Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Harsh words make my point

Did you see the article about my book in the Associated Baptist Press? Did you see the first guy’s comment underneath the review?

Take a deep breath and take a look. Here’s what he says:

“This woman is on nothing more than a vendetta against the SBC because she's still having problems as a result. Her constant desire to get publicity is evidence of her penchant for hateful revenge. Frankly, I suspect her alleged experience really happened, and yet it's still just a story without substantiation. Being Baptist had nothing to do with her experience. It happens is all walks of life and it's unfortunate. The article states that she 'found him on her own.' What more compelling evidence can there be but that this woman still has mental/emotional issues she can’t overcome? Writing a book to keep herself in the victim spotlight maybe. Indeed, the SBC has examined her whining and has done exactly the right thing according to Baptist polity—it has to be left to the local church…. This woman seems to have done little to acquire a spirit of forgiveness. Her story is not unique. Some Baptist pastors do have lapses of judgment in this area. And so do Presbyterians, Lutherans… Catholics and all the others. This woman writing a book to keep attention on herself serve no useful purpose….”

It’s amazing how guys like this wind up illustrating the very things I say in the book. I talk about how clergy abuse survivors so often get ugly words flung at them -- words like “Jezebel, rage-filled, bitter, little Lolita, unforgiving, divisive, tramp, trash, unChristian, anti-Christian, Christian-hater, church-hater, homo, spawn of Satan, trouble-maker, whiner, attention-seeker.” (This Little Light at p. 182) And I talk about how high Southern Baptist leaders have fostered that sort of ugliness with their own harsh rhetoric. Remember how former Southern Baptist president Frank Page said we were “nothing more than opportunistic persons”? Remember how former Southern Baptist president Paige Patterson called us “evil-doers”?

Lo and behold, look at what happens with the first published article about the book. I rest my case.

But just for the heck of it, I’m going to actually address a few of his comments.

“… just a story without substantiation.”

The guy hasn’t read the book. That’s obvious. There’s plenty of substantiation for my story, and for a lot of other Baptist abuse stories as well. The problem is that no one really cares about substantiation other than as a handy term to fling out as an excuse for doing nothing. Baptists’ knee-jerk notion of “no substantiation” is often hogwash. First of all, in most cases, how would they know one way or the other whether substantiation exists since they don’t have any review boards that will bother to conscientiously assess information? Second, in a lot of the cases I hear about, there is indeed substantiation, but no one pays any attention to it. Third, I’ve seen cases in which the minister admitted to conduct that constituted sexual abuse, and STILL no one did anything. Fourth, even if an allegation of clergy child molestation doesn’t have immediately available substantiation, shouldn’t someone in Baptist leadership care enough about even a bare allegation to responsibly look into it and to assess whether substantiation can be found?

“… it’s unfortunate.”

“Unfortunate”? Is it merely “unfortunate” when a kid is molested or raped by a Baptist minister? What an immoral minimizing term for such a serious offense! It’s “unfortunate” when I break my favorite coffee cup. It’s a great deal worse than “unfortunate” when a kid is sexually abused by a minister.

“This woman seems to have done little to acquire a spirit of forgiveness.”

There it is again -- “the F-word.” Need I say more? The survivor in that linked posting said it best of all. “It’s not that victims are against forgiveness. Victims are against forgiveness as the solution to the problem. Because then the problem will go on and on.”

“Her story is not unique.”

He got that one right. My story is far from unique. There are hundreds of us who have been sexually abused by Baptist ministers, and so far, we haven’t seen that very many in this denomination give a hoot. Certainly not the denomination’s leaders.

“Some Baptist pastors do have lapses of judgment in this area.”

“Lapses of judgment”??? Don’t that just beat all? It sounds like some sort of sick joke, doesn’t it?

Question: What do Baptists call clergy child molestation and child rape?
Answer: “Lapses of judgment.”

It’s not very funny, is it?

Question: What do Baptists do about clergy child molestation and child rape?
Answer: Repent and repeat.

I know. That one’s not very funny either, is it? But it’s exactly what happens and will continue to happen until Baptists institute clergy accountability mechanisms similar to what other major faith groups have -- mechanisms like clergy abuse review boards that can relay assessment information to people in the pews.

Guys like this are a good example of why Baptists so desperately need a review board with experts and trained professionals to assess abuse reports. Because when it comes to understanding clergy sex abuse, there are a lot of Bozos in Baptist-land. Except they aren't funny.
___________________________

You can leave comments on the Associated Baptist Press story itself if you want. You have to register, but it's easy.

More info about the book is here.

Update 6/11/09: Good Hard Working People recommends "This Little Light".

37 comments:

Jeri said...

Those horrible apostate men have no shame.

