof comments. it is sad how uncaring, cynical, and sometimes cruel we have become.

    June 25, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
  9. pete

    Most of the Atheists sound just as bad and judgmental as some Christians....hahaha! Lame.

    June 25, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Edwardo

      It's called fighting fire with fire.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Epidi

      Now you know how we Pagans feel, lol.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  10. Jeff

    How utterly disgusting to see some of you use this article as punch line or a way to bash Christianity. I know CNN wouldn't have it any other way, but I guess I expected more from adults.

    Regardless of how you feel about religion, you have to feel for those people that knew Sandusky. They were just as shocked and appalled as all of us were with the only difference being that this was someone they knew on a deeper level than all of us.

    I could not imagine if a friend of mine was accused and convicted of what Sandusky was.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Cooper

      Another angry Christian.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Arvn Huac

      Let's see, devout church-goer and close friend of the pastor, yet molests numerous boys. Could you explain please why Christianity did not prevent him from doing this string of horrific crimes? Why doesn't Christian morality make Christians behave better? All studies show that atheists commit less crime ( and participate less in a host of other social ills). Could you explain that?

      The pastor and congregation show the perpetrator great compassion and attention, but there are no signs they noticed the victims at all, much less did anything for them. Can you explain this morality to me?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Edwardo

      We don't really need to bash Xtianity, it pretty much does a good job of it, on its own.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Dan

      Arvn Huac....Yes, "all" studies show that...and a"all" studies show that whatever your bent is you can justify it by a study.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • sam stone

      I imagine that those who actually knew this guy are shocked. However, I still think religion is toxic

      June 26, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Really Jersey

      A church can do all the right things, teaching how to truly love & care for others to a hundred people. Some of those people choose to listen & put those teachings into practice. Some of those people will choose to ignore those teachings. It is said that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink, Arvn Huac. Being an atheist does not make any person morally superior or less prone to crime, you are just using this to prosthelytize. You are proving Jeff to be correct in his statement. It is disgusting.

      June 26, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  11. NorCalMojo

    Awesome building.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  12. juliusbrowser

    Gosh, my heart breaks for the people in Sandusky's congregation. I hope they can overcome this terrible trauma.

    June 25, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • The Holy Octonity

      I really hope you are doing a deadpan joke, because the congregation is way way way down on my list of people to feel for.

      I would have said the victims myself. Hope you did not forget about them.

      Then the family and friends of the victims – how terrible for them too. Did you forget them?

      I would also feel for the members of Sandusky's family who had no idea this was going on. How about them?

      Close friends of the Sandusky family who did not know? Yeah, they would be next on my list.

      Congregation beyond close friends? A bit, but really they are not hurt by this. Not really damaged. They barely register on the radar of traumatized people, and they have been supporting the perpetrator to some degree.

      Pastor? The guy is totally ignoring the victims and embracing the perpetrator. I find it difficult to feel much for him.

      I really hope that was deadpan humor on your part.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Really Jersey

      The victims , including at least one of Sandusky's adoptive children have asked people to respect their privacy as the attempt to heal, The unHoly Octonity. This is the family's church & the pastor obviously is not using the victims' plight to puff himself up. I suppose you want him to line them up & detail everything he will be doing for them as they recover. Sick.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Really Jersey

      Sorry, that should have read "they".

      June 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  13. The Dude

    The Con man will use any tragedy or good tidings to sell his lies .

    June 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Really Jersey

      Nice for you to be honest about your motive for posting.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  14. ja

    red flag should have been raised years ago Paterno still coaching a eighty four, somewhere in the bible is a saying "there is a time and season for all things", fifty years as head coach, there was something wrong with the entire picture, you have fame money, can you identify with anything else deep inside, it reminds me of many American politicans,

    June 25, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • dougalmac

      Here we go again, another uniformed fool who wants to drag Joe Pa into the equation. For the last time, Joe only had a crime reported to him after the fact. He could not prevent. He could not change what happened. He went to his superiors and reported what he was told. And they were responsible for following up and handling the report. As a mandated reporter, you do not "follow-up." You step back, and let due process take it's course. To say differently or claim Joe somehow failed shows your ignorance and lack of knowledge on the subject. Sandusky is ultimately responsible for what he dide. Stop vilifying Joe and making up lies to fit your own bias.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • cd1168

      doublemac, or whoever you are. Joe PA should of been shot right on the spot . and to think you look at him as some father figure .. you loser

      June 26, 2012 at 12:39 am |
  15. Grey, Atlanta

    Sandusky used a different interpretation of the "turn the other cheek" principle. He was just teaching Christianity to the kids, just like Catholic priests have been doing the same for almost two millennia. Apparently, the safest place to turn the other cheek is in the shower.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Innkeeper

      I wonder how you can live you can live your whole life with such doubt. There is good and there is evil and God gives us free will to choose. No promise of a perfect and safe life here on earth but everlasting life with Him.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:06 am |
    • yang

      you keep playing that game, Innkeeper. i'm afraid you're going to be very disappointed.

