SNAP Press Release: Baptists Need to Prepare for Clergy Sex Abuse and Coverup Lawsuits

http://www.snapnetwork.org/md_clergy_abuse_victims_to_leaflet_outside_big_baptist_meeting

  • Clergy abuse victims to leaflet outside big Baptist meeting 
  • They want independent review of clergy abuses & cover-ups 
  • And they warn more lawsuits will happen if officials don't act

WHAT

Holding signs and childhood photos, child sex abuse victims and their supporters will hand out fliers about child molesting clerics to church members attending the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting. The leaflets urge Baptists to:

  • insist that their church officials hire independent experts to review child sexual abuse scandals, and
  • immediately respond to child sexual abuse reports with openness and compassion.

The fliers also

  • warn that more victims will start suing Baptist officials unless the church hierarchy begins to take “real steps” to “expose those who commit and conceal clergy sex crimes,” and
  • encourage church members to ask their children or loved ones if they were molested by church workers or volunteers and, if so, call police and therapists immediately.

WHEN

Wednesday, June 11 at 11:45am- 1pm 

WHERE 

Outside the main entrance of the Baltimore Convention Center: One West Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

WHO  

4-6 Victims of child sex abuse who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the mom of a child sex abuse victim who is suing a Montgomery County-based ministry with ties to the Baptists. 

WHY 

Thousands of Baptists from across the U.S. are in Baltimore this week for their annual convention, and abuse victims want the church-goers to prod their denominational hierarchy to take child sex abuse cases more seriously. (Southern Baptists are the second largest religious group in the nation.) 

Twice in recent months, SNAP leaders wrote to Dr. Frank Page, head of the Southern Baptist Convention, asking to speak at this meeting, to help the SBC in shaping practices and policies that help prevent abuse and cover ups. SNAP also asked the SBC to hire and consult with an independent organization called GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) for an independent expert review of the scandal involving a convicted child sex offender and Baptist minister John Langworthy of Mississippi and Texas.  

http://www.wfaa.com/news/investigates/Disturbing-revelations-about-former-Prestonwood-minister-127284918.html 

"The Baptist officials’ response, and their historical response, to clergy sex abuse is and has been self-serving, secretive, and irresponsible" said Amy Smith of Dallas, SNAP leader. “If they would just let an independent group review even one of the many reported cases of cover-ups in the church, it might prod them and others to act more quickly, compassionately and effectively in other cases.” 

http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/congregations/item/8166-abuse-cover-up-alleged-at-sbc-mega-church

SNAP is also asking that an abuse database study, which was approved at the SBC’s 2007 annual meeting but never actually funded, be finally conducted. 

SNAP made some of these requests in April. 

http://www.snapnetwork.org/tn_victims_seek_apology_from_top_baptist_official 

Page replied almost five weeks later, rejecting all of them without explanation. 

SNAP also predicts that more clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuits will be filed against Baptist organizations as Baptists victims “get more bold, organized and disgusted at the legal maneuvers by Baptist officials.” The group cites what it calls a “groundbreaking legal victory” in Florida recently, in which jurors found the statewide Baptist organization responsible for child sex crimes committed by a Baptist preacher it had helped pay. 

http://www.scribd.com/doc/226498075/Frank-Page-Ltr-to-Clohessy-and-Smith-May-27-2014 

http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-01-21/news/os-florida-baptist-molest-verdict-20140120_1_florida-baptist-convention-myers-jury

http://abpnews.com/culture/social-issues/item/28266-lawyer-abuse-verdict-possible-game-changer

http://reform-network.net/?m=2012051 

One person at the news conference today is the mom of a girl who is suing Sovereign Grace Ministries in Montgomery County, Maryland, which has ties with the Baptists. 

http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/people/item/8503-sex-crimes-cover-up-alleged-in-lawsuit)

CONTACT 

Becky Ianni 703-801-6044 SNAPVirginia@cox.net

 David Clohessy 314-966-9790 SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Comments

SNAP Press Release: Baptists Need to Prepare for Clergy Sex Abuse and Coverup Lawsuits — 192 Comments

  1. The above comment not intended to say that MacArthur would be right if they were in a gay relationship, just an expression of disbelief at his ridiculous overreaction.

  2. Janey wrote:

    ==OFF TOPIC==
    Horrible video of John MacArthur who was recently asked by a reader how they should respond to an adult child who has acknowledged they are gay. His parenting advice?
    Alienate them.
    Separate them.
    Isolate them.
    Refuse to have a meal with them.
    Turn them over to Satan.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/john-macarthur-on-having-gay-children/
    + + + + +
    So basically do just what Jesus did, right, John?

    I know this continues down the “OFF TOPIC” trail, but that answer from John MacArthur is so deeply, deeply horrible. I don’t even know what to say….

    All I can think is that, on the basis of that video clip alone, John MacArthur would flunk with flying colors the basic membership questions for admission as a member (let alone minister!) into any PCA church with any spiritual pulse whatsoever. I had better shut up now before I….what a horrible, horrible understanding of God, His Word, people, life, being human, being alive, church life, the purpose of the church, etc. etc. etc….and yet prominent PCA pastors (like RC Sproul, Lig Duncan, etc.) hold this guy in the highest esteem and treat him like royalty at their conferences? Now I hate everything…..

  3. @ pcapastor:
    Cruel! I think Conservative Neo Evangelicals of Reformed ilk think so highly of MacArthur because he if a fundamentalist who embraced Reformed theology. I used to like him until I read this. It would be a pity if one of his children is gay or one or two of his grandchildren come out. Give them over to Satan? Is that an imprecatory prayer, otherwise known as a curse? Isn’t placing a curse on anyone a sin? I am certain MacArthur will have a Biblical excuse for being mean.

  4. @ pcapastor:
    There was not one bit of kindness offered to the person that was struggling. Not one bit of love or understanding. Just-get lost. I could never, ever do that to my child.

    I watched a family that I know do exactly what MacArthur recommended. And they lost their adult child. He has not spoken to them in years. He sees other family members but will not come near his parents. And the parents are dying. Their anger has isolated them from other family members as well. Now, they live a bleak existence-disliked by their extended family, never seeing their son and they are very, very sad. But, darn it. They did the “right” thing. They told that wayward son of theirs…

  5. This is the second encounter I’ve had this week regarding John McCarthur’s ideas. I have to say that I’m just plain disgusted. I listened to an episode of his teaching from this year’s T4G. It was about apostates. I’m pretty sure the teaching to pastors is that none’s are apostate and none believers. Maybe if you’re a believer but refuse to go to church you are still considered an apostate by these esteemed (cough) men. It irks me that they don’t even bother to know what none means to most nones.

    This was the session http://t4g.org/media/2014/03/mass-defection-the-great-physician-confronts-the-pathology-of-counterfeit-faith/

    I heard another pastor (at my first visit to his church) say that he was glad that nones are leaving the church because he at least knows who the ex-Christians are and that he can share the Gospel with them. I was sad to hear this and to realize how clueless many pastors are about people who considere themselves ‘nones’. This pastor was repeating what he had read in a magazine 🙄

  6. @ dee:

    “Now, they live a bleak existence-disliked by their extended family, never seeing their son and they are very, very sad. But, darn it. They did the “right” thing. They told that wayward son of theirs…”
    +++++++++++++

    amazing example of living one’s life on principle, uncompromising. but at the expense of people, and happiness.

    and then on one’s deathbed, one can have the satisfaction of knowing “I was true to my principles. I didn’t compromise.” I was miserable. Happiness was not my lot. but gosh darn, I didn’t compromise! (so very, very sad)

    This will not be me.