Lydia said...

I cannot imagine the judgement that awaits this sort of thinking toward victims. Can you imagine this person thinks this way about young girls being raped by ministers? A lapse of judgement? He does not even know scripture! Seems he can forgive the pervert but not the victim. I think he has a forgivness problem.

This man actually thinks he can be saved and think this way. The SBC is dead, folks. Patterson and Page think the same way. It is infested in our leadership.

You want to stop this in the SBC? Stop giving them your money. Stop funding it. Use it to help another believer in need.

And don't let your kids out of your sight at an SBC church. YOu have been warned by how our leaders think of this problem. And they are the mentors to this generation of pastors.

Junkster said...

After reading that guy's comment (the one Christa is blogging about in this topic), I have to wonder ... does anyone else suspect that he (and others who react with such hostility to Christa's message and mission) have something to lose if predatory Baptist ministers are stopped?

New BBC Open Forum said...

"lapse of judgment"

"moral failure"

"mistake of the mind"

"unfortunate incident"
.

Same song, millionth verse.

Sweep, sweep, sweep...

gmommy said...

"... a spirit of forgiveness."
Yep...they always pull out the F word...exactly what I was told by a deacon officer concerning the staff sexual predator at Bellevue. It's a great way to deflect away from the crime of clergy sexual abuse.
"Her story is not unique."
He's PROUD of this???

"Some Baptist pastors do have lapses of judgment in this area."
Who knew???!

What kind of person calls sexual abuse a lapse in judgment???
NOT a follower of Christ.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Fbc Jax Watchdog > Update on Lawsuits - and Copy of JSO Internal Affairs Report.
Readers: Its been some time since the lawsuit was filed against the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the State Attorney's Office over first amendment freedom of speech and establishment clause violations in the First Baptist Jacksonville blogger matter - so I thought I would give you an update on where things stand.

- the lawsuits have been moved from state court to federal court; discovery process will likely begin sometime in July or August;

- I am told the case number assigned to the case in state court was 2009-CA-6666. No kidding.

Thy Peace said...

Tiffany Thigpen Croft said...
Once again, TRAIL OF TEARS....this is such a sad post (the quote regarding Christa Brown's book) but I must say that I have seen myself that this is how they feel about Christa and anyone else on the road to figure out how to stop this behavior. I was warned to "be careful" or "not align myself" with Christa and others on my blog - it was unbelievable to me that "Christians" would set out to do harm to another and still see themselves as "Godly leaders". These men (and the women that participate) in this "silence the messenger" mentality are not Godly, are not spiritual, are not looking out for the sheep and are more concerned with "the bigger picture" of the body of Christ. Huh??? We are the body of Christ! If the least of these are being hurt, it is your job to stand up like a ferocious lion and protect the flock! Not the one that comes in to destroy them, when you hide secrets (leaders) or belittle the victims, you hands are just as dirty as the one that hurt them in the first place - because you have now allowed them to move along to hurt again, and again, and again.
...

john said...

I'd say his birth was an "unfortunate incident"!

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: Help for bloggers

Blogger Buzz > Zemanta helps you "blog smarter".
We're always looking for tools to make blogging easier, and a number of us on the Blogger team have become big fans of Zemanta. Zemanta is a browser plug-in for Firefox and IE, and is available as a bookmarklet for Chrome and Safari. (More details here, you can download your version of Zemanta here.)

Here's how it works: while you write your blog post in Blogger, Zemanta opens up a sidebar next to the Blogger post editor. After you've written a few sentences, Zemanta analyzes the words in your post and suggests images and video that are relevant to your post; with one click, it inserts them into your post.
..
.

Anonymous said...

I know I am not alone when I say I am thankful to Christa for her courage in standing up on behalf of clergy abuse victims. Her willingness and tenacity to face a constant storm of insults and hateful comments would cause the average person to have given up the fight long ago.

Those who remain quiet about clergy abuse only allow it to continue without hindrance.

Thank you, Christa, for all your efforts. Congratulations on the release of your book. I would hope that no one has to walk the road alone following clergy abuse and perhaps your book will give them hope just knowing that they are not alone and also help to give insight to those in leadership and in the pews about the devastating and horrific effects of this tragedy being allowed to continue in churches.

Kaye Maher

Christa Brown said...

Just want to mention... the survivor who made those eloquent remarks about forgiveness and "the F-word" was Dianne Darr Couts. She was speaking on film in the great new documentary called All God's Children.

gmommy said...

Christa,
All God's Children has an announcement about your book on Facebook. Very cool!!!

Lydia said...

I went through the whole registration process to comment at ABP only to be blocked by the site administrator. And then I cannot find where to contact him/her.