      June 26, 2012 at 2:48 am |
    • sam stone

      He was just recruiting tight ends and making them wide receivers

      June 26, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • sam stone

      innkeeper: do you seriously seek everlasting life? undoubtedly, there are people you know who are not "saved". are they good people? are you comfortable with the idea of them being tormented forever? are you comfortable with the being that would sentence them to this eternal torment?

      June 26, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Really Jersey

      None of Sandusky's behavior was or is approved by the church. This abuse did not happen anywhere near a church, or even at an event associated with a church. This case actually proves that it is NOT religion that causes this type of abuse to occur & be covered up. All your anti religious trolling will not change that fact.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  16. bubbles

    atheism is a cult.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • The Holy Octonity

      Cults must, by definition, involve the worship of a god, so there is no way your amazing revelation can be true.

      But you have been told this before, and even though you are clearly away that it is not only false but ridiculous, still you keep coming back here to lie again. Christians sure lie a lot.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Xtians practice atheism thru their blatant hypocricies.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • bubbles

      you worship yourself in atheism.You also worship logic and reason as if they were gods.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Logic and reason are not imaginary, however Bubbles, I'm afraid your god is a figment of your imagination. Sorry to burst your "bubble".. ahahhhahaha

      June 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • bubbles

      got proof?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • sbp

      Logic and reason SHOULD be worshipped. Ask any Vulcan.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • The Holy Octonity

      The applicable definition of "worship" is "reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power."

      I am not a divine being. I cannot worship myself.

      Logic and reason are not divine beings or supernatural powers. They cannot be worshipped in any religious sense.

      I am an atheist. I cannot worship anything. I simply see the real world as is is, without fantasies about invisible gods or supernatural elements.

      You speak of logic and reason as bad things. Amazing! If you are having a medical emergency, would you actually want a doctor who rejects reason and logic?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Proof of what? Your god doesn't exist? I'll prove he doesn't exist, if you prove invisible pink unicorns don't exist. Saying something exists without proof, puts the burden of proof, on the individual making the assertion.. that would be YOU.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • bubbles

      so they are gods to you?

      you proved atheism is a religion and a cult

      June 25, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      bubbles, seems to me you admitted the other night that you have no proof for your god(s). You (you personally and believers in general) have the burden of proof for your extraordinary claims. In any other subject, your hyptheses that god(s) exist, would have been discarded hundreds of years ago. You can attempt to catergoize atheism any way you like, but you cannot escape the fact that believers are the ones making extraodinary claims and have never, not once, produced any verifiable, objective, independent, factual evidence for your childish believes.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Yes Bubbles – NOT believing something is a religion. I don't believe in Santa Clause, and neither do you. So, do we have the same religion? Are we both in a cult?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • bubbles

      Typical..an atheist always brings up their fetish of Santa Clause...

      June 25, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Santa is a fetish? Dude... seriously. Get some help. You need it. Your behavior is really twisted.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • The Holy Octonity

      Bubbles, since I have refutely every aspect of your position completely and thoroughly, and yet you circle back to repeating your discredited and fallacious position, I have only one avenue left, and that is to say that you are a total idiot.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • bubbles

      awww did mommy and daddy crush your hopes of Santa,the easter bunny or the tooth fairy?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I'm calling troll on bubbles. Short and completely idiotic answers. Not actually addressing any point.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • bubbles

      well you atheists talk an aweful amount of time talking about the Easter bunny santa clause and the tooth fairy...

      June 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Bubbles ... actually, I'm god. I'm speaking to you thru mysterious ways. You've been seeking me and have now found me. Please go and get some help. I'm answering your families prayers right now, by working thru others. Get some help, or I will consider you a rebellious sinner, and you will burn forever and ever!

      June 25, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • bubbles

      Lol why would i believe an atheist is God?