  7. I hope the SBC doesn’t pretend like sexual abuse within the church is a non issue this week. I know of three people int he past couple of years who were charged with sexual contact with a minor. One Baptist deacon was caught recently when the authorities baited him. He thought he had made contact with a 14 year old girl and made plans to meet her privately in order to have sex. It is rampant. It needs to be addressed and people who are victimizers need to have appropriate justice because unlike SGM’s belief, one can’t really come to repentance if their crimes are down played as not that big of a deal etc… Also some common sense wouldn’t kill anyone. A molester could be repentant but woul it be prudent to return them to the day care where they were working? These people are either stupid or naive.

  8. That MacArthur advice is unfrigginbelievable. Yet in some strange, sad way…. it IS believable 🙁 His advice is ungodly, unbiblical, unChristlike and detestable. And much like the other commenters, I am infuriated.

    End rant.

  9. Also, J MacArthur needs a ministry called Graceless to You. He refusal to look at the many facets of sexuality is ridiculous. He should really brush up on Martin Luther’s distinction between Law and Gospel but, I seem to remember that he called the Lutheran’s one of those false sacramental churches. When the final talley is done, only Calvinist are regenerate in the MacArthur paradigm. Thank goodness MacArthur happens to be a Calvinist because he would be in trouble! Actually, I need to make an amendment to my above statement. It’s not just Calvinist who are the only ones regenerate. It’s Calvinist’s who hold to a no alcohol, tobacco policy. They also believe in a 7 day creation, and of course they don’t believe anyone but Calvinist’s are elect. Now that I think of it that leaves very few people in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you are a Calvinist but don’t agree with Mr. MacArthur on most or all points, you too may be apostate. Ask John Piper how he felt afte the Strange Fire conference.

  10. Janey wrote:

    Horrible video of John MacArthur who was recently asked by a reader how they should respond to an adult child who has acknowledged they are gay. His parenting advice?

    Alienate them.

    Separate them.

    Isolate them.

    Refuse to have a meal with them.

    Turn them over to Satan.

    Well, we can tell he figures all HIS kids must be Straight…

  11. Janey wrote:

    Oh, and another way he’s not a typical Calvinist: He’s dispensationalist.

    Calvinist plus Dispy sounds like the worst possible combination.

  12. Robin wrote:

    When the final talley is done, only Calvinist are regenerate in the MacArthur paradigm. Thank goodness MacArthur happens to be a Calvinist because he would be in trouble!

    Who needs Christ when you have CALVIN?

    They also believe in a 7 day creation, and of course they don’t believe anyone but Calvinist’s are elect. Now that I think of it that leaves very few people in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

    All he needs is ONE. (Guess Who?)

  13. pcapastor wrote:

    I had better shut up now before I….what a horrible, horrible understanding of God, His Word, people, life, being human, being alive, church life, the purpose of the church, etc. etc. etc….

    Oh, he understands God perfectly — the God who Predestines Evil.

    In’shal’lah…

  14. ON TOPIC:

    Appreciation to SNAP for making the time and effort that goes into what they do.

    I hope you get more than hello’s and handshakes in Baltimore.

    if those sympathetic to your cause won’t wear a T-shirt, maybe they’d wear a lapel pin of some kind, with a ribbon of a specific color. Like this.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=ribbon+lapel+pin&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=FueXU6nLDJD2oATqyoG4Cg&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg&biw=1097&bih=534

    Does SNAP have an identifying color or logo?

  15. I think it's fantastic that you guys are protesting like this – I hope it hits home hard to those with power as well as encourages others who have been victimised to come forward.

    Despite all I know about church abuse cover-ups etc I still just CANNOT get my head around the fact that it is child abuse, the most horrific, heinous, outrageous sin that they cover up, rather than speeding tickets or maxed out credit cards. It's like icing dog s#!# (not to be delicate about it). Nothing in me truly gets why anyone, except an abuser, would ever ever try to minimise this sin.

    Big love to all you survivors – you will prevail.

  16. Standing on principle, shunning, cultural isolation… it would appear that the Neo-Reformed/Fundamentalist wing of the American church is aiming to be the neo-Amish of the 21st century… but with high technology, and minus the delicious organically-grown food.

  17. Baptist abusers and cover-up artists at least have good company:

    Bishop ‘Not Sure’ Child Molestation A Crime

    St. Louis Archbishop Carlson claims to be uncertain if he knew sexual abuse was a crime

    He seems to be in CYA mode, to reduce potential financial liability.

    How can churches come and tell everyone what they are doing wrong when they can’t even get the simplest, most clear-cut problems in their midst straight? I don’t think that abuse of minors is a difficult moral problem to recognise.

    So, bishops and pastors everywhere: when next you open your mouth in front of a microphone to condemn this group or that for their sins and for grave moral failure, please only do so after after you have explained why for you child abuse is not always easy to recognise as a criminal act.

  18. I also think this protest is the right thing to do – well done for standing up and doing the right thing. That takes courage, especially in a church environment where it would appear victims are considered to be nuisances. So go on, be a godly nuisance! God bless you.

  19. @ Gus:

    One of those articles cited is an opinion piece. The other is a news piece. I think the opinion piece misrepresents the deposition testimony reported in the news piece just a bit. I am not saying that the Bishop is right or wrong, but it appears from the news item that he has some memory issues, possible due to age and repeated surgeries for cancer. And there is substantial evidence that as people age, anesthesia can affect the memory and produce Alzheimer’s like symptoms for some time following.

    Please read these carefully. An old man with memory issues is a better explanation for the deposition testimony than anything else.

    We who take strong positions against religious leaders on the issue of the sexual abuse of children need to be careful not to appear callous and over-sensationalize a situation like this.

  20. Bridget wrote:

    I heard another pastor (at my first visit to his church) say that he was glad that nones are leaving the church because he at least knows who the ex-Christians are and that he can share the Gospel with them. I was sad to hear this and to realize how clueless many pastors are about people who considere themselves ‘nones’. This pastor was repeating what he had read in a magazine

    We have written extensively on the topic. WE estimate that 16 million of the “nones” are still faithful-they just have been stung by the church.

    Anyone who says you must be a member of a church to be “saved” is adding to the Gospel message. Not only that, I have a suspicion that many of those so called pastors are the one doing the abusing.

  21. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    they don’t believe anyone but Calvinist’s are elect

    They are stepping over a line. The question is this: If believing in Christ is not sufficient for salvation, then what Bible are they reading?

  22. May wrote:

    I also think this protest is the right thing to do – well done for standing up and doing the right thing. That takes courage, especially in a church environment where it would appear victims are considered to be nuisances. So go on, be a godly nuisance! God bless you.

    This comment needed to be repeated.

  23. An Attorney wrote:

    An old man with memory issues is a better explanation for the deposition testimony than anything else.

    I did not know that. Thank you.

  24. An Attorney wrote:

    We who take strong positions against religious leaders on the issue of the sexual abuse of children need to be careful not to appear callous and over-sensationalize a situation like this.

    ACK.

  25. Thank God for organizations like SNAP and sites like TWW that are willing to confront the neo-fundies over their total blindness to the existence of sexual predators in their midst and their appalling willingness to cover up the sexual crimes of their church leaders.

