Sunday, September 27, 2009

Not as bad as Paige Patterson

When someone sent me this photo of former Southern Baptist president Paige Patterson, he sent it with a caption that said, “Paige sings for you … I did it... MY... WAAAAAAY!!!" ♪♪♪

I laughed.

But the more I looked at the photo, the more I stopped laughing. I couldn’t stop thinking about all those college girls and young women who tried to tell Paige Patterson about sexual abuse and assaults by Baptist pastor Darrell Gilyard.

The women and girls got no help from Patterson.

So pastor Gilyard went on to reportedly abuse many, many more women and girls -- at least 46 that we now know about -- and probably many more.

At that time, Patterson was the president of Criswell College, a school connected to First Baptist of Dallas, and so the female college girls were students under Patterson’s charge.

But Patterson turned a blind eye to Gilyard’s reported abuses and a deaf ear to the young women who tried to get some help.

Finally, after two decades of do-nothingness from Patterson and other Baptist leaders, the law put a stop to Gilyard when it convicted him of molesting a 15-year-old in Florida.

For two decades, so many people were hurt and so little of nothing was done by Paige Patterson.

Yet, Paige Patterson puts on a military camouflage shirt to talk about “taking the hill” for Christ at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where he is now the president. According to the Baptist Press, Patterson “stormed the stage” in a fast-attack vehicle and then fired off a round of blanks from a .50-caliber Browning machine gun.

So I guess he looks tough? Is that the idea?

But where was that toughness when it came to protecting kids and vulnerable young women against a Baptist preacher-predator?

Standing next to his attack-vehicle, Patterson talked about the “courage to act” on witnessing opportunities. But where was his “courage to act” when college girls under his charge asked him for help in dealing with a Baptist minister’s sexual abuse?

Yet, this tragi-comic character is someone Southern Baptists are proud of. Paige Patterson is a longtime Southern Baptist leader. He’s now the president of a Baptist seminary that trains the next generation of Baptist leaders. Scary, huh?

If I lived on that hill, I’d turn and run if I saw any of Patterson’s troops on my street.

Despite all the times when I sang “Onward Christian Soldiers” in childhood, I now find the militaristic view of evangelism to be offensive. It makes sharing the message of Christ into a conquest, and it turns neighbors into “targets.” But I digress. View the “taking the hill” video and decide for yourself.

Here’s the other thing that photo of Patterson reminded me of. It was almost exactly a year ago when I had a troubling conversation with a Dallas reporter. He had sent an email intended for his boss, explaining why he wasn’t going to cover SNAP’s media event in front of the Baptist General Convention of Texas . . . except the reporter plugged in the wrong address and accidentally sent his email to a SNAP leader. So we got to see what the reporter said to his boss.

His stated reason for not covering the event was this: “In my view, the Baptist General Convention of Texas has done more than any Baptist group to deal with clergy abuse.”

I decided to blog about the reporter’s comment because I think it reflects a common misperception about moderate Baptist groups such as the BGCT. After all, if the Catholic Diocese of Dallas kept a confidential file of priests who had been reported for child molestation but didn’t take action to responsibly assess the reports, didn’t remove the priests from ministry, and didn’t even bother to warn people in the pews, would reporters be content to say “The Dallas Diocese does more than any other Catholic group”?

That’s what’s happening with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Perhaps they don’t call clergy molestation survivors “evil-doers” like Patterson did, but they’re just like Patterson in that they don’t actually do anything about reported preacher-predators.

I sent off an email to give the reporter a link to my blog posting and to let him know about his mistake in sending the email to SNAP instead of his boss.

I didn’t name the reporter in my blog posting, but I think he was a bit embarrassed anyway. He called me and tried to explain. He’s a super-nice guy, but in truth, I thought his explanation only made things worse.

“I think you know what I meant,” he said. “After all, people at the BGCT aren’t as bad as Paige Patterson.”

“Not as bad as Paige Patterson.”

Is that the standard?

