Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Hollywood and Baptistland

On the October 3rd broadcast of “Richard Land Live!” the Southern Baptist Convention’s top-dog ethicist had a lot to say about how some Hollywood celebrities are urging leniency for film director Roman Polanski, who was convicted on child sex charges 30 years ago.

This is a man -- Richard Land -- who wouldn’t even shake my hand.

Land’s official title is President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. With a title like that, I imagined that Land might be the right person to try to talk to about child sex abuse and cover-ups among Southern Baptist clergy. So I wrote to him, and then at Southern Baptist headquarters in Nashville, I stepped forward and extended my hand.

“Dr. Land, I’m Christa Brown. I work with SNAP and….” Before I could even finish my sentence, he had turned away.

So I listened in wonder as Land seemed to express such outrage over “Hollywood elites.” Where was his voice of outrage about the Southern Baptist minister who repeatedly molested and raped me when I was an underage church-girl? Where was his outrage about the music minister who knew about it, then and now, and called it “consensual”? Where was his outrage about Texas Baptist officials who put my perpetrator’s name in a secret file of “known offenders,” but then kept quiet about it while the man continued to work in children’s ministry? Where was his outrage about the 18 Baptist leaders who were informed about my substantiated report of clergy abuse and did nothing?

And where was Land’s outrage about prominent Southern Baptist pastor, Steve Gaines, who kept quiet about a minister’s admission to sexually abusing his young son? Gaines said it was “under the blood.”

And where was Land’s outrage about a former California Southern Baptist Convention president who claimed he “erred on the side of grace” when he kept quiet about a deacon’s molestation of children in his church?

And where was Land’s outrage about a Southern Baptist children’s home director who urged no prison time for a prominent Southern Baptist pastor who had been convicted of sexually abusing teen church girls?

And where was Land’s outrage about a former Arkansas Baptist State Convention president who urged leniency and no prison time for a prominent Southern Baptist minister who sexually abused dozens of adolescent church-boys?

And where was Land’s outrage about the many good Baptist people of Benton, Arkansas, who recently begged the court to give convicted minister David Pierce probation, citing Pierce’s good deeds and saying it was punishment enough for Pierce to lose his livelihood and reputation?

All these stories and more ran through my mind as I listened to Richard Land rail about the “Hollywood elites.” Did he imagine that child sex abuse was somehow less heinous if the perpetrators subdued their prey with Bible verses? Or was Land’s silence based on the simple fact that the people in these stories carried the “Baptist” name, instead of the “Hollywood” name?

That’s when I realized that you could take Land’s own words, and they would be equally applicable to Southern Baptists. Read the excerpts below. Then read my version that follows. I’ve highlighted the places where I made changes. For example, whenever Land says “Hollywood,” I say “Baptistland.”

Richard Land’s words:

“There are sometimes stories that in and of themselves don't take on a great deal of significance, but when they are seen as symptoms of a serious problem in society or in certain segments of society, they rise to the level of becoming symbolic. I think we had an example of that this week, and that was with the arrest in Switzerland of Roman Polanski. . . .

The Hollywood community has lived in its own sexual cesspool so long that it no longer has any understanding of the enormity of the crimes that Roman Polanski committed.

Maybe we have been misjudging these Hollywood producers and directors. . . . Maybe they're just reflecting their own sexual paganism. Maybe they think this is normal. . . .

What this has revealed is the total demagnetization of the moral compass of the Hollywood elite. . . .

How can liberals defend such heinous actions? How can they simply look the other way . . . . For one, they believe the pervert . . . . He says that the encounter was consensual. Just for the sake of argument for a moment, let's say he is telling the truth. . . the act was still illegal. . . . But many liberals scoff at age of consent laws . . . . Let's remember that the next time some liberal spouts off about some program designed to protect children. . . .

These people are moral pygmies. . . .

Just because a person is a talented artist doesn't mean they have any sense whatsoever. . . .

Why did so many of Mr. Polanski's artistic peers rush to defend him? …. I think it has more to do with the rich and famous having lots of skeletons in their own closets, and they want a bypass for artists. . . .

I do think there is a lot of elitism involved in this whole Roman Polanski case. I think that basically the elite -- not just the artistic elites but the cultural and political elites -- think that they are different and they are entitled to a different standard of justice.”
____________

My modified version of Land’s words:

There are sometimes stories that in and of themselves don't take on a great deal of significance, but when they are seen as symptoms of a serious problem in society or in certain segments of society, they rise to the level of becoming symbolic. I think we had an example of that this week, and that was with the conviction in Arkansas of Southern Baptist minister David Pierce. . . .