    It’s time for the SBC to quit hiding behind the skirts of individual church governance as an excuse for not getting involved. It is hypocritical in the extreme for the SBC to deny fellowship to a church that puts a woman in the pulpit or that acknowledges that gays can be Christian at the drop of a hat, but won’t do anything to churches that foster and cover up for sexual predators. The SBC’s cold, callous, and unfeeling treatment of victims of the sexual predation by leaders of IT’S OWN CHURCHES proves that the SBC has no love of neighbor and no moral compass and, therefore, cannot be considered as Christian any longer.

  26. Hester wrote:

    Just accepting that they’re of a gay orientation? Not even having a gay relationship/sex/etc.?

    Remember, this is HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY!

    And nothing disconnects every neuron above the brainstem like that one word.

  27. dee wrote:

    They are stepping over a line. The question is this: If believing in Christ is not sufficient for salvation, then what Bible are they reading?

    Again: Who needs the Bible when you have CALVIN’s Institutes?

  28. Sara wrote:

    That MacArthur advice is un….believable. Yet in some strange, sad way…. it IS believable His advice is ungodly, unbiblical, unChristlike and detestable

    I’m not so sure MacA. is so very wide of the mark. In the Corinthian church where a case of incest had occurred that might even have shocked the debauched Romans, Paul allowed for such a one to be handed over to Satan (see chapter 5). He later goes on to tell them not to associate with immoral men, not in this case the world, but those claiming to be fellow-believers. Do not even eat with such a one. The idea is to prevent the contamination of the church by ungodly behaviour, that is, to stop fellowship with those whose lives blatantly deny the faith they profess. They are to be avoided.

    I don’t see this as unloving, just very difficult to put into practice if you have been brought up not to upset people. And it needs consistent application, seasoned with wisdom.

    Now these instructions of Paul apply very closely to the issue at stake here. Those who have committed and/or aided abuse need some sort of disfellowshipping. They may well be those who “revile” believers who call them out on their sin (v 11 which NET translates as being ‘verbally abusive’). They could hardly complain at being handed over to Satan in view of the evil they have committed, and should certainly not join in with Christian fellowship and shared life, so often expressed in the form of a joint meal. There is no room for business as usual with this kind of believer. Being ‘nice’ to them will completely undercut any likelihood of genuine repentance.

    Paul expressly commands us to judge such people, those in the church rather than those outside it. He’s remarkably up to date, isn’t he! It’s just a pity so many churches have ignored this passage.

  29. Beakerj wrote:

    I still just CANNOT get my head around the fact that it is child abuse, the most horrific, heinous, outrageous sin that they cover up,….Nothing in me truly gets why anyone, except an abuser, would ever ever try to minimise this sin.

    Big love to all you survivors – you will prevail.

    I had to repeat your thoughts- they are mine exactly. It makes me think it must be pervasive throughout-otherwise why wouldn’t they be passionately exposing the truth and standing firmly for it never happening again? No one with a heartbeat could stand by and do nothing.

    I hope the protesters presence outside brings even more awareness than had they spoken inside. Shake it up.

  30. May wrote:

    I also think this protest is the right thing to do – well done for standing up and doing the right thing. That takes courage, especially in a church environment where it would appear victims are considered to be nuisances. So go on, be a godly nuisance! God bless you.

    Book idea: Rise of the Gnats

  31. On the other topic of JM advice for parents of kids “coming out”… I have to wonder seeing him there in his white startched shirt how much time he has ever spent with one of Gods creations struggling with the issue. If he has ever listened, really listened.

    On any given day, what we do to another person might be the difference between that person experiencing Christ-like love or the light going out for good.

  32. @ pcapastor:

    Oh – your last sentence “Now I hate everything…” I felt like laughing and crying at the same moment. I so relate.

    I’ve been thinking that’s exactly what darkness would want, no? Let’s not do it.

  33. Mark wrote:

    I am certain MacArthur will have a Biblical excuse for being mean.

    He’s being Godly(TM) — Omnipotent but NOT Benevolent, Willing evil on the goats, always eager to Punish.

  34. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Hester wrote:

    Just accepting that they’re of a gay orientation? Not even having a gay relationship/sex/etc.?

    Remember, this is HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY! HOMOSEXUALITY!

    And nothing disconnects every neuron above the brainstem like that one word.

    ROFL. Thanks. I needed to laugh.

    (I do have serious questions on the subject to ask this intelligent group- maybe in future when the topic is in a post.)

  35. Jackie wrote:

    On the other topic of JM advice for parents of kids “coming out”… I have to wonder seeing him there in his white startched shirt how much time he has ever spent with one of Gods creations struggling with the issue. If he has ever listened, really listened.

    On local Christian talk radio in the Eighties, there was this group called “Spatula Ministries” that specialized in ministering(?) to Christian parents who just had their kid out themselves. They said they got their name from “the first step: take a spatula and scrape the parents off the ceiling.”

  36. Jackie wrote:

    ROFL. Thanks. I needed to laugh.

    Jackie, anything SEXUAL(TM) makes people act crazy in general. Whether you’ve got an Altar Call in your past or not.

    And this particular from of S*E*X leads to a new level of CRAZY.

  37. OFF TOPIC (again, so sorry).

    What happened to GRACE’s investigation of sex abuse at BJU? Last thing I read about it wasn’t that they’d been re hired. Have the results been published yet?

  38. @ Janey:

    I don’t agree with homosexual behavior, but I don’t think it’s loving at all to alienate a family member who identifies as homosexual.

    My parents did not agree with my (hetero) sister’s penchant to have live-in boyfriends over the years, but they did not ostracize her over it. My sister knew their views on the subject, but they did not alienate her over her behavior (nor did I).

    I will be friends with just about anyone. About the only type of people I would have a very hard time being around and may refuse to associate with would be people who hurt elderly people, animals, and kids (such as people who sexually prey on children).

    I think MacArthur also has ignorant, unsympathetic views towards Christians who have depression and anxiety.

    A member of MacArthur’s church said he had to keep his depression and treatment of it (he was seeing a psychiatrist, I think) secret because of the church’s anti psychology/medication views.

    (You can read about that in the book “Why Do Christians Shoot Their Wounded?” on page 30 on Google Books)

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the same church and/or MacArthur are hypocrites, in that they probably permit Christians with broken arms to go to a doctor to get a cast, or be fine with a near sighted Christian getting eye glasses, or a Christian with a throbbing head to take aspirin. But the line is inexplicably drawn at emotionally hurting Christians getting mental health treatment.

  39. Jackie wrote:

    I do have serious questions on the subject to ask this intelligent group- maybe in future when the topic is in a post.

    I’m glad you’re waiting, since going off-topic is heavily frowned upon at TWW.

    In other news, it’s the Oslo Diamond League athletics tonight. And Brazil start the World Fitba’ against Croatia tomorrow.

  40. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Mark wrote:
    I am certain MacArthur will have a Biblical excuse for being mean.
    He’s being Godly(TM) — Omnipotent but NOT Benevolent, Willing evil on the goats, always eager to Punish.

    Macarthur must have bought into Gordon Clark’s argument that God is the author of evil. I found this argument shocking when I first read it and it shocks me still.

  41. (off topic)
    By Joanne Roddy, former Mars Hill member

    There were several things in this that caught my attention, but one part that jumped out to me (We Love Mars Hill) was this:

    First, there was a Sunday at the Earl Street building at which communion was withheld from the [Mars Hill] congregation because of a dip in giving (tithes and offerings).

