Friday, January 25, 2008

Huckabee cancels at Trinity

SNAP urged presidential candidate Mike Huckabee not to speak at Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville because it’s mired in a clergy sex-abuse cover-up scandal.

Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee changed his plans.

It’s about as simple as that. But if you want, you can read more about it in the news links at the bottom of this posting.

The church had Huckabee’s picture plastered on its website. It announced that Huckabee would be delivering the evening sermon on January 27th. It welcomed the Jacksonville community and said it was maximizing the seating capacity in its 2200 seat worship center. It provided media with a contact number for coverage of the event.

But Huckabee cancelled within hours after SNAP told him about the unanswered questions surrounding Trinity’s tragic history and its trail of wounded people.

Trinity survivors: Please know beyond any doubt that your courage and your stories made a difference. Be proud of yourselves!

Other survivors and supporters – ALL of you: Please raise an arm, bend it at the elbow, and give yourself a huge pat on the back. Each and every one of you had a part in this victory whether you realize it or not.

If you have ever told your story, written a letter to the editor, posted a blog comment, sent a word of encouragement, been to a SNAP meeting, or worked toward your own healing, you played a part in this. All of you have helped to raise awareness about the seriousness of clergy sex-abuse and the extent of the problem.

With every story that gets told, another survivor is encouraged to speak up, and the power of our stories grows. With your stories, your courage, and your work, you give strength and credibility to SNAP as an organization.

And a presidential candidate paid attention.

Enjoy this victory today. Bask in it. Perhaps it can help sustain you during some other part of this long struggle.

Our battles are profoundly painful and our victories seem too few. We are small Davids in a land of giants, and it often appears hopeless.

We are greatly outnumbered and greatly outgunned. Church and denominational leaders have huge budgets for public relations people and for lawyers. They have their own press that they control. And they have the power of countless bully pulpits.

We have mere pebbles by comparison.

But our pebbles are true. For that reason alone, we will prevail in the end.

“No lie lives forever.”

News links for more on Huckabee’s cancellation:

SNAP’s letter to Governor Mike Huckabee.

Join SNAP if you haven’t already done so. There is strength in numbers, and we’d love to have you. (If you would like to see more focus on clergy abuse among Baptists, please write “Stop Baptist Predators” in the comment field of the online registration form.)


Anonymous said...

Yes, it is wonderful that Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is not going to be speaking at Trinity Baptist in Jacksonville. However, now he is scheduled to speak at FBC Orlando, where we have Tommy Gilmore, unless he has moved on from there. It seems like clergy sexual abuse is a cancer with tentacles that spread throughout the SBC churches and until action is taken, it will only get worse. At least SNAP is trying to do something about it.

Christa Brown said...

anonymous: This is information that I didn't previously know. So my own perpetrator, Tommy Gilmore, is now at First Baptist of Orlando? Do you know whether he is simply there as a member or whether he is doing any sort of work in ministry or counseling or teaching Sunday School?

What painful irony! We work hard to get Huckabee not to speak at Trinity. And now he's speaking at the church of my own perpetrator. But many thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

Mike Huckabee will be attending two services on Sunday morning at FBC Orlando but is not scheduled to speak at them.

Anonymous said...

Tommy Gilmore is a real estate agent in Orlando;, in case you want to blast him. I checked the website for 1st Baptist Orlando and his name is not listed with all the staff. Hopefully, he is just a member.

He makes me sick to my stomach.


Christa Brown said...

Thanks for looking, Phyllis. But of course, he wasn't listed as staff at Cornerstone Community Church of Central Florida, either. He was a "contract" minister there, working with them in their children's ministry. I don't imagine people in the pews have a clue about whether someone is a staff minister or a contract minister. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. But allowing a problem-minister to work as a contract minister instead of a staff minister would help to keep people from finding him. In addition to being a children's minister, he was also a pastoral counselor. So, I figure he could possibly be doing some counseling work at the church. Or who knows? Maybe he's a Sunday School teacher for 14 yr. old girls. Those things wouldn't show up on a staff roster either.