The Baptistland community has lived in its own sexual cesspool so long that it no longer has any understanding of the enormity of the crimes that David Pierce committed. . . .

Maybe we have been misjudging these Baptistland ministers and leaders. . . . Maybe they're just reflecting their own sexual paganism. Maybe they think this is normal. . . .

What this has revealed is the total demagnetization of the moral compass of the Baptistland elite. . . .

How can Baptist leaders defend such heinous actions? How can they simply look the other way . . . . For one, they believe the pervert . . . . He says that the encounter was consensual. Just for the sake of argument for a moment, let's say he is telling the truth . . . the act was still illegal. . . . But many Baptist leaders scoff at age of consent laws . . . . Let's remember that the next time some Baptist leader spouts off about some program designed to protect children. . . .

These people are moral pygmies. . . .

Just because a person is a talented preacher doesn't mean they have any sense whatsoever. . . .

Why did so many of Mr. Pierce’s Baptist peers rush to defend him? …. I think it has more to do with Baptist ministers having lots of skeletons in their own closets, and they want a bypass for Baptist ministers. . . .

I do think there is a lot of elitism involved in this whole David Pierce case. I think that basically the elite – the Baptist elite -- think that they are different and they are entitled to a different standard of justice.

22 comments:

bostonpadre said...

A young man in my area recently came forward stating he had been abused by his baptist pastor. The pastor was taken to court, found guilty, and is currently in jail. The parish, however, has refused this young man any support, other than giving him a $7 cassette tape to listen to. "Let the one among you who is without sin cast the first stone!"

John said...

Why do you keep on trying? Because justice demands it. Why do you care? Because humanity needs it. Why do you not give up in the face of such immoral and ungodly behavior? Because who you are just will not let you. Christa, I am so glad I got to know you and your story. You have created a new passion in me that will not let me engage ministers in a coinversation without bringing up this pervesion of truth and christianity.
Interestingly enough, I live in Arkansas and we hear nothing about this even though it is only a couple of hundred miles away. I do not think that the Bible-belt media wants to believe how serious this problem really is either.
There are so many to educate and so short of a time to do it before another child falls prey to these criminals.
Don't be fooled by Dr Land. He is a political monster who owes his soul and future to the SBC. He will never report anything that makes his fake religious machine look bad.
Christa, thank you again and again. We must have warriors like you!

gwfrink3 said...

Land well-plowed.

Anonymous said...

"Did he imagine that child sex abuse was somehow less heinous if the perpetrators subdued their prey with Bible verses?"

No, it makes it WORSE. We expect this behavior from pagans. But from Christians?

It is much easier to make YOU, Christa, the bad guy than to deal with truth. Because guys like Land have a lot to lose.

Do we not realize that all this fighting the culture is what makes them famous? They get on foxnews, go to the White House, get invited to meet important people. And they talk about the horrible culture.

All the while refusing to acknowledge the depravity in SBC leadership all over the place. Not only that but they go to great lenghts to coddle the bad guys or those who protect them. It is about IMAGE and one day it is going to come crashing down when folks get sick and tired of paying them big fat 6 figure salaries to represent us to the world.

Maybe some reporters will start asking them hard questions but then they just spin...we are investigating...we have handled that....he repented...etc., etc.

Anonymous said...

He refused to shake your hand?

You are the one who took the high road.

He is a petty man who has no business with his lofty title and huge salary.

terriTippins@aol.com said...

http://www.ethicsdaily.com/news.php?viewStory=14982

I though this was an interesting article from EthicsDaily, it does not flatter Dr. Land.

Christa Brown said...

TerriTippins: I thought the same thing. For those who haven't read the article, Richard Land said that those advocating health-care reform are attempting to do "precisely what the Nazis did."

There is certainly plenty of room for debate on health-care reform proposals, their costs and effects. But for Land to assign genocidal intent to those advocating reform is a diabolical propoganda tactic. Yet this is the man that the largest Protestant denomination in the country puts forward as the voice of faith in the public arena. Scary.

Anonymous said...

Dirty SBC politics as usual. Typical hypocrites. SBC "leadership" truly makes me ill. I say the SBC is just as represhensible as Hollywood, in their own way. As a matter of fact, I think SBS leadership is just envious that they are not Hollywood! They sure do pretend they are!

Anonymous said...

Richard Land is NOT helping our side at all! I wish the fool would just shut up!!!

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

I do NOT support universal health care. And I do know for a fact the Nazi's had socialized medicine but that was instituted much earlier after WW1. But government control of all health care did make it much easier to do all those heinous experiments on people and to murder the mentally ill.