    The tone of the service was grave and Mark [Driscoll, preacher of Mars Hill] made it clear that we did not deserve to come to the Lord’s table unless we were paying for it.

    “[We were told] we did not deserve to come to the Lord’s table unless we were paying for it” ??

    I thought one of the major points of Christianity is that Jesus paid for everything?

    I think of many Christian movies or shows I have seen where Jesus is depicted in contemporary times as a waiter or diner owner who literally pays for other people’s meals out of his own pocket.

  42. @ Bridget:

    I saw something similar to that the other day on a Christian site, but I cannot remember where.

    It was an article that was trying to define who the “nones” are. Whoever wrote it seemed to be defining “nones” to be false converts, atheist, pansy people who don’t love Jesus enough, or big jerks.

    It is my understanding that a lot of “nones” are people who do believe in Jesus, or are theistic in some sense at least, but are fed up with institutionalized, brick and mortar churches.

    They’re rejecting local churches and denominations as they are currently run, many of them are not God himself and/or not Jesus.

    So long as the big wigs keep wanting to stick their heads in the sand and deny who and what “nones” really are, it prohibits them from helping to fix the problems that are driving “nones” away from churches in the first place.(*)

    It’s often amazing to me how so many Christians, or at least the “big dogs” in Christianity (the famous preachers and such) are their own worst enemies. They’d rather complain about the problems than try to understand them or correct them.
    ———————————-
    (*) Free advice from me to these guys on what will not fix the problem in people/nones jumping ship:
    putting in coffee shops in churches, branding, contemporary logo design for their church, shallow sermons that are actually glib pep talks, big video monitors, and electric guitar rock bands.

  43. @ Daisy:

    “many of them are not God himself and/or not Jesus.”

    I meant, “many of them are not rejecting God himself and/or not Jesus.”

  44. I just saw this at the top of the blog’s page:

    “Pray for a woman who lost whose only child who was killed by a drunk driver.”

    My condolences to this lady. I will pray for her… which I hope is okay, even though I have doubts these days about the faith. But I do hope this lady finds peace eventually, amidst the pain of losing her child.

  45. dee wrote:

    I hope the SBC doesn’t pretend like sexual abuse within the church is a non issue this week.
    They will…

    I doubt they’ll listen to anyone until their insurance companies step up to the plate and require specific policies from churches/ conventions who want to be insured. From where I sit, the Baptist response looks like a simple power play. The convention bigwigs don’t like anyone trying to tell them what to do. But if the insurance companies get on board and require victim-friendly policies to be in place, they will have no choice but to comply. I hope someone who is more ‘in the know’ than I am will begin to contact insurance underwriters. They sure don’t want to be paying child abuse lawsuit awards.

  46. You know what probably happens…my mind is drawing a blank but that one Bible verse that deals with lawsuits and going before a judge, here’s what I think is occurring. The SBC and SGM thought that they could use and abuse that verse against their members. They have no plans of settling or doing what is right. Instead they hold that verse of scripture over them reminding not to go to court and to settle before court. The reality is neither the SBC nor SGM want to settle, have any plans to settle, or are going to settle. To work this out behind the scenes would take humility and none of these guys has the character to do the right thing. Thus they get smug thinking that a good Christian won’t sue or use the legal system. I think they are so full of themselves. A responsible Christian is active in government, respects it, and heeds it. And part of heeding to it is using the legal system to get justice. Its also clear that the SBC nor SGM haven’t learned from the entire Roman Catholic pedophilia scandal. That said, I think lawsuits could be helpful in forcing the SBC and SGM to know what humility means. Actually the only way I think CJ Mahaney will know what it means to be humble is when he is cleaning the toilets at 7-11 at minimum wage.

  47. Russell Moore on his web site has a recent article “What If Your Child Is Gay.” It is not an article which will please everybody, but it is better than MacArthur.

  48. I cannot stand John MacArthur. Even his stage or his “Graceless to You” ministry has the space to contain his ego. We have some pretty big egos addicted to power here in Washington, D.C. But I wonder if they would come close to what Mac says or believes.

    On top of that I find it strange that he would teach what he taught at Strange Fire only to sit in the company of one of the most infamous charismatics “Der Humble One” and his greatest defender “Her Piper” Is this a modern day fundagelcial version of “Three’s Company”

  49. I attended the convention. I was listening to the reports, including a really good presentation on religious freedom which included the wife of the currently imprisoned Iranian pastor and am now in a seminary luncheon. I was hoping to meet Amy.

    The convention has gone well. I did not see the issue about transgendered people come up. I missed some of the resolutions, so it may have come up then, but if it did I haven ‘t heard any buzz about it.

    I have not read the letters to Dr. Page or his response. As I recall, the Prestonwood church in Dallas played a big role in that and I hope that church will be held accountable if it is legally appropriate. Since SBC has no hierarchy the individual churches are the places to address this.

    I do not support a database, but I do support education and I believe LifeWay has some great resources.

  50. There is an interesting RNS report by Jonathan Merritt regarding this. If I understand the report, they did pass something concerning the transgender resolution. The information was scanty.

  51. Daisy wrote:

    “[We were told] we did not deserve to come to the Lord’s table unless we were paying for it” ??

    (ed.) I seriously hope this whole story is a lie. If it is even remotely true – holy crap. I would paint the whole project as false religion. Although ti occurs to me that if one has a non-sacramental understanding of the Lord’s Supper then this isn’t as big of a deal. But still.

  52. Nickname wrote:

    But if the insurance companies get on board and require victim-friendly policies to be in place, they will have no choice but to comply. I hope someone who is more ‘in the know’ than I am will begin to contact insurance underwriters.

    We just had our annual insurance walk-through, and they mentioned specifically three risk reduction practices that they expected to be in place:
    1) All sunday school rooms have windows
    2) Always two adults of opposite sex when watching kids
    3) WRITTEN abuse reporting SOIs.

    As far as I know the insurance companies have been pushing these things for at least the last five years. The low compliance rate is very concerning.

  53. I am disappointed to read the many comments against John MacAurthur. Not disappointed because he doesn’t deserve them, but rather the opposite. “Graceless to You” is sort of the perfect epithet. have been so discouraged in the last half decade or so to see the side of him that the internet brought out. Somebody once said, “You will know them by their fruit.” Well here’s the thing: there are a lot of men associated with Grace to You and MacAurthur, and not a single fruit of the Spirit to be found among them. Smug, arrogant, rude – basically the opposite of Paul’s description of love or the fruit of the Spirit. And then he has the gall to employ early 20th century rhetoric against charismatics (public speaking hint for Mr. MacAurthur: hardened and strident rhetoric no longer communicates resolve or determination; in today’s culture it communicates a general lack of knowledge or thoughtfulness) while sharing a platform with CJ and Piper and the other boys. The only conclusion any mindful person can come up with is that power and money are the most important things.

  54. totally off topic, but I am in need:

    anyone have any experience with the following trio:

    bladder spasms / constiptation / Parkinsons?

    my mom has been having birth contraction-like pain for weeks. We’re making progress slowly in understanding, and about possible treatment options (great urologist this past Monday, top neurologist/movement specialist next Monday, acupuncture the Monday after that).

    She’s 76, becoming very depressed and discouraged. So am I. We’re feeling desperate. The problem of evil is a real bugger.

