On March 16, the convention’s executive committee voted to recommend the ouster of Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta. It’s a historical church for a lot of reasons, but all of its long Southern Baptist history flies out the window when a woman steps into the pulpit.
Reverend Mimi Walker doesn’t even carry the title of “Senior Pastor.” She’s a “co-pastor” and carries the title jointly with her husband, Reverend Graham Walker.
But that’s still too much. The Southern Baptist honchos can’t restrain themselves. They smack down the supposedly autonomous church because of its dreadful sin of having a woman as “co-pastor.”
In the very first comment under the ABP article, a person pointed out the hypocrisy:
“The SBC can dictate who an autonomous church can call as pastor, but cannot maintain a list of pastors/staff who are predators. Go figure.”
That pretty well sums up the reality of Baptistland, doesn’t it?
Autonomy flies out the window when a church puts a woman in the pulpit. But autonomy is the be all/end all when a church keeps an admitted clergy child molester in the pulpit or when a church covers-up for a reported clergy predator.
Southern Baptist officials care more about preserving their image of male-dominant creedal purity than about protecting kids against the reality of church-hopping clergy predators.
Here’s a reminder of how that reality actually works in Baptistland. It’s worse to have a woman than . . .
- A ”senior pastor” who kept quiet about a minister’s admission to sexually abusing his young son, and with that sort of pastoral example, at least 10 more church staff people also knew and kept quiet.
- A former California Southern Baptist Convention president and still-prominent pastor who said he “erred on the side of grace” when he kept quiet about a deacon’s molestation of children in his church.
- An Illinois Baptist children’s home director who urged no prison time for a Southern Baptist pastor convicted of sexually abusing a teen in the church.
- A former Arkansas Baptist State Convention president and still-prominent pastor who urged leniency and no prison time for a Southern Baptist minister who sexually abused dozens of adolescent church boys.
- An Oklahoma Baptist director who did nothing when a former Southern Baptist pastor got a job at an independent Baptist church, despite holding a letter in which the man admitted to sexually abusing a kid.
- A Texas minister who kept quiet about another minister’s sexual abuse of a kid, while allowing the minister to move on to work in children’s ministry at other churches . . . and he said the minister’s abuse of the kid was “consensual.”
- A still-in-the-pulpit Texas pastor whose best defense to an accusation of having sexually abused a church girl was to say “I did not have sex with her when she was 16 or under.”
- Texas church leaders who gathered a $50,000 “love offering” to send their pastor on his way after he admitted that “proper boundaries were not kept” and paid “hush money” to try to silence the report that he had abused a 14-year-old church girl.
- An Arkansas pastor who, when confronted with accusations about a staff minister’s abuse of a boy, quietly accepted the accused minister’s explanation that “it was a one-time run of bad decision-making.”
- A former Florida Baptist convention president and still-prominent pastor who harbored a clergy child molester on his staff, apparently without checking with his prior church employer who knew (or else the prior church didn’t tell), and who later “put on trial” a church secretary who reported sexual harassment by church staff.
- A Texas denominational director who acknowledged keeping a confidential file of ministers reported by churches for sexual abuse, specifically “including child molestation,” but who failed to warn people in the pews.
- A Florida pastor who, according to news reports and a “smoking-gun” tape-recording, “knew for years” that the church’s founding pastor was a pedophile and participated in covering it up.
- A Texas Southern Baptist church whose officials “said nothing” when other churches called for references even though their former staff minister had been twice-reported to them for sexual abuse.
- A former Southern Baptist president and still-prominent seminary president who, while head of a Baptist college, turned his back on numerous college girls and young women who tried to report the sexual abuse and assaults of a pastor whom the president was mentoring.
In none of these instances was there even so much as a denominational rebuke, much less any denominational action.
The reason for denominational do-nothingness? “Local church autonomy.”
But oh gee whiz . . . let a church put a co-pastor woman in the pulpit and a shout goes up from the Baptist hordes: “Oust them!”
"Southern Baptist autonomy (not for women in the pulpit, for predators)," Baptist Planet, 3/19/2010
"Georgia Baptists oust second church with woman pastor," Associated Baptist Press, 11/16/2010
"Georgia Baptist Convention faithfully follows the SBC path toward decline," Baptist Planet, 11/17/2010
"Georgia Baptists' anger over women pastors," EthicsDaily, 11/22/10