When people “collude,” they cooperate with something that is absurdly inept, false or foolish.
That’s how I think about collusion. It’s a charade of a pretense that is so phony as to be ludicrous.
When people collude, they are usually making themselves complicit in the cover-up of some sort of unethical conduct or in the protection of others who engage in unethical conduct.
Sometimes, people collude to cover-up for prior collusion -- their own or that of others. Collusion feeds on itself.
We see the manifestations of collusion with clergy sex abuse through minimizations, denial, rationalizing, victim-silencing, victim-blaming, and keep-it-quiet tactics.
Collusion can be accomplished both consciously and unconsciously, intentionally and unintentionally. So even if someone says they didn’t intend to collude, their conduct may have still been collusive.
Many collude through silence and inaction. So you won’t see the collusion in what they do; you’ll see it in what they don’t do.
Collusion often occurs behind closed doors. It’s a secretive sort of thing. So most of the time, you aren’t going to see any news articles about it.
But here’s one possible example:
Morris Chapman. Remember him? He’s the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee. Despite the vote of 8600 Southern Baptist “messengers,” directing the Executive Committee to conduct a study on Baptist clergy sex abuse, Chapman never even took it seriously enough to set aside a budget for the study. The Nashville Scene provided this summary of the Executive Committee’s response to abuse victims’ calls for help:
“Abuse is sad. But because of that pesky matter of church autonomy, we can’t remove predatory pastors from the pulpit. Please stop calling and emailing about your suffering. Our hands are tied, but we hear prayer heals all wounds. God bless.”
Think that sounds ludicrous? That’s the point.
For more possible examples of conduct that many might say constitutes collusion with Baptist clergy sex abuse, check the links below:
Every one of those people and organizations would probably say they think clergy sex abuse is a terrible thing. But take a look and decide for yourself whether that’s the message their deeds reflect.
What do you think?
Do those constitute examples of Baptist leaders’ collusion with clergy sex abuse?