Why should anyone imagine that Southern Baptist leaders will be able to prevent clergy child molesters they don't yet know about when they do nothing about clergy child molesters they are specifically told about?
That’s right -- Southern Baptist leaders do nothing to responsibly and objectively assess clergy abuse reports in the way that other major faith groups now do. And they do nothing to warn people in the pews.
If Southern Baptist church-goers fully realized how far behind the curve their leaders are in addressing clergy abuse, they would stand on the pews and demand action. Or perhaps they would simply march their families down the street to a church in one of the other denominations that is doing more to protect against predators.
Oh, but Southern Baptist leaders put out some nice brochures, you say? Yeah, right. Deeds protect kids, not words.
Six times during the past 20 months, Southern Baptist leaders were repeatedly and publicly told about convicted and charged child molesters on their ministerial registry. The Tennessean's fine reporting on this was the seventh time.
What sort of real-world message does it send when the highest leaders of this denomination don't even bother to remove convicted predators from their own ministerial registry, despite being repeatedly told about it?
The message it sends to clergy-predators is "You're safe among us."
Today’s Tennessean editorial got it right: “It is about trust.”
Why should people in the pews trust leaders who, by their deeds, send such dreadfully dangerous and uncaring messages?
The Tennessean is also running these pieces today:
“Reader views: Should the Southern Baptist Convention do more to let members know about sexual predators?” (Answer: Yes!!!)
“Cost plays a role; child safety a priority” (guest column by Rev. Wade Burleson, who sponsored the database motion)
[The photo, from the Tennessean, is the Centennial Tower of the Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville.]