    Jesus, you can heal…. why don’t you??? you better not be using her pain as an object lesson for anyone (I don’t think you are). she doesn’t need any life lessons at this point. i know you are full of compassion.

    but, dang….

  55. Jackie wrote:

    On the other topic of JM advice for parents of kids “coming out”… I have to wonder seeing him there in his white startched shirt how much time he has ever spent with one of Gods creations struggling with the issue. If he has ever listened, really listened.

    Dollars to donuts that he hasn’t ever, or at least not for a very, very long time. I’ve had considerable experience with MacArthur acolytes and let’s just say that real listening isn’t their strong suit. When you truly believe that your group is right on every point and has everything figured out, the incentive to listen or empathize disappears pretty fast.

  56. Nancy wrote:

    Russell Moore on his web site has a recent article “What If Your Child Is Gay.” It is not an article which will please everybody, but it is better than MacArthur.

    Thanks for this Nancy. A more thoughtful searching article.

  57. @ dee:

    These guys fling around the “homosexual” label and do not define what they mean.

    Oh yes. I know this all too well from experience. I’m now a complete stickler for not using the phrase “homosexuality” without definitions and explanations of EXACTLY what you mean. If the person can’t do that or doesn’t know what that means, they’re probably not ready to talk about it.

    Strictly speaking, “homosexuality” is an orientation. It’s funny to me when people use it to refer to sex acts, because they’d never look at a drunken hookup party and exclaim, “Look at all the heterosexuality!” 🙂

  58. Amy Smith wrote:

    Washington Times story on our SNAP event!

    One problem is, Clergy Sexual Abuse” has come to mean CATHOLIC in both the media and the popular mind. NOT Baptist, NOT Fundagelical, NOT IFB, NOT SGM, only CATHOLIC.

    I am sure the Schaaps, Phillips ESQUIREs, and Cee Jays have been pointing fingers and crowing at that Romish Papist Whore of Babylon and their Pedophile Priests while shielding their own Molestors. “I THANK THEE, LOORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THOSE CATHOLIC PRIESTS OVER THERE!”

    SNAP has to change that perception; Clergy Sex Abuse crosses ALL denominations and even all religions, and narrowing it down to Catholics is VERY convenient for non-Catholic pedos and their enablers.

  59. No offense Amy but since I live in the Washington, D.C. area I avoid the Washington Times due to its links to the Unification Church of the Late Reverend Moon. The Washington Post has reported on that in the past.

    That said I hope you guys kick some butt and get a centralized database implemented in the SBC so another child is not harmed. This shouldn’t even be an issue, it’s common sense, and the SBC and its supporters should be ashamed that the outside world has more tenacity and ethics on this issue than the church.

  60. Eagle wrote:

    On top of that I find it strange that he would teach what he taught at Strange Fire only to sit in the company of one of the most infamous charismatics “Der Humble One” and his greatest defender “Her Piper”

    More like “Ballad of the Battle of Gibeon” than “Three’s Company”:

    “These five Kings said one to another:
    ‘King unto King o’er the world is Brother’…”

  61. Daisy wrote:

    The tone of the service was grave and Mark [Driscoll, preacher of Mars Hill] made it clear that we did not deserve to come to the Lord’s table unless we were paying for it.

    I am pretty sure I would go to jail if I ever heard this at a “Christian” church service.

  62. Hester wrote:

    @ dee:
    These guys fling around the “homosexual” label and do not define what they mean.

    Because the very mention of the word (“HOMOSEXUAL”) not only disconnects every neuron above the Christianese reptile brain but waves a Bright Red Murder Flag in front of what’s left. Total Berserkergang — “WAAAAAAUGH! DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA!”

  63. @ Anonymous:

    I would be fascinated to know why you do not support a centralized database? To me that makes no sense at all. I would think this could be one area that the SBC could lead in. Many county, state, and federal jurisdictions have databases I believe. What happened to the Boy Scouts and the Roman Catholic church is awaiting the SBC. Or does the SBC need to be sued into bankruptcy to the point where it no longer exists?

    If a person was involved in abusing a person at one church how do you propose they do not flee or find employment in another SBC church across stateliness? Don’t you think a centralized database would help lower your insurance costs?

  64. Eagle:

    Thanks for your question.

    The main reason I do not support a database is that given the SBC structure and context, a database would not be efficacious and would actually be a false promise to those who would seek to rely on it.

    The SBC is really just a large bucket for centralizing contributions. Churches who want to may contribute money with other churches to fund missions and education.

    Messengers from the contributing churches meet once a year to approve a budget on how to spend the money and the money is sent to the missions agencies and the seminaries. The agencies and seminaries then spend the money they get by the direction of their own trustees. The messengers at the SBC also approve the trustees that are nominated to lead the agencies.

    The SBC does not start churches, oversee churches or discipline churches. The SBC cannot tell a church what to do or really get anything from the church that it does not want to provide.

    There are 46,000 churches that contributed to the SBC last year. Each one of those churches is completely independent and can do what it wants.

    So for the SBC to start a database and to say to people that it will be collecting data on sexual abusers, when whether the thing will even work will depend on whether the 46,000 churches decide to report in the first place, gives a picture of false hope to people. I do not want to do that. I would rather the SBC not engage in projects which look great but are fraught with problems.

    If the SBC were organized like the Catholic Church or other denominations with a hierarchy, it would have the authority to order churches to do things or to defrock ministers etc. The SBC has no such authority.

    In the Prestonwood case, for example, neither the church nor the parents of the abused students wanted to report the matter to the police or anyone outside the church.

    If the SBC had a database, the molester at Prestonwood would have still been undetected.

    I am strongly opposed to church grandstanding. If the SBC were to adopt a database it would be the worst kind of grandstanding. Doing something to look good, but without the tools to really make it work.

  65. I doubt they’ll listen to anyone until their insurance companies step up to the plate and require specific policies from churches/ conventions who want to be insured.

    This has been the case for quite some time. Our church’s insurer required a statement that we had child protection policies or they would not insure against abuse. Also, I know of no level in SBC above an individual church that does not have very strong child protection policies and that promotes the same to pastors and churches.

    While the SBC at levels above the autonomous local church may well need to prepare for lawsuits, it is still the case that only local congregations hire, supervise, and fire church staff. SNAP and SBP have done immense work in addressing this and I appreciate that.

  66. John wrote:

    I’ve had considerable experience with MacArthur acolytes and let’s just say that real listening isn’t their strong suit.

    Well said. I’ve experienced the same thing. They actively and rudely cut you off once they realize you don’t agree with them. You cannot *express* your view at all, even if it is one of the historical views that Christians have embraced for hundreds of years. That’s a major factor in why I left my old church.

  67. Does anyone know….does the Evangelical Free Church of America or the Assembly of God denomination have a centralized database? How does the EFCA or AOG deal with this topic? Can anyone chime in?

  68. Eagle:

    Another reason that I donor support an SBC database is that I do not have faith in the competence of ministers to investigate and properly compile accurate records of criminal activity.

    Ministers are good at ministry. They are lousy at business and even lousier at criminal or semi criminal investigation.

    If matters are reported, they will be reported to police. And I have greater faith in law enforcement and the courts to keep good and accurate records.

    The are sexual registries run by many law enforcement agencies in the country. I believe it would be better to rely on professionals who run those than a bunch of preachers like CJ Mahaney.