As long as Baptist leaders aren’t “as bad as Paige Patterson,” then I guess we’re all just supposed to be grateful and keep quiet?

Is that how it works in Baptist-land?

It’s a pretty low standard, if you ask me.

Update: Because the "taking the hill" video has been removed from the seminary's website, I'm adding this link to the Baptist Press article about it.


Anonymous said...

Paige is only acting according to his true nature. He is a male cheauvenistic pig and believes women should be quiet, pregnant, and in the kitchen. He is personally responsible for ruining more preacher's lives than you can even begin to know so your assumptions about him in regard to Gilyard are minute. Remember too that Adrian Rogers stood right next to Patterson in claiming that Gilyard was our "next Billy Graham."

Anonymous said...

What a glutton! He's on his way to outweighing his wife!

And we should listen to this man WHY????!!!

Anonymous said...

Paige is basically a homophobic male who is insecure in his own masculinity. You should go into his office--its like walking into a zoo! The least of his concerns is a woman who claims to have been molested.

Anonymous said...

Well, I'll say one thing: Homophobia's about the only thing PP has right.

Anonymous said...

Homophobia is as unbecoming as ignoring and harboring a pedophile in my book.

Anonymous said...

Not even close, 9:10!

Unknown said...

So as a young rape survivor, I was struggling with homosexual feelings. I went to my pastor, and he convinced me that having sex with a man, him, was more godly than struggling with thoughts about women. That's what homophobia does. And it's not godly in the least.

Christa Brown said...

Elisabeth: Well said, and you're right of course -- "it's not godly in the least."

BaptistPlanet said...

Why would PP come machine-gunning into an environment already rife with lurid incitements to violence?

Jim said...

It boggles the mind that anyone would be at all interested in any words from the mouth of PP. His militaristic stunt is an affront to the men and women who have proudly worn the "cloth of this nation" (uniform) and have defended it. This arrogant blowhard was born in 1942, and was of prime age to join-up during the Viet Nam war. Instead, he used student deferrments to stay home... I guess so he could practice shooting animals. God help us if he's being presented as an example of Christian ministerial leadership.

Lydia said...

It boggles the mind that PP is still in a paid position within the SBC. His rap sheet for evil deed and political shenanigans is a mile long. he was always one step ahead of the ax even from his cronies. They just kept promoting him to get him away from the scandals.

Christa Brown said...

"His militaristic stunt is an affront to the men and women who have proudly worn the "cloth of this nation" (uniform) and have defended it."

Jim: I thought exactly the same thing.

Anonymous said...

OK so if so-called "homophobia" is not Godly in the least, 'splain to me why God says that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom, etc. etc. etc. Sounds to me like God has zero tolerance for it, too. You can call it "homophobia" or whatever you want, but there is NOTHING Godly or right about homosexuality. PP is wrong in just about everything but he sure got that one right!

heffalump said...

Ooo Ooo pick me pick me!
If there's one thing I can't stand (beside pedophilic hypocrites) it would be homophobic hypocrites...

7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Revelation 21:7-8

Are you liar-phobic, idolater-phobic, sorcerer-phobic, whoremonger-phobic, murder-phobic, abominable-phobic, unbelieving-phobic, and fear-phobic? Along with being homo-phobic?
The gospel is not limited to hetero-sexuals, buddy. We all need it. God has zero-tolerance for sin, period. He has unlimited love for people, period.
And guess who God uses to communicate His love? Us. So you better get over being homo-phobic.

Oh and if you don't want anyone else jumping all over your prideful ignorance then keep your comments to yourself and stop the red-herring business.

Unknown said...

You made me smile, Heffalump!

As a person whose pastor had used my homosexual feelings as an excuse to victimize me, that homophobic's comments were triggering. It seemed like he was saying people who victimize people are less sinful than people who struggle with homosexual feelings!

Anonymous said...

He needs to take a course in trauma "triggers." I am sure that did not help those associated with the Wedgewood incident either.

Anonymous said...

