"There are no words to describe how cruel, and even wicked, this insulting statement by the SBC president is."
Danni is talking about Southern Baptist president Frank Page's public statement that the abuse victim support groups are "nothing more than opportunistic persons who are seeking to raise opportunities for personal gain." Obviously, Page's statement struck a nerve.
Writing in response to the end-of-year Baptist abuse wrap-up in EthicsDaily, Danni had a lot more to say on her blog about the entrenched denial of SBC officials and their lame "nothing they can do" excuse. Because she said it all so well, I've reprinted Danni's remarks below.
First of all, for a leader in the SBC to deny there is a systemic problem is a big problem all on its own. Anyone who is willing to look at the issue without choosing deliberate denial can see there is a systemic problem. No, clergy sex abuse is not happening in every other church. But I will tell you what is happening. Because the entire denomination refuses to acknowledge the seriousness of sexual abuse in the church, abusers and pedophiles know they are generally safe to prey in churches....
Denial is denial is denial. You can’t deny it at the very most critical point - the top of the ladder - and expect the church to do anything about the rest of the monster lurking in the church.
Regarding the statement that groups and individuals are using the issue for personal gain - what kind of lame excuse is that? We’re going to let church members, mostly small children, be scarred for life and possible turned against God forever because some people might be using the issue for personal gain? This is outrageous! And by making this statement, the SBC president is implying that the issue is not only irrelevant but one created primarily for satisfaction of the greed of a few bottom-feeders. It is a classic “politicians” spin - to make an issue go away, tar it with a brush that makes it’s advocates look like quasi-criminals in their own right. I’m not just outraged - there are no words to describe how cruel, and even wicked, this insulting statement by the SBC president is.
Then there is the former SBC president’s pitiful hand-wringing. He says there is nothing they can do because local churches are autonomous. This is another patently lame excuse. Most (but not all) local churches contribute to the convention. Most (but not all) local churches benefit from the convention in some way. That is the very foundational principle of the SBC Cooperative Program. Their entire missions and other outreach programs are centered in the basic fact that all those local churches are banded together and work together. Don’t try to say there’s nothing we can do because local churches are autonomous! At the very least, churches who are in the convention can be required to list their staff for the safety and well-being of members and any church foolish and irresponsible enough to insist on employing staff who have been reported to the convention for sexual, or other, abuse can be expelled from the convention. This one possible option does not require excessive thought, and I’m sure if they even try they can come up with other options as well.
Bottom line, the SBC leadership just doesn’t care. It would cost them too much, either in time, potential loss of position or power for daring, or whatever. It is a very sad day when these “costs” could outweight the price of a life. And not just one life - the lives of all those affected by clergy sexual abuse.