Prepared for Broken Peace, Part 2: Protecting Worshipping Groups from the Effects of Disputes

...Continued from Part 1

3.         Accountability – For Everyone

            In a well-planned organization, everyone in leadership is held accountable to a standard of conduct that is appropriate for the position held.  There should be no exceptions to this rule.  In some religious traditions, those standards are clearly set forth. In other settings, the standards may be undefined or vague.  Boards should give careful thought to expectations for leaders.  Consider the following questions:

Clergy Reporting Requirements

When a pastor learns of child abuse, what are his or her legal and ethical obligations to report the abuse to government agencies like Illinois’ DCFS?  On the one hand are the victim’s interests – those of the vulnerable child who has or who is suffering.  On the other hand are the interests of the confessing penitent, who usually receive assurances that their conversations with clergypersons are privileged.  Which interest prevails?  Which should prevail? What does the law require?