I saw the video on "taking the hill" and thought it was chessy. I am not one that advocates door to door evangelism to begin with but believes it begins with developing fruit testimony.

Christa Brown said...

Anon 9:01 -- I suspect there are some for whom the image of Paige himself is a "trauma trigger." (Maybe I shouldn't have posted his picture?) I imagine some of those college girls who tried to report Gilyard to Paige Patterson were likely retraumatized by Patterson's ignorant, do-nothing, bring-me-the-evidence, blame-and-shame-the-victim oblivion.

I find it so frightening to realize that the largest Protestant faith-group in the nation holds this guy up as a model for up-coming young 20-something seminary guys.

Ramesh said...

A genuine question.

I understand for Paige Patterson, he has many Sons. For instance, Jim Smyrl of Fbc Jax, is one of those Sons.

Does he have any Daughters?

I believe PP like to knight some young men as Sons. Does he do that to young women?

What if he did, and they got raped or sexually assaulted by Darrell Gillyard types? Then will PP intervene? or Are the Daughters sacrificial lambs?

Just wondering. Will any of his Sons speaks up?

Anonymous said...

From Anon 9: 01

I would agree. Christian journalist Cal Thomas believes that the anatomy of "true" reformation is a bottom up approach not a top down one. True reformation is not a "blinded by might" approach.

Anonymous said...

Another from 9:01

I lost total respect of him when he used Christian psychologists to discredit the abused women and then stated reservation toward integrational approaches.

Bob Cleveland said...

While there's nothing wrong with discussing homophobia, there's no reason for the comment stream in a blog post about Dr. Patterson to contain any references to that. Nowhere that I've seen has that link been made, and has nothing to do with Dr. Patterson's view on the pastoral abuse.

And it's been mentioned 15 times in this thread, so far, and there's simply no reason for it. So .. we see the same sort of name-calling of which Dr. Patterson has been accused. Y'all ought to be better than this.

Julie said...

This forum operates on here-say and offers no evidence of its claims...basically it's a group of people feeding off of each others' comments in order to bash Patterson...A free for all for people to give their opinions, words they would never speak to Patterson's face. Cowards.

Christa Brown said...

Ordinarily, I cut off comments a couple months after a posting because there's always someone who wants to get the last word ... months later... after the posting is no longer active and when they know that they won't likely be challenged. That's what "Julie" just did.

But here's the thing, "Julie" -- you're wrong -- so wrong that I'm allowing your late comment just to show the ignorance and cowardice of it.

Many, many women attempted to speak directly with Patterson to inform him about a clergy-predator, and Patterson wouldn't take their calls, wouldn't meet with them, and for those he did meet with, he humiliated them. Some of them were young college women who were under Patterson's charge while he was president of Criswell College. He did nothing to help them. (And of course, as we all know by now, the clergy-predator went on to abuse many more and he was finally convicted on child sex crimes in Florida.) If you actually care (though I feel fairly confident you don't), you can read about it in a series of Dallas Morning News articles and there are more links here.

Those women -- every single one of them -- showed enormous courage. You think it's easy for people to talk about being sexually abused? You're clueless. And so was Patterson. You may have an excuse -- you're an anonymous nobody. But Patterson had no excuse. He was the person who carried responsibility. He should have known better. He should have done something. He should have helped people. And instead, he turned his back.

I and other SNAP leaders wrote to the seminary trustees, calling on them to suspend Patterson as president. We made a press release. We spoke to reporters. All of that was very public. There wasn't anything cowardly about it. Meanwhile, you're just some anonymous nobody who posts a comment months after a post is no longer active. You put absolutely nothing on the line. So who's the coward?

Anonymous said...

Julie...Julie... Mr. Julie... That's right, I'm assuming that you must be a male pretending to be a woman. Seriously, why would any female in their right mind want to attack victims who have no possible alterior motive other than trying to expose the truth about this BLOB of a man whose now a has been. If you are a woman than you have been effectively brain washed and need much prayer.