      June 25, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Edwardo

      I'm speaking to you thru mysterious ways. I'm invisible (god is never visible). I'm answering your families prayers (god answers prayers). I pretend to be an athiest, because only a true believer would know I am the way, the truth and the light. I spent today sitting on a white throne. What more proof do you need? Now, go get that help you so desperately need. Tell the Dr. god sent you.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • KRHODES

      Edwardo

      Logic and reason are not imaginary, however Bubbles, I'm afraid your god is a figment of your imagination. Sorry to burst your "bubble".. ahahhhahaha

      If atheism is true and we are all just cosmic accidents...logic and reason means nothing and are merely subjective.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • bubbles

      You are a sad troll.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • Ponderer

      Holy Octonity: I beg to differ – a cult by definition actually does not need, nor does it normally worship, "a god." According to Dictionary.reference.com, a cult is: "2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult. and/or 4.a group or sect bound together by veneration of the same thing, person, ideal, etc." Merriam-Webster online puts it this way: 5. a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially: such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad...

      So, atheism actually COULD be considered a "cult" since there is "great devotion....to (an)... idea, movement...; especially: such ... as a(n) intellectual fad." and, is indeed, "a group...bound together by veneration of the same...ideal." No "god", per se, needed; although some, by extended definition, might call that "ideal" the "god" of atheism.

      Whether it is or not, however, has absolutely nothing to do with the article above, or whether or not the mores of that church, or statements made by it or its congregants, are appropriate or not. Amazing how many people these days seem to have no clue, desire and/or ability to engage in proper debate or simply stay on topic in a discussion. No wonder so many seem to gullible when it comes to "cults" and religions that prove false to their words and tenets and have little clue as to what is actually contained in scripture. A little intellectual integrity without hyped emotion might lead to a little accurate knowledge. Perhaps each one should challenge themselves to a higher level of analysis, logic and intellectual exercise before commenting.

      Remember Mark Twain's words – paraphrased: 'It is better to remain silent and appear stupid than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.'

      June 25, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @Krhodes – if you're suggesting that our existence is proof of god's existence, then your logic is circular. To say that it takes a god to make something from nothing, is to say that it takes a god to make a god. If we are not cosmic accidents, god is a cosmic accident. But since there is no reason to believe he exists, then there is a reason to believe we are in fact, cosmic accidents. Call logic and reason anything you want, but it's all we'll ever have.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @Ponderer – I think I'm safe in saying, that adults do not believe in Santa, or invisible unicorns. So does that make us all cult members? Your point is meaningless. If you want to call me a cult member, because I agree with millions of others that there are no god's, then I"m a cult member.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • bubbles

      bringing up such childish things..so much for this "logic".

      man you must be angry

      June 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Believing there's a magic man at the North Pole is childish, but believing there's a magic man in the clouds... now that's totally adult ! Think about how stupid your remark truly is!

      June 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • bubbles

      its funny..we never brought up Santa but what we did bring up was..that atheism is a cult.You turned it around by talking about your Santa clause fetish?

      we arent talking "not" believing.By defintion atheism is a cult.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Here is the definition of Atheism, according to Webster. I copied and pasted it for you, as you have obviously invented your own definition. Please notice, the word "cult" never appears. The definition is so simple, even YOU can understand it, I do hope.

      a·the·ism
         [ey-thee-iz-uhm] Show IPA

      noun
      1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God.
      2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Apatheist

      @bubbles you are an obvious troll but i somehow cannot help myself. atheism does not preclude the existence of god(s), it merely asserts that there is no logical reason to believe in it (them). if you feel as though there is sufficient evidence to support your viewpoint that is fine, we simply think that there is not.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • The Holy Octonity

      @Ponderer – that is a good point and I will be happy to discuss it with you. You are engaging in a common error that we see often here, though most people who do it have been corrected on it yet continue.

      You are using alternative definitions to appear to create the illusion of a parallel when there is none. Using your same dictionary source, you will see that there are multiple definitions which handle different usages. When talking about religion, a cult is properly 1. a particular system of religious worship, especially with reference to its rites and ceremonies.

      You chose to supply 2. an instance of great veneration of a person, ideal, or thing, especially as manifested by a body of admirers: the physical fitness cult. As you can clearly see, this applies to non-religious elements (their example was physical fitmess). You are attempting to say that they are the same thing, but they are not. The religious definition of "Cult" cannot apply to atheism, and we the original poster was attempting (lamely) to say we are a religious cult.

      To help you understand this better, "yellow" can be a color or a coward, depending on which definition. You would be foolish to attempt to say that a yellow rose is cowardly because the dictionary says "cowardly" is one of many definitions.

      Let me expand further – for a cult to be considered a cult, additional tests were defined, including coersion, charismatic leaders, isolation from the family, unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control, and great difficulty leaving the cult. Absolutely none of these applie to atheism.

      So no, it cannot be a cult in any religious sense at all. It appears to almost be the same, but what you are looking at is nothing but semantic trickery. If you know this is what you are doing, as Bubbles did, then it is dishonest argumentation. We get this all the time with the words "faith" and "religion", but there the dissymmetry between the various definitions is even worse.