However, Land is simply promoting a double standard. One standard for those who coddle perverts in the SBC and another higher standard for Hollywood coddlers of perverts. Why?

One would think a celebrity Christian would want a higher standard for the SBC when it comes to supporting and coddling pervert ministers. But he does not.

Yet, His very title and the name of his entity demand it if he is to be taken seriously by thinking people.

Which means he is hypocritical. And we pay him big bucks to be so.

You should send this to the reporter who gave Land access.

Lydia said...

BTW: Is Richard Land Live paid for by the SBC or is it his own personal non proft? If so, is he making money while being paid by the SBC?

These guys always have a bunch of income streams when being paid by us.

(I find it interesting that Richard Land 'brands' himself. The vanity in these circles is appalling)

Christa Brown said...

Lydia: I don't know exactly how the radio show "Richard Land Live!" is funded. However, when I was at SBC headquarters in Nashville, there was a radio studio glass booth just inside the front doors, and it appeared to be where "Richard Land Live!" is produced. So... my guess is that at least some part of the funding for the radio show -- i.e., the physical facility -- comes from the same Cooperative Program dollars that maintain SBC headquarters. If I'm wrong, then perhaps someone would like to illuminate all of us on how "Richard Land Live!" is funded, and while you're at it, it might also be interesting to know Richard Land's salary and his income-stream from books, speaking engagements, etc.

And if this is so ... i.e., if Cooperative Program dollars can be used to fund a radio show that "brands" Richard Land as a celebrity, then why can't Cooperative Program dollars be used to fund a professionally-staffed review board to objectively assess clergy abuse reports?

Anonymous said...

These SBC guys are double-dippers just like the liberal public tv/radio! Not only does public tv/radio get funding from the government, but they also get money from private donations and funding drives. Unbelievable.

John said...

When a person's actions are motivated by their religious belief system, they can justify doing some amazing things in the name of their god[s]. It helps to understand people like Land by remembering that they honestly believe what they say and do is right while to oppose them is not only wrong but is to stand against their god.
Over the course of histoey religious zealots have done a lot of damage to individual, their society, and the name of the true God.
I honestly believe, and have so for many years, that if the rank-in-file SBC church knew what was really going on behind the high walls of the SBC structure they would not only be shocked but would withdraw their support until the mess was exposed and cleaned up.
The reason they refuse to "shake our hands" is because we are so fae below them in the "kingdom" that is would give the appearance of weakness to do so.

Christa Brown said...

"If the rank-in-file SBC church knew what was really going on behind the high walls of the SBC structure they would not only be shocked but would withdraw their support until the mess was exposed and cleaned up."

I pray for this day ...

Lydia said...

These SBC guys are double-dippers just like the liberal public tv/radio! Not only does public tv/radio get funding from the government, but they also get money from private donations and funding drives. Unbelievable.

October 8, 2009 1:43 PM

They use a lot of tactics out of the liberal playbook. They just won't admit it. One of them is to never discuss the real issue but to attack the messenger because they don't want to discuss the issue. Another is to live off the offerings of others while using that time they are paid for to generate other income streams like speaking gigs and writing books.

they build their 'brand' using your offering money for their salary in order to make more money. It really is quite diabolical.

And there are hundreds of young guys who cannot wait to do the same thing coming out of our seminaries. They revere these guys.

Anonymous said...

"If the rank-in-file SBC church knew what was really going on behind the high walls of the SBC structure they would not only be shocked but would withdraw their support until the mess was exposed and cleaned up."

I pray for this day ...

October 8, 2009 4:17 PM



I Second that !!!! Makes me want to go Methodist!

Anonymous said...

"One of them is to never discuss the real issue but to attack the messenger because they don't want to discuss the issue."


Absolutely they do that!

Anonymous said...

Lydia you nailed it.

Paula said...

Power corrupts.

And since power is all these men value, it is all they fear losing. So the only threat they will ever take seriously is that which undermines their power. All our talk is only laughed at.

I think the only way to dislodge these hirelings is to somehow go directly to the people and convince them, with evidence and testimonies, that sending money to the SBC is supporting the abuse of their children. Take away the motive to "give", and you take away the hirelings' grip on the people.

Always aim at the most vulnerable spot, which on a hireling is the hip pocket. ;-)

Tracey said...

Ironically, I met David Pierce once, at FBC Benton and he refused to shake my hand. I had the impression he looked down on me. I told my boyfriend that I didn't like him, which came as a surprise to him. He felt that I had probably misinterpreted something, but I know I hadn't. I know I really didn't have a clue as to what he was, but it does make me wonder.