Saturday, June 30, 2007

Good old boy network in action

This comment was on the New BBC Open Forum blog, and it's well worth a reprint. It parallels my own posting about Leonard's quote, but says it better.

"Bill Leonard, dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School in North Carolina and longtime observer of Southern Baptist life, said the convention is in a precarious position because if it acknowledges an oversight role on curbing abuse, it exposes itself to lawsuits."

"'I think that's the whole issue,' said Leonard, a critic of the convention's conservative leadership. 'All you have to do is look at the Catholic Church and the bankrupt dioceses to see that's the fear.'"

Does this not illustrate what the problem has been all along? If we admit this atrocity has been going on within churches in the SBC, we might be... sued! So let's just continue to pretend there's not a problem and leave it up to the individual churches to police themselves. Then when pastors like Steve Gaines defend and cover for these perverts, we can say, "It's not our responsibility. Each church is responsible for the actions of its own staff." Leave it up to the individual churches to "out" the perverts when they move on to greener pastures. Does anyone really believe this is going to happen?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the "good old boy network" in action. Grab broom. Assume the position. Lift rug... now sweep! Attaboy! Heh heh heh. "It's not our problem anymore." Out of sight; out of mind, ad nauseum. Amen.

New BBC Open Forum, 3:26 pm, 6/12/07


Christine said...

Just delurking. I have been reading your stuff for a few days now.

My grandfather was a Baptist minister who spent his last days in a Texas prison as a convicted child molester.

After hearing/reading so many of the statistics, and looking through an old letter written by my grandmother, I realize that there must be many, many people out their who were victims of my grandfather. I am searching them out ... if nothing else to give my apologies and to acknowledge what happened to them. Whether they ever contact me or not, perhaps they will find some healing in knowing that someone is saying, "This did happen and it was not your fault!"

He entered prison in the early 50's, but before that he simply ducked from church to church (and sadly was even able to duck out from under the law in Texas after being out on reprieve and continue to abuse throughout churches in Arkansas).

My grandmother also commented on his inability to hold down some secular jobs because of his continued abuse.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my story. I am a pastor's daughter and now a pastor's wife. I have a lot of SBC and BGCT friendships, and will be doing my part to make this a topic of conversation (constant nagging?) with these people in my life.

Christa Brown said...

Christine: Welcome. You have no idea how much a simple, heartfelt, genuine statement such as yours - "This did happen and it was not your fault!" - can mean to clergy abuse victims. Yet, it seems to be what Baptist officials are incapable of giving. Instead, they find all manner of ways to deny and minimize and qualify...all manner of ways to avoid seeing the truth, to avoid acknowledging the truth, and most of all, to avoid doing anything about it. The result is that, far too often, victims just wind up being revictimized when they try to report the abuse, and clergy perpetrators continue ducking from church to church...and this is over a half century since the time of your grandfather. You'd think Southern Baptist leaders would be doing things better by now, wouldn't you? I hope you'll keep nagging your SBC and BGCT friends...constantly and endlessly.

WatchingHISstory said...

Will you respond to my comment one way or the other? My e-mail is in my profile.

Christa Brown said...

Watching: Your comment is so limited that I don't have any response to it. If you've made some other comment, I haven't seen it.

WatchingHISstory said...


I can't remember my previous post that you missed. My post is somewhat off-topic for you but it strikes to the complicated mess that many on the NBBCOF blog are ignoring. I am assuming you know who the initials are.

Here is a dialogue that I had with a poster:

They said: "There is much that we probably will never know about the PW (pedophile) situation; however, I am very glad that Mrs. R asked PW directly if Dr. R knew about it, and PW said that Dr. R did not know. And since Dr. R did not know, he cannot be blamed for not dealing properly with PW. Sadly, that is not the case for SG because he did know, and therefore, he is totally without excuse. "

There is no doubt in my mind that AR didn't know (this does not mean that we know in fact that he didn't know) and for most people the fact that he didn't know brings many at the blog comfort that He is "excusable", but for me I am haunted that he didn't know. There has to be answers as to why he didn't know. I suspect that many on the blog do not want to hear these answers.

AR was surrounded by a subtle, sensory and celestial aura, a subjective sensation that makes a man a celebrity. Indeed he was a great man of God, but this aura that men bestow kept a father and son (and his mother) in secret shame of an awful crime. For seventeen years this young boy who grew into manhood, hating and loving his mother and father, had no one to turn to. Eventually friends were confided in and a church counselor heard his cries. But he couldn't go to his pastor. His confession and the resulting reaction would destroy AR's Bellevue. A boy sodomized by his father could not bear any more pain as to be a part of seeing AR suffer this scandal. This played into the hands of the father as a protection for himself.

So boldly I assert that AR and those who bestowed this aura are at fault for the pain this boy endured. There are many questions to be asked and many painful answers to be discovered and I will make it my task to ask and seek the answers.

AS soon as AR passed away, within months, SG is led into this secret. AR's aura is no more and SG has none. SG is approachable and what this man wants is for everyone at Bellevue to know about it. I am begging you to hear me, this puts an unbearable burden on the man, Steve Gaines. He has no charisma, he is clumsy, inarticulate and suffers a humiliating facial disorder. He is the KIND OF MAN A LOT OF PEOPLE AT BELLEVUE WANT TO HAVE AS THEIR PASTOR. They don't want a celebrity anymore.

Unfortunately all this collapses around Bellevue's image.

I thank God that maybe the victim has had his cathartic purging and God's healing, the father (and mother) have been exposed for their crimes. But what a price has been paid!

Christa Brown said...

Watching: My heart goes out to the people of Bellevue because I know that they have faced and will continue to face enormous doubts, dismay, disappointments, questions, and upheaval. Bellevue is big, and it's story has been much in the news, but I also hear from people in other congregations who have faced similar turmoil. I sometimes think it strange that congregants in churches with an accused pastor (or even a confessed pastor) wind up contacting me, but I think it may in part have to do with the fact that the denomination provides so very little in the way of resources or guidance for congregations that face this difficulty.

Perhaps you didn't mean it the way I hear it, but I would urge you to rethink your notion that the victim may have had some "cathartic purging" by bringing forward his abuse. Most victims find ways to live with their memories...but the horror of it is never purged. And yes...a great price has been paid at Bellevue, but the greatest price has been and will continue to be paid by the victim himself.

WatchingHISstory said...


You only read "cathartic purging" and not "God's healing"

Did I misread your words, "but the greatest price has been and will continue to be paid by the victim himself."

Wouldn't that apply to Christ himself?