Steven I. Weiss writes:
[V]irtually all of Gafni’s defenders based their recent defense on the notion that even if he’d committed the abuses alleged against him a while ago, he could reasonably be said to have healed, should be allowed to repent, and so forth. Obviously, that proved to be a crock his first time around, but according to his defenders’ reasoning, there’s no cause for them to bar him from continuing to serve as clergy [again] if he gets a good bill of rehabilitation.
And that’s a plainly-wrong attitude; clergy are in place not by grace of God, but by opportunity granted by the community. It is not their right to be clergy, but their privilege. And when they so severely break the trust granted them, they can never be accorded that privilege again.
In this vein, it’s worth noting that Gafni’s defenders, who included some of the most liberal Jewish thinkers alive, when pushed were still defending Gafni in the exact same ways that their more-conservative counterparts defended men like Baruch Lanner: it’s his parnassah, his living, they’d say, and that can’t be taken away; he’s a brilliant educator, and it’s hard to replace someone like that.
This is a chimerical approach that indicates an attitude of rabbinic privilege, a notion echoing throughout the rabbinate that they deserve to be there more than congregants deserve to be assured of their safety. It’s lame, and it just goes to show you that when their world is threatened, you can reasonably expect most people in power to act the same way.