    Also, the descriptions of what would go on the database varies. To be certain – convictions would go on. Beyond that, what would go on the list? I have seen the term “credible allegations” used. Credible by whose standards? Since the SBC can ‘t investigate, how would that determination be made?

    So competence is another concern.

  69. Eagle:

    The final reason I do not support an SBC database is the reason the SBC exists in the first place.

    The only reason the SBC exists is for missions. It is not for ecclesiastical control or organization.

    Our church contributes to the SBC only because we want to work with other churches to do missions work and theological education.

    If these purposes were jeopardized, we would not want to be giving money to the SBC.

    The SBC receives contributions from churches with the promise that those contributions will be protected and forwarded to the missions groups and other institutions for missionary purposes.

    By sticking to it’s limited mission, the contributions are safe. If the SBC starts taking on duties of investigating and maintains databases, it places our church ‘s mission contributions in jeopardy in the event of a mistake. Either by failing to include someone on the list who should be included or by including someone on the list who should not be there.

    Our church would not want our contributions for missions tied up and siphoned off to pay legal fees or judgements for negligence for failing to properly run a database.

    The foreign missions agency has 5,000 full time missionaries on the field across the world. I want those missionaries and their families to be safe and well cared for. I do not want money that is supposed to go to them to end up paying legal fees and judgments.

    I hope this explains my thinking to you.

    I believe most people in the SBC agree such there is really no chance of the SBC ever adopting a database idea.

    Though I do believe that the educational efforts are improving the way churches treat this.

  70. John wrote:

    I’ve had considerable experience with MacArthur acolytes and let’s just say that real listening isn’t their strong suit.

    Which isn’t surprising (and I’m not suggesting there that you find it surprising either, John!). Once you’ve made a Decision for Paul, or a Decision for Apollos, or a Decision for Cephas, or a Decision for MacArthur, or for Pastormark, or Calvin, or anybody else, then you’re cheering for a team or a political party. That kind of cheerleading rarely fails to subtract from the sum of human knowledge…

  71. Daisy wrote:

    (*) Free advice from me to these guys on what will not fix the problem in people/nones jumping ship:
    putting in coffee shops in churches, branding, contemporary logo design for their church, shallow sermons that are actually glib pep talks, big video monitors, and electric guitar rock bands.

    I agree with this.

  72. In other news, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission successfully completed its second course correction manoeuvre today. It remains on schedule to enter orbit around Mars on 24th September.

    Today’s course correction was originally scheduled for April but was postponed at that time as it was deemed unnecessary. Even today, the spacecraft’s velocity changed by only a few centimetres per second. Getting to Mars is rocket science, though.

  73. Has the SBC ever thought of outsourcing the idea of a database to another company or non-profit? I mean here in Washignton, D.C. there are contractors that work with the FBI, DOD, etc… Some of these contractors have been involved in the wars of Iraq or Afghanistan in building or re-buuilding the respective government. Has the SBC contemplated hiring an outside company, or a non-profit for that manner that could build and run a database for the entire denomination.

    My previous question still stands…what do other denominations do? According to my research there is 1,480 Evangelcial Free Churchs in the United States and 12,595 Assembly of God congregations as well. How do those or other churhces handle this issue?

  74. Bridget wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    (*) Free advice from me to these guys on what will not fix the problem in people/nones jumping ship:
    putting in coffee shops in churches, branding, contemporary logo design for their church, shallow sermons that are actually glib pep talks, big video monitors, and electric guitar rock bands.
    I agree with this.

    I, too.

    If I might beg leave to add another to an already splendid list:

    When you preach the gospel, first make sure you’re not bluffing.

  75. Eagle wrote:

    My previous question still stands…what do other denominations do?

    Here in Blighty it’s simpler, in the sense that it is covered by legislation and the database is maintained by the government in conjunction with the judicial system and the police. Of course, that still isn’t foolproof for a variety of reasons. But we only have three states in this context, not fifty, and even those three aren’t legally independent.

  76. @ Anonymous:

    In the Prestonwood case, for example, neither the church nor the parents of the abused students wanted to report the matter to the police or anyone outside the church.

    Um, funny how you presume to know what happened at Prestonwood. But you are COMPLETELY WRONG.

    I know for a fact because these were some of my friends who were abused and I’ve since talked to them and their parents. One victim of Langworthy told a youth pastor who did not inform the boy’s parents and arranged counseling without parental consent. The mom found out about the abuse when the counseling center called asking to speak to her son. This was a few months AFTER Jack Graham fired Langworthy who was already back in MS teaching music at an elementary school. These parents were ready to go to the police but got scared after they received an intimidating call from a Prestonwood deacon, my dad.

    Another victim had never told anyone, not even his parents (who still attend Prestonwood) until late 2012 after he saw news reports of the upcoming trial in MS. He and the other victim mentioned above both have come forward to Dallas and Plano police in the last year.

  77. @ Anonymous:

    Two questions…

    1. So nothing that happened at Prestonwood could have been entered into any such database? Without any accountability you have a receipe for corruption. So not even any incidents at Prestonwood at all? Even reporting the Senior Pastor failed to follow the law, etc..? You been watching the news? Have you seen the heads roll with Martha Johnson resigning from the General Services Administration for the scandal at the GSA or Eric Shinseki resigning from the VA for what happened in the VA in Phoenix? Can you tell me why the world has stronger ethics, more integrity, and accountability than the SBC?

    2. You also said that you meet to vote on a budget and approve funds. What if I was a member of the SBC and I didn’t want my tithes to support CJ Mahaney’s trips to Disneyworld? Since when is the “Magic Kingdom” ever a part of expanding the “Lord’s Kingdom?” How could I keep my money from suporting the messes at SBTS?

  78. @ Eagle:

    Anonymous has explained it well. The appeal in the case in Florida hinges on just who was the actual employer of the clerical abuser. Now SNAP seems to be wanting to demolish the SBC system according to the article which I just googled. This gets interesting, and perhaps SBC can be destroyed. But notice what anonymous said about his church changing its relative position with SBC to protect missions money. Lots of churches have already bailed out of SBC, and IMO there would be hoards more, because now (unlike in my childhood) there are good alternative options for funding missions. I do not think that there is a snowball’s chance that the baptists are going to give up the autonomy of the local church. They will give up the convention first. What with the advent of masses of mega churches, it would be easy for local churches to co-alesce in one way or another and be quite capable of doing whatever they formerly needed the convention to do for them. This autonomy thing is a deal breaker for lots of folks. They do not believe that central authority like denominations have is biblical. They feel duty bound to not do that.

    IMO, for the churches to strike out on their own might well be the salvation of baptist faith and practice. But that is another topic.

  79. The database sought would include convicted perps, those who have confessed, and also those with “credible reports” of abuse. The SBC already offers links to some of the several existing databases. Determining the credibility of reports where there is no conviction or confession is the difficulty. An independent group is proposed for this task, although no SBC entity has the power to compel the cooperation of any church for such investigation.

    It’s easy to imagine the result from such an arrangement, ministers falsely reported who are judged guilty by the independent group and ministers who are exonerated who later are found guilty of abuse triggering liability for failure in the first instance.

    I recognize the problem of ministers moving from church to church, repeating abuse. I do not know an easy, much less an effective solution. If would help for leadership to be more vocal and less inclined to close ranks in high profile cases.

  80. William wrote:

    I recognize the problem of ministers moving from church to church, repeating abuse. I do not know an easy, much less an effective solution. If would help for leadership to be more vocal and less inclined to close ranks in high profile cases.

