Gerald “Jerry” Sandusky was born and raised in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Sandusky is a devout Methodist. Usually a statement like that isn’t controversial, but I realize that in this case, it is. Many of you reading this will cringe at the thought that someone who could commit such atrocious crimes against so many children could be a devout Christian, but regardless of your opinion in this case, Sandusky himself certainly considers himself one.

Before charges were pressed against the former Penn State football coach, Sandusky attended St. Paul’s Methodist Church just about every Sunday with his wife. He was very close to the congregation, and the senior pastor of the church talked to Sandusky every single day after his arrest for at least several months.1 Sandusky even had a bible verse posted in his garage that read, “Be still and know that I am God.”2

In a statement he released prior to his sentencing, after being convicted of 45 counts of child molestation, Sandusky concluded with,

I ask for the strength to handle everything and willingness to surrender only to God, regardless of the outcome.3

And his time in prison doesn’t seem to have shaken his faith. While maintaining his innocence, he wrote this in a letter to his wife:

My trust in people, systems and fairness has diminished. My faith in God who sends light through the darkness has remained.4

Sandusky’s devout faith has many Christians asking what it means to be Christian,5 whether or not he deserves our forgiveness,6 and if we should hope he spends eternity in hell.7 What do you think? How does Sandusky’s faith change the definition of “Christian?” As fellow Christians, do you forgive or condemn? Do you hate or love? Let us know in the comments.

The Politics of Disgrace

Jerry Sandusky was, and always has been, a Republican.8 And it seems he had a big stake in at least one Republican politician.

Sandusky’s youth charity, The Second Mile, was associated with over $200,000 in campaign contributions to Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s successful gubernatorial bid in 2010. The summer after his election, the charity received a $3 million grant from the state to build a new facility. That would be relatively easy to dismiss, except that all the way back in 2008, then-attorney general Corbett initiated an investigation into sexual molestation allegations against Sandusky.9

Okay, all of those contributions came from board members, past and present, and none from Sandusky himself, but it’s clear that the charity that gave a convicted child sexual abuser intimate access to vulnerable boys10 was in a cozy relationship with the politician.

The public does not know exactly what the board members knew about Sandusky, and questions about Corbett’s role in the investigation and charity remain unanswered.11 But what is especially disconcerting is that this scandal not only disgraced a whole football program, but it also managed to climb its way all the way to the top of the state’s political ladder. Sandusky won’t make any campaign contributions or vote ever again, but his legacy in Pennsylvania’s political structure will remain for a long time to come.

  1. Can God’s love be enough? Inside Sandusky’s church. HLNtv. []
  2. Jerry Sandusky: Is He a Christian? Christian Post. []
  3. Jerry Sandusky issues statement on eve of sentencing. ESPN. []
  4. Dottie and Jerry Sandusky letters call victims liars. Examiner. []
  5. Jerry Sandusky: Is He a Christian? Christian Post. []
  6. Can God’s love be enough? Inside Sandusky’s church. HLNtv. []
  7. Heaven, Hell, and Jerry Sandusky. The Matt Gordon: A Place for Words. []
  8. Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno, registered Republicans. Salon. []
  9. Past and Present Board Members Of Sandusky’s Charity Gave $201,783.64 To Gov. Corbett’s 2010 Campaign. Deadspin. []
  10. Sandusky Had Access To Vulnerable Kids Via Charity. Huffington Post. []
  11. More Jerry Sandusky/Penn State Questions for PA Governor Tom Corbett. The Philly Post. []