What is up with that?

Thy Peace said...

let's stop pastor darrell gilyard together > Just a Man.
Darrell received his sentence today and was led away in handcuffs. I look at this picture and I see just a man. Not a Pastor or any other label - just a man that has been broken by sin. I wonder what happened in his life that led him down this path of destruction. Surely there is a reason beyond his obvious sin, a path was chosen and along the way a compromise was made. I am anxious to see what he may allow God to do from this point on with his life.

Jacksonville News > Jacksonville pastor begins prison sentence - Gilyard to serve 3 years for sex crimes against teenage church members.

News4Jax > Ex-Pastor Sentenced On Sex Charges - Darrell Gilyard Pleaded Guilty Last Month To Lewd Conduct, Molestation.

First Coast News > Former Pastor Gilyard Gets Three Years in Prison.

Thy Peace said...

I could not find the contact info for the web site admin of ABP, but I found this:

ABP > Contact Us.

Anonymous said...

I have never heard such horrid statements out of a male! Vengennce may be the Lord's but I very ticked off. Twice the son of hell fits this man well.

Anonymous said...

I did post on the Baptist website http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4142&Itemid=53 as follows:

"As a Roman Catholic actively involved for the last seven years in supporting many survivors of abusive priests, I am saddened and angry but not surprised at Slick's comments. Survivors have vicious charges hurled at them, when their goal is justice and accountability --- and the safety of other minors who could be at risk.

Many comments here show prudential judgment when calling for responsible leadership to deal with a scourge in our society and in all religions. Silence is not an option when crimes (not lapses) are committed against God's children.

I speak of criminal endangerment of children, accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice, and failure to report under the law. God will not be mocked by slick excuses and rationalizations for failure to act. Churches need written policies on how to handle accusations, training for adults and children about recognizing abuse, and screening of volunteers.

Much of the work is already done. See outstanding guides with warning signs of abuse, how to talk to children and keep them safe, at http://www.catholicnh.org/media/files/child-safety/Renewing Our Promise 2007.pdf There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Policies and codes of ministerial conduct are at http://www.catholicnh.org/child-safety/policies/

My father was a Southern Baptist who married a Catholic almost 70 years ago. I welcome greater comity between the two faiths, and hope they work together to protect all God's children."

Bob Allen said...

Lydia,

I don't know the answer to your question about problems with the ABP website, but I am trying to get an answer.

Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press.

Thy Peace said...

For some reason ABP reposted their article here. Also Baptist Standard reposted Bob Allen article here.

GOOD HARD WORKING PEOPLE [Luci Westphal's blog] > Book Recommendation: "This Little Light".

Christian School Confidential [Dwayne Walker] > There will be a review.

Jeri said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeri said...

I posted my review on the Fundamental Forums. The response has been about the same as on ABP News. Here is a link, if anybody can stomach any more of these narcissistic sociopathic preachers:

http://www.fundamentalforums.com/the-fighting-forum/68324-this-little-light-beyond-a-baptist-preacher-predator-and-his-gang-basss-review.html

PS: If this link does not work here, I apologize.

Thy Peace said...

If anyone who wishes to contact NPR for a possible story on Christa's book, please do so.

NPR > Suggesting Story Ideas to NPR.

Lydia said...

Thanks, Bob! I thought it was strange that I kept getting a message that said the admin was blocking me. That is not a typical 'error' message.

There was a link to my e-mail to sign on so that part was not a problem.

Lydia said...

Bob, I got it to work. I just started over for the 3rd time and it worked.

Christa Brown said...

Lydia,
I'm so glad you got the sign-up thing for Associated Baptist Press to work... because you left GREAT comments! Folks, you don't want to miss what Lydia said on the ABP site - it's here - scan to the comments at the bottom.

Jeri said...

Christa, the link you posted did not work for me. Try this:

http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4142&Itemid=53.

Elisabeth said...

Jeri,

You sure had guts to post that on the Fighting Fundamentalist!

What got me was on the 2nd reply that guy Chad said that theological liberalism is a far more egragious crime against the Gospel than child abuse! Huh?!

But at least Mrs. Soprano was nice.

Lydia said...

"What got me was on the 2nd reply that guy Chad said that theological liberalism is a far more egragious crime against the Gospel than child abuse! Huh?!"

This is believed by many in the SBC leadership as defined by their words and actions. Seriously. They do not realize that doctrine and praxis are not exclusive. You can believe the right things and have rotten fruit. Even Satan knows correct doctrine.

But try to get them to define theological liberalism (if they will) and you will see it is nothing but legalism on secondary non salvic issues that many scholars disagree on interpretations.