    And they do not and will not until, unfortunately, they get their pants sued off of them. That is what it took for the Catholic church to look at the problem.

    It is a travesty that there is no outrage amongst the followers of the leaders. I think the decline in the SBC, including fewer and fewer people traveling to the annual meeting is an indication that priorities are being ignored.

    Also, think of it this way- you are concerned about a couple of people being found guilty who are innocent. Think of the the thousands who have been abused in the churches.

  81. One reason profitable discussions are difficult here is that it is virtually impossible to explore ramifications of review boards assessment of ‘credible’ reports without being slapped for not being concerned about victims. As much as I respect the blog queens here (there is scarcely a syllable they write which I do not read), I don’t think either can assess my state-of-mind, a necessary ability if I am to be judged for lack of concern.

  82. @ Anonymous:

    I agree with Eagle. Why do you think a data base is a bad idea? OK, so here is part of why I can’t be a Southern Baptist anymore. When my first husband divorced me I went to live with my parents. I eventually joined their SBC church (my Dad had retired from active ministry). I lived in this community while getting my college degree so I could support my children. One evening during a business meeting a letter from another church was presented. They wanted a reference on this pastor they were considering for the pulpit. Most of the members there knew that the former pastor had been in prison for sexually abusing a child. They were discussing whether they should reveal this to the church that was considering hiring him. I couldn’t believe they were having this conversation and might keep this information from the other church. I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. Anyway, after that and other issues I decided I could never be part of SBC church again. In fact, I am currently one of the nones who would love to find a church.

    A SBC national data base would have made that a non-issue. The church could have checked the data base and would never have considered hiring this person.

  83. By the way, I think there should be some sort of all church/denomination data base. All pastors who have been convicted sexual abuse, domestic violence, pastoral abuse, etc would be in the data base. G.R.A.C.E., SNAP, and other organizations could get the ball rolling. I would definitely “tithe” to get this started since I don’t currently give any money to a church.

  84. Eagle wrote:

    Have you seen the heads roll with Martha Johnson resigning from the General Services Administration for the scandal at the GSA or Eric Shinseki resigning from the VA for what happened in the VA in Phoenix? Can you tell me why the world has stronger ethics, more integrity, and accountability than the SBC?

    They don’t (have better ethics, integrity and accountability) these just happened to get caught. Now, I never worked for a church in my life, and they may all be cesspools of corruption and such, I have no way of knowing. But I worked for 50 years in the secular sector including 15 years for a branch of the federal government and if there was any overwhelming awesomeness I failed to identify it. And my-son-the-part-time-JAG deals with soldiers who “are not angels” he says. And goodness knows the tales I hear from my-daughter-the-high-school-teacher about how schools function and how teen agers live. So, were is all this accountability and integrity and ethical wonderfulness? And how did I miss it?

  85. I meant to include anybody who used the the church as a cover to abuse others especially those convicted of a crime. This should not just be pastors who are on this data base. Don’t know how this would work without violating separation of church and state but there has to be a way.

  86. The pastor/perp would already be in a database because of his conviction. The SBC links national databases. An SBC-specific database would be redundant. I have no objection to a database of convicted and confessed perps but it would be no more thorough than existing ones. The key word in your example of the appalling incident is “could,” the church could have checked an SBC database if they had. Chances are if they already knew and chose not to act, they would not have.

  87. Here is something I don’t understand. Why a separate database for clergy? When you run a good background check on anyone, which can include fingerprints, EVERYTHING a person has been convicted of, including speeding tickets, shows up on their records. Every employer that hires people to work anywhere around children should be getting background checks done. If a church isn’t already doing this, they’re not going to care about a clergy database.

    I am more in agreement with Anonymous and William on this. Besides, would you have to rely on church leadership to report the issues? They’re not turning in abusers to the police now? Why trust them with a database? Would you be risking lawsuits if the people had never been convicted of anything, yet their name is on an abuse database?

    All abuse needs to be vetted through the government authorities so that convictions can be obtained where appropriate, and the results recorded on individuals records.

    Of course, if their were other issues with person, the information should be passed on to future possible employers. That is called a reference check. All employers complete these processes. Why would you not complete the same processes for anyone working in a church, including the pastor?

  88. William wrote:

    As much as I respect the blog queens here (there is scarcely a syllable they write which I do not read), I don’t think either can assess my state-of-mind, a necessary ability if I am to be judged for lack of concern.

    I have not judged your concern or lack of concern. I have no idea what that might be. There is a very nice man who posts here who does not support the child sex abuse database in the SBC. I fully understand his reasons. I disagree with his conclusions (we’ve been at this debate for 2 years.)

    However, I know he cares about child sex abuse and I look at him as a friend. (He knows who he is and I am hoping he is reading.) He is very involved in the SBC and cares greatly for the Convention.

    I will always advocate for more monitoring. That is not meant as a judgement on you. However, what in the world is going on in the SBC that allows this to continue? And where are the brave individuals within the SBC who are confronting the leaders on this matter?

    http://stopbaptistpredators.org/collusion_individuals.html

    I know someone who is in an SBC church. When confronted by a blatant mishandling of a pedophile situation in her church, she said “God has not called me to be concerned about this situation!” How many people out there feel the same way?

  89. @ dee: @ William:

    PS I said this in the previous comment
    “Also, think of it this way- you are concerned about a couple of people being found guilty who are innocent.”

    This was not meant as a dig at you. Believe it or not, I was thinking about Spock’s line from The Wrath of Khan “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.” But, I decided that was poor hermeneutics. I apologize if it appeared that I was saying that you were not concerned. That isn’t what I meant. You seem like a very nice person! Sometimes, there are all sorts of threads running through my mind-a sort of ADD of commenting.

    Here is what I meant to say.

    I wonder how we can do this perfectly? There are so many cases of children being harmed. There are few people being unfairly accused. There are stats that seem to indicate that less than 5% of accusations of child molestation are untrue and most of those are found in contentious divorce proceedings.

  90. Eagle wrote:

    The Washington Post has reported on that in the past.

    I’d be careful with WaPo as well.

    As of late, Washington Post have published eds by 1.) George Will, who wrote that being a rape victim is a “status symbol,” among college women, and 2.) two other right wing, pro family guys who say that if women do not want to be abused, all they need to do is get married. (I am right wing too and would not classify myself as “anti family,” but I do not agree with their views on this stuff.)

    Someone wrote this in response to 2.):
    Marriage Will Not Save Women From Male Violence

  91. Thanks for the explanation. I don’t know that perfection is attainable but I am willing to support whatever measures are effective. I don’t see that an SBC database would be more effective. I suspect that any church planting sponsorships or endorsements are already tightened due to the FL lawsuit and decision. When you get down to the individual church, almost 50k of them, if the pastor or others are not persuaded or educated no one can force them to take proper measures or respond appropriately.

    I doubt that SNAP or others will ever get on an SBC annual meeting program but I would love to see one of the victims be invited to leave the sidewalk, come inside and tell her story at the SBC pastors’ conference.

  92. @ HUG:

    One problem is, Clergy Sexual Abuse” has come to mean CATHOLIC in both the media and the popular mind. NOT Baptist, NOT Fundagelical, NOT IFB, NOT SGM, only CATHOLIC.

    Yup. A guy at my dad’s work told him to his face, basically in these exact words, that there’s only pedophiles and child sex abuse in the Catholic church.