      So we can dispense with your condescending comments that follow, because, being wrong, you totally fail at your own advice: "intellectual integrity without hyped emotion (that) might lead to a little accurate knowledge. Perhaps each one should challenge themselves to a higher level of analysis, logic and intellectual exercise before commenting." More analysis would have helped you the most.

      Twain was quite correct: 'It is better to remain silent and appear stupid than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." Ironic that it applied to you, isn't it?

      June 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @The Holy Octonity – I am on my feet, applauding so loud right now, that the neighbors are probably calling the cops. FANTASTIC post. I keep a catalog of great posts, and now it has another entry. Thank you!

      June 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • bubbles

      atheism still requires faith so yes its a religious cult.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Bubbles – ... you've totally lost the argument. I have faith that my car will start in the morning, I have faith the sun will rise. So, because I have faith, makes me a cult member? Once again, if you keep your mouth shut, you will not put your stupidity on public display.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • bubbles

      but to atheists all religions are cults making atheism one of them.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Edwardo

      Are you THICK? Did you not understand the earlier post? Let me expand further – for a cult to be considered a cult, additional tests were defined, including coersion, charismatic leaders, isolation from the family, unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control, and great difficulty leaving the cult. Absolutely none of these applie to atheism. I do not have a charismatic leader, I am not isolated from family, I am not manipulated or controlled, I am never coerced, I do not have imaginary friends.. ... THEREFORE, I DO NOT BELONG TO A RELIGIOUS CULT !!!

      June 26, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • bubbles

      becoming angry is a sure sign you are.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • bubbles

      I am a troll. I do this just to get you going.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • sam stone

      gee, bubbles, applying logic and reason are not "worshipping" them.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  17. Jesus Is Lord

    I was molested by my boy scout master when I was 12-years-old. I became a true born-again Christian 35 years later. One of the first things I did was to seek out my former boy scout master. I met him for lunch and shared my faith in Jesus Christ with him. By the GRACE of God, I completely forgave this man. I understand how people may feel justified in hating Mr. Sandusky and resolving never to forgive him. However, God has said in His word that unless you forgive everyone from your heart, He will not forgive your sin(s). And if your sins are not forgiven, how are you expecting to get into heaven? I testify from my own personal experience that it is possible to forgive the worst monsters in your life. Ask God to help you do it. He will.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Last action hero

      Buybullsh•t

      June 25, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Tommy

      Either you are lying or you are really stupid. If you are not lying, you went to a guy who never did any time for one of the ugliest offenses out there, and you gave him a nice feel-good moment.

      Guess what? Statistically speaking, it is incredibly likely that he has molested many others, and he is still active on some level. These guys don't quit. And you forgave him so that you can have brownie points with God.

      Personally I hope you were lying, because otherwise you are a major idiot.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • Adom

      Well said. God bless. Must have been very difficult though.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • bubbles

      my bestfriend was ra.p.ed..its something that never leaves your mind.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • michael

      if you were molested as a young boy, i'm very sorry. it is however your duty, even now, to report this incident to the authorities. if this person has done this to you, there are others as well, and it may still be going on.

      it is your choice to forgive, however, and glad that you did... your forgiveness has very little to do with a molester who may have molested others, and may still be molesting now: he needs to be brought to justice, and yes, he may also face divine justice, but that's not for us to decide.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Faith

      ALL things are possible with God. Thank you for sharing.

      June 25, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Best post I've read.
      God bless you brother!

      June 25, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Good News!

      I'm a Christian ~ while I like your testimony, I honestly would be unable myself to forgive such evil, or even allow myself to be in its presence like that again once it had occurred. Very sad that happened to you, and you have an inner strength from God which helps you to cope, no doubt. I guess I just have a real problem forgiving 'children of the d ev i l' personally. Anyone who perpetrates that kind of evil on a child is not of God. JMHO. A pastor once told me you can forgive someone, doesn't mean you necessarily ever have to be in their company ever again.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • sam stone

      Jesus Is Lard: I do not seek heaven, I do not fear hell. Both are imaginary places.

      “There's no such thing as a soul. It's just something they made up to scare kids, like the boogeyman or Michael Jackson.” – Bart Simpson

      June 26, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • derp

      "ALL things are possible with God"

      I've always wanted to be able to dunk a basketball. But I'm not that tall and I can't jump very high.

      Can you please explain how it will be possible through god for me to dunk over Lebron James.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • derp

      "I'm a Christian ~ while I like your testimony, I honestly would be unable myself to forgive such evil"

      Then you are not christian, period.

