Friday, June 4, 2010

"Stay away"


According to a video segment on WXIN-TV in Indianapolis, Baptist pastor Chuck Phelps “reportedly made Tina confess immorality to the entire congregation.”

Tina was 15 years old at the time. And according to Tina, what she wasn’t allowed to say is that her pregnancy was the result of being raped by a church deacon.

Pastor Phelps is now at the center of rape cover-up allegations. At that time, Phelps was the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. Now, he’s the pastor of Colonial Hills Baptist Church in Indianapolis.

Tina’s brother, Tom Dooley, spoke to WXIN-TV and issued this warning to the congregants at Colonial Hills:

“Basically, I'd say stay away from that church. If he's the one in charge of that church, stay as far away as you can, because if something happens to your child he's not going to do anything about it."

Dooley says that pastor Phelps misled the police in New Hampshire."He reported it as a young lady of near consenting age with an older man, not a 15-year-old who got raped twice," said Dooley. "She's the one who got kicked out of the church for getting raped and getting pregnant. The guy who raped her was a deacon in the church and was allowed to stay in his position as a deacon."

As reported by WXIN-TV, “accused rapist Ernest Willis is now 51 and was arrested days ago by New Hampshire police. Phelps is being investigated for possible obstruction of justice charges.”

"Anderson who has recently come forward to speak publicly about her ordeal says Phelps moved her to Colorado to live with a church family. She had become pregnant following the rape. . . . She has also said Phelps played a role in having her give the child up for adoption.”

"Former members of Phelps’ New Hampshire church say Phelps was running a cult at Trinity Baptist. They fear he will conduct the same time of church in Indianapolis.”

"If this has been done in Concord then the philosophy apparently hasn't changed. What would stop it from happening again in a church in Indianapolis," said Matt Barnhart, a former member of Trinity Baptist in New Hampshire.

And indeed, given that there is no outside oversight nor any denominational oversight for most Baptist churches, what would stop any Baptist church from becoming a cult?

When will Baptists implement safeguards similar to what other major faith groups already have?

In related news, the courtroom was packed yesterday in Conway, New Hampshire for the appearance of a Southern Baptist pastor and several church “elders” who were charged with failing to report the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl. Police said “the charge is very significant” because of “conspiratorial nature.”


Anonymous said...

And in this case of Chuck Phelps, what Baptist group would be responsible for exercising "denominational oversight"?

These two churches (Colonial Hills and Trinity Baptist) appear to be thoroughly independent and not part of the SBC or any other organized structured body. Denominational safeguards would have been of no assistance in this instance.

Christa Brown said...

I think all who carry the "Baptist" brand have some obligation to promote accountability for others who carry the "Baptist" brand. Southern Baptists are, of course, the largest and most powerful of those who carry the "Baptist" brand. And we have certainly seen how, when it suits them (or perhaps when it helps their cronies) the Southern Baptist Convention doesn't hesitate to help promote independent Baptist pastors.

For example, not only did no one in Baptistland say a word to promote any accountability for pastor Tom Messer, who was at the helm of an independent Baptist church with one of the all-time biggest child sex scandals in history, but high Southern Baptist leaders even invited Tom Messer to be a featured speaker at their annual Florida pastors' conference, thereby promoting his career even further and holding him up as an example of pastoral leadership. . . i.e., as an example for Southern Baptists and for all Baptists.

And then there's the infamous case of Darrell Gilyard, who (after numerous reports of sexual abuse) left the Southern Baptist Convention and started up an independent Baptist church, but did so with the vocal support and promotion of high Southern Baptist denominational leaders.

So... Southern Baptist Convention leaders sure haven't hesitated to promote their "independent" friends when it suits them, and by the same token, they should also carry some obligation to speak out about wrongs.

The reality is that Baptists of all types and all stripes have all sorts of alliances, and if they had the will to do so, they could use those alliances to cooperatively implement measures that would foster accountability among Baptist clergy and that would better safeguard children against predatory clergy who church-hop.

Junkster said...
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Junkster said...
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Junkster said...

Regardless of whether or not the SBC could do anything to exercise "oversight" for other Baptist groups, the SBC is still failing in its moral responsibility to do whatever they can to stop predators within their own ranks. And who knows what influence simply setting good example might have. Influence, rather than formal authority, may be the greatest form of power one can exert anyway.

I think that all who carry the "Christian" brand have some obligation to promote accountability for others who carry the "Christian" brand.

Christa Brown said...

"And who knows what influence simply setting good example might have."

Yes... well-said... If the largest and most powerful of the Baptist groups - i.e., the Southern Baptists - would set a good example in responsibly addressing clergy sex abuse, who knows what influence it might have?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the way that Baptist churches in Indianapolis promote the treatment of children, have you seen the movie "An American Crime", which is a documentary about the true story of the 1964 torture and killing of Sylvia Likens at the hand of 50 Baptists in her neighborhood and the temporary foster family she went to church with? Quite amazing, and to me, typical of what the Baptist church offers.

Anonymous said...

I sure feel hoodwinked as I went to Dr Chuck Phelps for advise concerning mu adult son who says he was sexualy abused as a child in the church. Who can be TRUSTED in the IFB church to give Godly leadership concerning sexual abuse of children in the church. I am so disapointed. God help these men to value our children!
A Discouraged Mother