Wolves within the Fold is the first collection of new articles dealing with abuse of authority by religious leaders and the victimization of their parishioners.
The power of religion as a symbolic, salvationÐpromising enterprise resides in its authority to create and shape reality for believers and command their obedience. This power can inspire tremendous acts of human kindness, charity, compassion, and hope. But witch hunts, inquisitions, crusades, and pogroms show us how religious authority can be used for far darker purposes. This abuse of power by religious authorities at the expense of their followers is termed clergy malfeasance by editor Anson Shupe and examined by the contributors to Wolves within the Fold.
The essays provide an innovative examination of behavior that is sometimes illegal and always unethical, sometimes punished but often not. Topics range from a cultural study of Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese apocalyptic group now infamous for releasing lethal gas into the Tokyo subway system, to a sociological analysis of financial scandals among evangelical religious groups. Groups analyzed include the Roman Catholic Church, Protestant denominations, televangelists, and the Hare Krishnas.