      Christ commands you to forgive. If you don't, you go to hell.

      End of story.

      June 26, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Faith

      Re: "All things are possible with God." God isn't a magic genie. Through commitment and humbly submitting ourselves to his will, he can work miracles and I suppose even if we don't do that. For instance, I sing. I sing in church. For years I was a mediocre singer. I just couldn't quite hit the big notes. Just couldn't do what I wanted with my voice. I prayed often that God would help me improve. That I would love to sing praises to him, for his glory. Today, I can honestly say, what he has done with my voice is incredible. I am able to sing so much better than I used to. And it isn't anything I did. Just sing unto him, wanting to praise him and not bring glory on myself. I truly believe he worked a miracle and now I can sing like I never dreamed. I see these kind of answered prayers all the time. And in the case of forgiving someone.... with God even that is possible. He can soften our hearts and as we want to be like Christ, we can be more like him. He suffered immensely, was ridiculed, mocked, beaten ,tortured, hated. And he forgave and loved. I love Jesus so much. I want to be like him and I want his love and forgiveness. So, with his power, I die to my feelings, and do the hard thing. And what we receive are his fruits and gifts – mainly his peace and love.

      June 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  18. Joe

    How many more Sanduskys are out there? How do we find them sooner? Perhaps profiling is in order.

    June 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Last action hero

      Hmmmm, start with an all male social order, were they force you to abstaine from anything se.xual and they are given power and respect for....why?

      June 25, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  19. Maria Santa

    I do not judge people who are gay. I have great compassion for his victims, and I DO have compassion for Sandusky's family members....though NOT him. I DO judge pedophiles. They should NEVER be allowed in society again. This is from personal experience.

    June 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • BRUCE

      sandusky brought his own condoms

      June 25, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Casey

      Maria – I hope you know that being gay and being a pedophile are 2 different things. Pedophiles are neither h o m o s e x u a l or h e t e r o s e x u a l. These terms are used to describe adult s e x u a l orientations. Pedophiles are only attracted to children. Go to Psychology Today to verify.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      What has this got to do with being gay?

      June 26, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  20. the voice of reason

    One one side, I feel immense sympathy for the young men who lost their childhood to this man. One the other side, I also feel for Sandusky. He can no more change his actions than any other pedophile. Chemical castration is effective at reducing the urge, but once a pedophile, always one. If he was simply gay, it would be a different story. Gay people are not pedophiles any more than the rest of the population, but how many pedophiles are gay? I'd be curious about that. Pedophiles obviously prey on females, too. His wife knew....be sure of that. If I were his son, I'd change my name for certain.

    Anyone remember the South Park episode on pedophiles in the Catholic church? The priests were upset at all of the clamor and exposure. So what was the solution? Stop being molestors?? Nope, stop reporting it. They said it was a time honored tradition in the church...no reason to stop. It continues.

    June 25, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Joe

      You know, I had a friend who had been a policeman who handled sexual predators, and he was adamant that in over ten years doing it, not a one ever stopped doing it. He decided it was time for a transfer when he found himself fantasizing a bit too much about putting together a list and killing them all.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • SkyKing

      At 68, Mother Nature has taken care of the chemical castration.
      If he were able to try anything now, he would have to be charged with assault with a dead weapon.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Casey

      "In trying to make sense of an adult male's s e x u a l l y abusing a male child, many of us mislabel it as an act of h o m o s e x u a l i t y, which it isn't...To call child molestation of a boy by a man "h o m o s e x u a l" or of a girl by a man "h e t e r o s e x u a l" is to misunderstand pedophilia. No true pedophile is attracted to adults, so neither h o m o s e x u a l i t y nor h e t e r o s e x u a l i t y applies." – Psychology Today.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
    • YBP

      A distinction should be made. Most of the cases involving priests are different. Priests seldom go for 10-year-olds. They tend to go after older boys, who though they are under age, are really young men who can take a more active role in the activity in question. They are gay. And if it happens more than once with the same boy, the kid is probably gay as well. At 13 or 14, a boy knows who he is and what he wants. He also knows what he's doing. And when he loses interest, or it's no longer advantageous, he figures out a way to make it stop.

      June 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @YBP – your comment that a child "wanted it", is quite disconcerting. That a child is "gay", if he doesn't try to stop it, is a repulsive remark. What the he11 is wrong with you? A pedophile gets victims thru winning their trust. The trust of the victim and victim family members. 14 year olds are old enough to know "they want it". You are a scarey person!,

      June 25, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      A 9mm behind the ear is much more effective than chemical castration

      June 26, 2012 at 9:47 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6
Advertisement
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.