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Crime refers to a violation or breach of laws that govern an organization, society or country. According to Hawkins (2012) and Edith (2007), criminal activities are those actions of individuals, organizations or social groups that are offensive in nature and can be punished through conviction by law. Although different societies or countries may have different definitions for crime, most activities that are against the law or rules of the society or country are usually considered criminal. In the United States of America, there are various types of crimes such as drug and substance abuse crimes, political crimes, sex crimes, theft and robbery crimes, white-collar or professional crimes and religious crimes. This research paper will focus mainly on the religious crimes.

According to English (2007), religious crimes are on the increase since early 1970s. At the beginning of the 21st century the church was a sacred place that could have its doors open both during the day and night. However, things have changed and churches today are primary targets for criminal activities. A survey research conducted by King, Parkhurst, Madison Square Presbyterian Church and the President Society for Prevention of Crime (2008) on five thousand churches spread across the United States of America found out that more that seventy eight percent of churches in the U.S. are prone to criminal activities. Lees and Wainwright (2010) also assert that crimes in churches account for more than fifteen percent of annual deaths in the U.S. According to Fairchild (2005), McLanahan and Harper (2008), a religious organization called Christian Security Network launched a tracking system to determine the rate of crimes in churches. The organization revealed that between 2005 and 2008, there were more than fifty homicides, one thousand two hundred church arsons and property worth millions of dollars was destroyed or lost after violent attacks on churches. In a report, titled Crimes against Christian Organizations in the United States, Claessen (2012) postulates that crimes in the church usually result from external sources. Contrastingly, Cristina (2010) argued that most crimes in churches originate from internal factors, such as poor leadership and disagreements.

In my opinion, these contrasting views on crimes in the church form a good basis for further research studies to establish the impact of religious practices, believes and values on crimes in the church. Generally, the churches have become less safe, thus they act as death points for thousands of innocent believers.

Thesis Statement. This research study aims at determining the impact of religious perceptions, beliefs, practices and values on the rate of crimes in the church. This research will find out how religious practices, believes and other doctrines have negatively influenced or fuelled the rate of increase in criminal activities carried out by various individuals as well as religious organizations.

Major Topics and Subtopics to be Discussed in the Research Study. The main topics that will be discussed in this research study include increase in the rates of crimes in the church, impact of religion on the crime rates, various roles played by religious leaders in relation to crimes in the church as well as the role of both state and federal governments and other authoritative bodies in deterring crimes in the church. For example, what roles do religious leaders such as priests, pastors or bishops play in prevention of criminal activities in the church?

In addition, this research study will look at various forms of crimes in the church, such as religious violence, terrorism activities that are predominated by religious influences and formation, structure and operations of religious groups like destructive cults that are likely to fuel criminal activities within churches.

Other areas of research will include the impacts of religious crimes on the members of a particular religion as well as the impacts of religious crimes in the society as a whole. For example, how criminal activities by association of churches may negatively affect trade and other economic activities. This research study will also find out factors such as contrasting views from church members on the political policies that can make the church more vulnerable to criminal activities.

Finally, yet importantly, this research will also look at the administration of justice to religious offenders; for instance, are religious offenders favored or discriminated during administration of criminal justice by courts? Do Christian offenders get heavier punishments for their crimes as compared to people of other religions? Lerner (2010) claimed that African American Christians are usually discriminated against fair treatment by the judicial systems. Thus, this research study will seek more details on such claims or allegations.

Code: Sample20

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