Friday, April 6, 2007

SBC is unresponsive to clergy sex abuse problem


will spotlight Baptist clergy
sex abuse...watch for it...
soon.

It’s been 7 weeks since the SBC Executive Committee meeting, and they’re still trying to stone the messenger instead of taking action to make kids safer. In the April issue of SBC Life, Baptist leaders once again distort SNAP’s public statement by saying SNAP apologized “for making false accusations.” This is the same garbage they threw out in the Baptist Press six weeks ago.

It must be nice to have your own well-funded press arm where you can cast whatever twisted spin you want. This blog is all we’ve got. So let us be very clear.

SNAP stands by its statement that Southern Baptist officials are unresponsive to the serious problem of clergy sex abuse. We have NOT apologized for that or backed down from it one bit. We apologized for the fact that an SBC brush-off letter was misplaced at SNAP’s Chicago office, NOT for saying that SBC officials were unresponsive to the clergy sex abuse problem. [SNAP’s press statement; SNAP’s apology]

So who’s really being “false” here? Frank Page says the SBC made “every effort to communicate with SNAP.” Yet, what the SBC actually said in that misplaced letter was this: “Continued discourse between us will not be positive or fruitful.” This is apparently Page's notion of “every effort to communicate.” Some might consider his statement “false,” but I think it simply shows him to have a one-sided notion of what it means “to communicate.”

These guys also seem to have a one-sided notion of apologies. They don’t make them, but they expect them from others.

Where is their apology to me for writing that the SBC had no record my perpetrator was still in ministry…even though he was really in children’s ministry at a Southern Baptist church in Florida? Though I bore no personal fault, I took on the burden of organizational responsibility and apologized for the fact that the SBC’s brush-off letter sat in a pile in Chicago. Why aren’t THEY taking on any burden of organizational responsibility? I expect they would say it wasn’t their job to know where that minister was…and that the SBC only has records of what churches choose to give them (or don’t choose to give them). But it wasn’t my job to go up to Chicago and personally look for a letter either…and yet I took on organizational responsibility and made an apology for the fact that I didn’t know about it. Where is THEIR organizational apology?

And which organizational mistake had potentially greater consequences? A misplaced brush-off letter…or a misplaced child-molesting minister that people weren’t told about?

What a perfect system Baptist leaders have for avoiding accountability! The buck literally stops nowhere for these guys.

And consider Frank Page’s statement last Monday that Baptist clergy sex abuse isn’t a large-scale problem though “there have been several reported cases.” Several??? Even if you only count the last 6 months of publicly reported cases, it’s still a lot more than “several.” That’s such an understatement that some might call it “false.” But what it really shows is institutionalized denial and blindness. Tragically, it’s a blindness that leaves kids at risk. Until Baptist leaders see the full reality of the clergy sex abuse problem, they aren’t likely to effectively combat it.

2 comments:

Kaye said...

It seems like the SBC sees you as their problem, instead of recognizing that there are Baptist ministers who are abusing children and teens as the issue that needs to be dealt with. Thankfully, there are those in the media and the justice system that are seeing the situation more clearly. Leaders must recognize that a problem exist before a solution can be developed. There are some who are trying to show that we do have a situation within our SBC churches that is destroying lives, namely by clergy sexual abuse. One day maybe the SBC will realize that Christa Brown is not the problem but instead is helping to shine a light on the problem of clergy sexual abuse within the churches. And it is important to remember that the problem is not just the ministers who are sexual offenders. It is also those who stand by and do nothing about it.

William said...

Sexual clergy abuse affects victims for the rest of their life. The SBC insist that they truly have no authority over individual churches. Something had better be done, or the churches or SBC may as well shut down. We are not honoring God with lack of action to such despicable conduct and we are endangering children and teens. The SBC and individual churches have become enablers.