Saturday, August 11, 2007

How can Baptist dads do nothing?

When I first learned that Southern Baptist president Frank Page had 3 daughters, I was surprised. How could a dad to 3 daughters settle for a rote recitation of the “autonomy” excuse instead of taking action against clergy child molesters?

But of course, plenty of other blind-eyed Baptist leaders are also dads. SBC official Augie Boto is a family man with 3 kids. Steve Gaines has 4 kids. Sam Underwood has 3. Tom Messer has 4. Jim Moore has 2 daughters and several grand-kids. The list could go on and on.

I look at that picture of Jim Moore with his lovely granddaughter, and I ponder how such a man could know about another minister’s abuse of me as a kid and yet stay silent about it for 30 years, while allowing the perpetrator to go right on working with kids. How could this minister/dad who was my piano teacher choose to turn a blind eye, and how could he make the same choice a second time when I tried again as an adult to report the abuse?

How does he look at himself in the mirror? And yet, I’m sure he does. He’s a proud man.

How would a man like that feel if someone had done to one of his daughters what was done to me? Or if it was done to one of his grand-daughters?

If the kid of one of those men had been molested or raped by a Baptist minister, and they didn’t find out about it until it was too late for prosecution, would they be content to recite their usual line: “Nothing can be done…all Baptist churches are autonomous”? Would they still be content if they saw the perpetrator standing in the pulpit of another church?

Do they imagine that this is something that happens only to other people’s kids? Even if that’s what they think, aren’t other people’s kids also worth protecting?

Do any of them have kids who are disabled, disfigured, or just different in some way? Studies show that those sorts of kids are even more likely to be preyed upon by child molesters.

But in reality, no kid is safe. ALL kids have their own unique vulnerabilities.

That vulnerability is the very scent that predators hone in on. And clergy child molesters have a uniquely advantageous position of trust that aids them in their exploitation of kids’ vulnerabilities.

How can men who are dads not feel the need to do everything possible to protect kids against this terrible crime that so savages body, soul and psyche? Why does that instinct not live within them?

I will never understand the blind-eyed, do-nothing attitude of so many Baptist dads. It seems inhuman to me. It even seems unmammalian. An ordinary mother bear would do more. A water buffalo would do more.


Anonymous said...

Christa, My husband is a Southern Baptist Minister. Our son was molested by the chairman of deacons in one of our churchs back in the 1980's. We did press charges. Would you please give me an email address so I can tell you the whole story?

Mom of Victim

Christa Brown said...

Mom of victim: I am deeply saddened that your son was molested by a deacon. I hope that he has received some good counseling and is doing well in his life. Your son, yourself, and your family - you all have my sympathy. I know what a profound impact this can have on people.

I am glad that you were able to press charges. Most of the time, that isn't possible because the kid doesn't talk about it at the time, and by the time they do talk about it (usually years later), it's usually too late for criminal prosecution.

Please let me hear from you:

Christa Brown said...

Gmommy: If you happen to read this, would you drop me a line so I can send you an email?

WatchingHISstory said...

Paul Williams, a minister on staff at the Memphis, Tenn., mega-church for 34 years, sodomized his son for over 18 months 18 years ago. He was a Baptist dad and served under Dr Adrian Rogers as a minister at Bellevue Baptist Church.

After Dr Rogers' death the father and son confided in Dr Gaines, the new pastor. Dr Gaines kept the confession of the father confidential till the son initiated
an exposure of his father to public.

How could all this take place at the 'flagship' of the SBC?

Bellevue has contributed to the cauterizing of hearts of people to the message of the "Love worth finding"

oceansmiles said...

Thank you for this site and your courage in sharing your story. I was married to a SB man for eight years, and I've never heard so much insanity as what came out of that church. When my husband left a few weeks after our fifth child was born (in seven years), what did the faithful proclaim (including his father)? "She didn't make the home a pleasant place he wanted to be.... she was a vegetarian, how can a man live with no meat?.....well, their kids slept with them- so there couldn't have been enough sex.......she always tried to be the leader instead of submitting like a wife should..." and so on! Yes, it was MY fault entirely that he ran off with that stripper in our Sunday School class... and yes, she left her 2nd husband for my husband! It's just too Jerry Springer for me, really...

Courage and peace-

Christa Brown said...

Welcome to the blog!

"She was a vegetarian." That's hilarious (though I'm sure it wasn't funny at the time). I've heard so many excuses and rationalizations that SB people come up with for blaming the wife or the victim... but that's a new one!