Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Child molesters on SBC's ministerial registry

Once again, the Southern Baptist Convention’s ministerial registry is revealed as including men who have been convicted or charged with sex crimes involving children.

As reported in the Tennessean, “Southern Baptist Convention leaders are railing against sexual predators, calling upon local churches to drive out anyone accused of sex crimes against children, but a quick internet search shows the organization has not cleansed its own web site.”

So here’s the picture. Executive Committee president Morris Chapman stood there telling the convention crowd that “our denomination…must condemn publicly this vile act.” But even as he spoke, child-molesting ministers remained on the SBC’s own registry in Nashville.

That doesn’t exactly constitute public condemnation, does it?

And this isn’t the first time these guys have been caught with harboring child-molesting ministers on their registry.

Take a look at the documented history.
  1. On October 11, 2006, EthicsDaily published the fact that convicted child molester John O. McKay was still on the SBC’s registry of ministers. Nothing happened.

  2. On March 28, 2007, EthicsDaily published the fact that Timothy Byars was on the SBC’s registry of ministers despite having been charged with child sex crimes, and it again pointed out that convicted perpetrator John O. McKay was also still there. Nothing happened.

  3. Around March 30, 2007, ABC 20/20’s correspondent Jim Avila told SBC president Frank Page face-to-face about the fact that there were convicted child molesters whose names were on the Southern Baptist Convention's ministerial registry. Despite the stunned look on Frank Page’s face, nothing happened.

  4. On April 13, 2007, ABC 20/20 aired publicly with a program called “Preacher Predators,” showing that there were convicted child molesters on the Southern Baptist Convention’s ministerial registry. Nothing happened. (To the contrary, SBC official Augie Boto publicly justified and defended KEEPING the names of convicted perpetrators on the SBC’s ministerial registry.)

  5. On April 16, 2007, EthicsDaily published the names of 6 convicted child molesters who were still listed on the SBC’s ministerial registry. Nothing happened.

  6. On April 18, 2007, SNAP made a wide-scale press release with the names of 6 convicted child molesters who were still listed on the SBC’s ministerial registry. Finally, something happened. As reported by the Religion News Service, the 6 published perpetrators were removed from the SBC’s registry either late on April 18th or early on April 19th.

Now here we are again, on June 24, 2008, with 10 more convicted or charged sex offenders reported as being on the SBC’s own ministerial registry.

SBC “leaders” just don’t learn, do they? Either that, or they just don’t care.

One thing for sure: It doesn’t look much like “moral outrage.”

One of the ministers now disclosed by the Tennessean is Timothy Byars. This is the same minister whom EthicsDaily first pointed out over a year ago on March 28, 2007. (See #2 above.) Yet, Byars was still there on the SBC’s ministerial registry.

So why should anyone actually believe Morris Chapman when he talks about how this denomination condemns this vile act? It’s just talk.

The reality of their deeds tell a very different story. These so-called “leaders” keep child-molesting ministers on their own registry there at Nashville headquarters. They’ve been repeatedly and publicly told about it. And it keeps on happening.

In fact, according to the Tennessean, the SBC hasn’t even assigned a single staff person to monitor the ministerial registry.

The national organization of the Southern Baptist Convention is a $200 million per year organization. If you count all the annual offerings in Southern Baptist churches and the funds going to statewide denominational offices, it’s a $10.4 billion per year organization.

Yet, this powerful, mega-monied, tentacular organization can’t come up with the funds for assigning even a single employee to keep clergy child-molesters off the ministerial registry.

And still they think we should believe them when they say they care about this.

Actions speak louder than words.

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