Friday, July 27, 2007

More threats and crocodile tears

Madeleine Manning, whose fully-alive words of truth I posted a couple days ago, sends out to clergy abuse survivors this favorite quote from a Hopi elder: “WE are the ONES we have been waiting for.”

I like that. And I've been thinking about some of Madeleine’s other words. She said this: "They undercut, demeaned, twisted every word exchanged - and that was when they weren't downright lying. All, of course, with apologies and even crocodile tears in their eyes.”

Those words sure call to mind my own experience in dealing with Baptist leaders. The Baptist General Convention of Texas is particularly good at that “crocodile tears” thing.

Not long ago, they put out still another public statement saying “we care about clergy abuse victims.” Yeah, uh-huh. They made that statement right about the same time their long-time lawyer was calling up an attorney friend of mine to suggest that, if I didn’t rein it in, I might find myself facing a lawsuit or a state bar disciplinary proceeding. He didn’t like a couple of my blog postings. Poor baby.

This is the same guy who responded to my initial report of abuse by threatening to seek recourse against me - i.e., he threatened to sue me. He made that threat even though he had already talked with the music minister in the church who KNEW about the abuse when I was a kid. He made that threat even though what I asked for was the sort of help that the BGCT’s own published booklet says is appropriate. (Obviously, the booklet is nothing but words on paper.) He made that threat even though the only monetary help I asked for was a stipend for 2 years’ worth of counseling. (Back in 1990, the BGCT started providing a 2-year counseling program to “restore” clergy who commit “sexual misconduct” (and they lump child molestation in with “sexual misconduct”), and so it seemed reasonable to me that they should also support 2 years of counseling for clergy abuse victims … but obviously they saw it differently.)

So, after having started out by threatening me 3 years ago, this same long-time BGCT lawyer recently decided to threaten me again. (I guess when you get in the habit of bullying wounded people, it winds up being a hard habit to break. Has no one at the BGCT realized that threatening victims who talk isn’t exactly conducive to finding out about child molesters who are still in the pulpit?)

My friend Elana tells me I need to work at accessing my “Buddha-nature” so that I can let Baptist rubbish like this roll off my shoulders. She’s right, of course, but I’ve probably got too much Irish in me. I’m ticked off and fed up with these hypocritical Pharisee-like eejits.

I don’t know whether, on this particular occasion, this jerk was acting at the behest of someone at the BGCT or whether he was acting at his own behest. (As pastor Ben Cole pointed out, Baptists have a sort of “Cosa Nostra-style” organization, which makes it easy for leaders to pretend ignorance, wash their hands of misdeeds, and shift responsibility.) What I know (from having talked with other Baptist survivors) is that this same jerk has been the BGCT’s lawyer on clergy abuse issues for over a decade.

So here's what I've got to say to this wonder-worm: Don’t use my friends as intermediaries to pass on your low-life cowardly threats. If you’re determined to threaten me (for whatever ridiculous reason you come up with), put it in writing and send it to ME, and then I'll let you know who my attorney is.

Well…I’ve got a lot more I could say about the BGCT and their “crocodile tears” but that’s enough for today.


Anonymous said...

Calling their hand is the very thing they hate the most. All they are then left to do is try to destroy you as a person. I have seen this type of action several times in my 35 years as an SBC minister. Just remember, we love you, respect you, and are behind you 100%.
May God give you a big blessing for your concern for others over self.

gmommy said...

Did Tommy Gilmore lose his license to be a minister? Is there a way to find this info out?
I am wondering if Paul Williams is making a living serving in some capacity even on a part time basis.
Even tho these sexual predators admitted... confessed to their crimes they are not on the sexual offenders list.
TG is going into homes in Orlando!
I wouldn't want my child alone in the room while I stepped out to look for a document! There should be some restrictions on HOW they are allowed to make a living after they are exposed.
The state DOES need to get involved since the churches and the SBC won't.
I shudder to think where PW is now.

Christa Brown said...

gmommy: I have no reason to think that TG ever had his ordination revoked. I imagine he could move to Alabama or Alaska or even another city in Florida and STILL get hired at a Southern Baptist church. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he's STILL doing some sort of consulting work in Baptist churches. Or he could get a job doing substitute teaching in a school. (scary thought, huh?) Or maybe he'll eventually get a job working for a regional Baptist association or a state convention (because he's well-connected, and to this day, my impression is that no one in denominational leadership really thinks what he did is of much consequence). I suspect he's still very well-respected, and there are no restrictions on him.