Friday, June 13, 2008

on second thought. . .

I'm reading this article published by Ethics Daily about the SBC refusing to create a nationwide database for child sex offenders.

Click here to read article in context.

You know, after reading the comments made by SBC officials, I don't think they're avoiding the issue as much as others might think.

If Trinity Baptist Church were to have issued just half of the report that the SBC did, I would be amazed. That's what I'm just not getting about all the victims (or rather, those who represent them) dissing every apology offered by the Roman Catholic Church, the SBC, the Presbyterians, and other groups.

It's generally: "Too little, too late!" While the other victims who accept an apology, such as those who met with the Pope, have been described as 'a few small, cautiously-selected and highly-favorable audiences'.

Victims of clergy abuse, and child abuse, come in many stripes, and not everyone necessarily sees the same things through the same glasses. For some, it's an earth shattering event just to hear religious leaders finally admit that what we knew was truth all along.

It's understandable that SNAP does not want the hierarchy in any denomination becoming complacent regarding this issue, but I think it's more complex than that.

Let's look at what Southern Baptist leaders are saying, as represented by the quotes from the article in Ethic's Daily:

While an SBC database might seem like a good idea "on the surface," leaders said, it would be impossible to ensure that all convicted sex offenders that ever had a connection to a Baptist church would be included. Since sexual predators often migrate from one denomination to another, listing only SBC ministers would afford only partial protection.

There have been cases of predators moving, not just from one denomination to the next, but into organizations set up to fight against abuse. Think about it: if you are drawn to that illegality, what better cover could you ask for?

This is one reason why citizens are discouraged from doing their own investigations into child abuse. It mucks up the works. How do you know the difference between a citizen truly trying to fight a wrong? Or a predator seeking cover, and perhaps, some pointers?

There have been cases of police abuse against children. We don't see a lot of people storming the bastille demanding accountability there! Probably because they're afraid of getting arrested on bogus charges.

Check out this report:

POLICE SEXUAL ABUSE OF TEENAGE GIRLS.

What about Republicans? Our biggest defenders of so-called 'family values'?

Check this out:

STOP REPUBLICAN PEDOPHILIA!

That list is pretty long! It includes the late Strom Thurmond, formerly on Bob Jones University's board of directors, for having sex with a 15 year old. She eventually wrote a book about it.

It's interesting the connection between Republican pedophilia and fundamentalist ministers. One could argue the problem began when churches began linking up with political parties.

Here's a list of Democratic pedophiles, but the Republicans are still the winner when it comes to numbers:

Democrat pedophiles.

The point is: it's everywhere!

The Southern Baptists are asking local churches to police their ranks. And they're doing so in the strongest possible language.

From SBC 'must expose' sexual predators:

Southern Baptist Executive Committee President Morris H. Chapman delivered his report moments ago, spending most of the time addressing the subject of child sexual abuse.

“One sexual predator in our midst is one too many,” he said to applause. “… We have a huge responsibility to our Lord, our nation, our church family and potential victims. Sexual predators must be stopped. They must be on notice that Southern Baptists are not a harvest field for their devious deeds.”

Sexual abuse, Chapman said, “is a growing crisis in our nation.” Southern Baptist churches, he said, “must be on watch and take immediate action”

The denomination, he said, must not turn a “blind eye” to the issue and must state categorically that child sexual offenders “will … not find refuge in our churches.” Ministers caught in such a sin and crime “must understand they will not ever be allowed to minister in Jesus’ name” and will be reported to local authorities, Chapman said.

“We must expose them,” he said.

“Never let it be said that we are anemic in the fight against sexual abuse. To say so is a false accusation,” he said.

“We must never rid ourselves of the problem” by knowingly allowing an employee to go to another church, Chapman said.


How are they to do this?

Excerpt:

Southern Baptist churches should take to provide the highest degree of protection against sexual predators, and having considered a wide variety of options, recommends the Dru Sjodin national sex offender database, maintained and provided by the United States Department of Justice and publicly accessible without charge, as the best resource for such use, and has posted a link to it and other worthy resources on SBC.net

That database lists all child sex predators, whether Southern Baptist or not, who have been convicted.

What about predators who move from church to church?

“The Executive Committee strongly encourages local congregations to devise policies and execute strategies (1) to be diligent as they choose and supervise their ministers, employees, and volunteers, (2) to be vigorous in their investigations of known or suspected sex abuse within their ranks, and (3) to be honest and forthcoming in revealing the facts to their sister congregations when asked about former ministers, employees, and volunteers.”

All systems are flawed, but if the church which sponsored my alma mater, Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, had made public statements like these, I would have been pleased.

I'm not a Southern Baptist. If this organization is as corrupt as some believe it is, why bother with the pretense of trying to reform them? If they're so corrupt, valuable time is being wasted. Just admit 'Icabod' is written over the door and abandon them! End of discussion.

Ironically, I'm probably the only one applauding the SBC for their report.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, though.

Here is the statement I made in my short video, Don't Go In The Church:

"Until church officials recognize the seriousness of the problem and confront this horrid evil. . .don't go in the church!"

The Southern Baptist Convention has acknowledged it has a problem! Great, they admitted it. Now, all eyes are on the local SBC churches who get caught up in these scandals. Let's see how they handle it.

3 comments:

J. Davidson said...

I applaud them for taking a step. But talk is cheap as the saying goes. There reasoning falls flat about the database. Seeing as how they have thrown churches out of the SBC because of equal treatment granted to persons of all sexual orientations they could have simply ruled that any local church wanting to participate in the convention would have to participate in a sexual predator database, or else be removed from the convention. Period.

My skeptisim comes on strong when I see them say "The database idea also is undermined by the fact that the convention cannot require churches to report instances of sexual abuse to local, state or national conventions, the report said." I see so homosexual issues we can force them, protecting children we can not.

I think the FindLaw article did a good job talking about this: http://writ.news.findlaw.com/hamilton/20080612.html

Dwayne Walker said...

I understand that feeling, but if talk is so cheap why is it so difficult to get Messer, etc, to even address half the issues stated in that report?

All I can say is the bulk of my problems began to get solved upon the recognition of them. If recognition of your problems helps on an individual basis, I'm hoping that helps on a corporate level as well.

Even if the SBC decided to start a database, I think they would still be criticized. Either for not putting 'the right people' in charge, or probably having high standards for those who qualify for this list.

For instance, would the database include those who have been simply accused? Or only those who have gone through a full trial and have been found guilty? I have the scary thought that some want those who have been 'credibly accused' to be on this database, and that is something I'd disagree with.

If you remove the police and investigative authorities, anybody can be 'credibly accused'.

I'm not even sure I know what the term 'credibly accused' means. We trust some accusers more than we trust other accusers? Either way, it's easier to make unsubstantiated claims within the context of a religious organization moreso than it is to actually file a report with the police.

What exactly qualifies a person to be listed on this database? That's a question I'd like to see answered.

I already have a dim view of the integrity of religious organizations. I have seen exaggerations, and outright lies, from those claiming to be christians. If a SBC database allows those who have been accused, without the benefit of a court trial, to be listed, they open themselves up to lawsuits from those who have been falsely accused by opportunists.

And those opportunists are out there! I have experienced some of them, and their blatant lies and exaggerations, within the last two years! It's easy to accuse people within the context of a religious organization. Quite a different matter to take 'em to court!

Meggs said...

Great points made here. I still think more needs to be done... but I see exactly what you're saying.