They get the vapors if anyone mentions women teaching men. But victims of perverted ministry staffers is not that big of a deal. if you mention it, you are bitter, unforgiving and hateful. Probably a 'liberal', too.

I have come to the conclusion that this thinking comes from a dim view of women and children and very hard hearts.

Jeri said...

Hi Elisabeth, it was not a bother to post my review on the FFF. I am not brave; I am merely arrogant. And yes, I know arrogance is a sin, but it is such a timesaver when you are trying to get out information. It just really helps not to care what the opinions of others are. You just get a lot more done.

Well, I'm exaggerating there, but the FFF always throws abuse at me, and now I like annoying them, so I keep appending subsequent reviews of Christa's book to the thread.

Yes, Chad Fletcher buys into the All Hail the Baptists for Being Baptists routine. But as Christa has pointed out, there is a sense in which you want these hard hearted apostates to just go ahead and say all the disgusting nonsense that they harbor. That why people with a conscience will take a warning and be wary of them. The very best advertising of the corruption in conservative Baptist churches are the words of Baptist preachers. No kidding.

Humbly yours (for the moment, anyway),
Jeri
(hee hee! Now I gotta fit my head through the door to go make dinner!)

Michelle said...

Christa,

I've read some of your book. I ordered it straight off when I heard of it. I cried in some of the parts. It makes me ache. It's no comfort to know I'm not alone, I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy, and definitely not on the gutsy, interesting, intelligent men and women here. It IS a comfort to see your bravery in action.

You know that bit in the last Harry Potter, when Neville said that Harry speaking out gave him courage!

You're our Harry Potter. :) (Now watch as this quote is filched and used to show our innate sinfulness.)

You're a great writer. I'll post a review on amazon as soon as I finish, I'm just on break and want to breathe for a bit and space the harsh things out. You know?

My best to all here. I am behind you guys 100% and will keep speaking out as I can emotionally. I'm actually crying as I write this, thanks for being here.

Christa Brown said...

"I'm just on break and want to breathe for a bit and space the harsh things out. You know?"

Yes, I do know, Michelle. Someone sent me their blog-posting the other day, in which they included an excerpt from my book, and I literally recoiled when I saw it on the screen. Doesn't make much sense, does it? It was my own writing, and yet even after all this, I still couldn't quite stomach it.

"...thanks for being here."
And thanks to YOU for being here, too, Michelle. I believe every single survivor who speaks up is "being there" for someone else -- maybe someone who is still totally quiet -- maybe someone you'll never know about. But every single voice counts, including your own. Don't ever doubt it.

Lin said...

"That why people with a conscience will take a warning and be wary of them. The very best advertising of the corruption in conservative Baptist churches are the words of Baptist preachers. No kidding."

Jeri, this is so very true.

Jeri said...

I don't want to soapbox on Christa's blog, but you know, friends, the more people who post reviews on Amazon, the more prominently Amazon will display the book in searches for things like "Baptist Books" (believe it or not!), religion, clergy issues, etc.

Amazon does its rankings based on daily sales, so a brand new book that sells 10 copies in one day actually shoots to the top of their smaller charts (like religion). And reviews also add points to the ratings, as do comments on reviews.

If you are shy about writing in such a large venue, you can always stay simple: identify your reason for reading the book (I'm a Christian; I've been following clergy abuse stories; or I'm a survivor of clergy abuse, etc) and then a single statement of your reaction. (This book helped me understand the situation. Or, I had no idea the problem was this serious. Or, This book made me feel like I have not suffered alone, etc.

By contributing reviews and comments on reviews, you help to keep the book prominent.

Christa Brown said...

Jeri: Thanks so much for suggesting people do reviews on Amazon. Like Jeri says, they can be simple - just a couple sentences.

Speaking of numbers... I could be wrong about this, but I think the Associated Baptist Press article about the book may have gathered more comments than any other article in ABP history. (ABP? Lemme know if I'm wrong about this.)

Thy Peace said...

Christa: I would encourage you to input as the author in Amazon.com for your book. They have a section for authors, author-central.

Thy Peace said...

Some more reviews of Christa's book:

DEEP THOUGHTS [MOJOEY] > Review: This Little Light.

Spiritual Samurai > Christa Brown’s New Book.

Christian School Confidential > This Little Light by Christa Brown.

John 3:17 said...

It's "always the woman's (girl's) fault." So they like to say. That excuse is easier for them than averting their eyes when they see a female that entices some kind of lust in their hearts. It's the woman's fault that she has a large chest; it's her fault she was wearing a pretty (and modest) purple dress, and on and on.

This guy's attitude is the reason there is this serious problem in the first place. God WILL deal with these people. For the time being, I think they expose their fruit, and Jesus said we will know them by their fruit.