  93. Hester wrote:

    @ HUG:
    One problem is, Clergy Sexual Abuse” has come to mean CATHOLIC in both the media and the popular mind. NOT Baptist, NOT Fundagelical, NOT IFB, NOT SGM, only CATHOLIC.
    Yup. A guy at my dad’s work told him to his face, basically in these exact words, that there’s only pedophiles and child sex abuse in the Catholic church.

    My response – What rock and is that guy living under???

  94. Bridget wrote:

    Why a separate database for clergy? When you run a good background check on anyone, which can include fingerprints

    Bridget wrote:

    Besides, would you have to rely on church leadership to report the issues?

    This is a great question. Here is the problem. You have read about the various missions groups which have gone through terrible revelations in recent years of pedophiles at boarding schools, etc.

    These folks come back to the US and are not tried in the US because it occurred in a foreign country. We posted a story on one doctor who was abusing kids for years.

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2012/07/04/an-unholy-and-despicable-coverup-of-pedophilia-by-the-association-of-baptists-for-world-evangelism/

    Here is a quote from that post.

    WHY ARE THERE NO POLICIES IN PLACE THAT FORCE MISSIONS GROUPS TO REPORT TO US AUTHORITIES WHEN AN ABUSER IS SENT HOME TO THE STATES?

  95. William wrote:

    I would love to see one of the victims be invited to leave the sidewalk, come inside and tell her story at the SBC pastors’ conference.

    From your lips to the ears of the SBC leaders.

  96. Amy:

    Thank you for the additional details and correcting what I said.

    But my point for purposes of this discussion was that none of this was reported.

    That’s my point.

    Any SBC database would be based on reporting. Lack of cooperation on reporting means not a very good database.

  97. @ Bridget:

    The problem is that many churches just fire the perp and he leaves and goes somewhere else to do it to some kid in another church. The church blocks any prosecution by not reporting it to the PD.

  98. @ An Attorney:

    And the first church should be drained of all of the assets and the persons who made the decision at that church should find themselves with a judgment that will leave them as poor as the church mouse. Why? Because their failure to do the right thing resulted in some kid in another church being abused. They will not belong in heaven — but in hell with the abuser they let get away. Sorry but it really burns me when an abuser is let to go away to abuse again.

  99. Nick:

    I support your idea of a database funded and organized by any private group that would like to start one. SNAP or whomever.

    That would keep the responsibility in the hands of the people who run the database.

    Of course it would only be as good as the information provided.

    Any church of any stripe could report people.

    That would keep ministers from changing denominations to avoid a denomination specific database.

  100. Eagle:

    I am not following your reference to the VA. That is a governmental agency with top down control.

    A church pastor could empty the church ‘s bank accounts and fun off with a 12 year old in the church tomorrow, but the SBC could do nothing about it and the SBC would have no responsibility for it.

  101. An attorney:

    You are right. Reporting by the church is the key.

    And churches that don’t report – it’s just awful.

  102. @ Hester:
    Like this guy:
    Scott Esk is a conservative Republican running for a seat in the Oklahoma state Legislature, and he says he wants to apply Biblical principles to Oklahoma law. He also thinks that gay people should be put to death by stoning. And he isn’t doing much to hide the fact that he believes gay people deserve to be murdered, either.

  103. The longer the SBC stalls in dealing with this sexual predator and pedophilia issue the larger will be the lawsuit claims and siphoning of those beloved Cooperative Program mission dollars.

  104. Anonymous wrote:

    The SBC does not start churches, oversee churches or discipline churches. The SBC cannot tell a church what to do or really get anything from the church that it does not want to provide.
    There are 46,000 churches that contributed to the SBC last year. Each one of those churches is completely independent and can do what it wants.

    It would seem from your comment that you are not terribly familiar with how the SBC actually works. A great many SBC churches are NAMB plants, etc., and others utilize money from the cooperative. I can tell you a host of stories regarding how various SBC monies affected the administration of local churches. I don’t understand why you think the SBC can’t regulate child molesters in churches, when they have already given churches the boot for calling female ministers. I suspect you may need to do a bit more research on this.

  105. Eagle wrote:

    According to my research there is 1,480 Evangelcial Free Churchs in the United States and 12,595 Assembly of God congregations as well. How do those or other churhces handle this issue?

    I don’t know about these specific denominations, but the Episcopals have a very stringent ordination process that includes all these things. Unfortunately, the structure of the SBC as the “non-denom denom” makes whatever they do reactionary. The Baptist church across the street could hire Jack the Ripper tomorrow, and the only recourse for the SBC would be to give them the boot. This sometimes excludes those plants that receive funding, and churches that use the CEF for loans, since money often comes with strings.

  106. I guess women in authority are more offensive that pedophiles and sexual predators. Paige Patterson who believes women should be submissive supported Darrell Gilyard while giving that female professor the boot.

  107. It’s not just child sex abusers that get off scot-free because of Southern Baptist unwillingness to keep a database. Texas Baptist church pastor Matt Baker killed his wife Kari, but he’d been abusing his way through Baylor and churches for *years* and nothing was done.

    http://stopbaptistpredators.blogspot.com/2010/01/it-shouldnt-take-murder.html

    Except that Kari’s family was unbelievably persistent, this murderer might still be walking free.

  108. dee wrote:

    So, what you recommend they do with their missionary pedophiles who come back to the US?

    The missionaries were in some way “employees” of the SBC or whoever sent them. This is very different than the relationship of the SBC to the individual churches.

  109. Anonymous wrote:

    Any SBC database would be based on reporting. Lack of cooperation on reporting means not a very good database.

    I’m not sure that’s a good reason. A lot of people, when they see or hear a wife being abused by her husband do not report it or get involved, either, does that mean people should not study domestic violence, keep stats on it, or report it when they do know of it?

    I’ve also read news stories over the years of young girls being sexually assaulted in public while eyewitnesses stood around and did nothing. Just because some people are unwilling to report is not a good reason to say nobody should even try.

  110. An Attorney wrote:

    The problem is that many churches just fire the perp and he leaves and goes somewhere else to do it to some kid in another church. The church blocks any prosecution by not reporting it to the PD.

    Isn’t that what got all those Catholic bishops in so much trouble? (Except they just transferred them around instead of firing them.)

  111. Daisy wrote:

    I am right wing too and would not classify myself as “anti family,” but I do not agree with their views on this stuff

    Yeah, but that’s because – unlike some – you DO have a heart and you DO use your brain.

  112. Hester wrote:

    @ HUG:

    One problem is, Clergy Sexual Abuse” has come to mean CATHOLIC in both the media and the popular mind. NOT Baptist, NOT Fundagelical, NOT IFB, NOT SGM, only CATHOLIC.

    Yup. A guy at my dad’s work told him to his face, basically in these exact words, that there’s only pedophiles and child sex abuse in the Catholic church.

    Oh, it gets better. Here’s some gems of great humor from local drive-time radio over the years (cue laugh track):

    “You know the reason the Pope’s against birth control? So there’s more altarboys for the priests to molest.”

    “John Paul II — Patron Saint of Child Molesters.”

    And appending “-pedophile” to every Church title: Father-pedophile, Bishop-pedophile, Cardinal-pedophile, Pedophile-in-Chief (the Pope), etc.

  113. @ Anonymous:

    “An attorney:

    You are right. Reporting by the church is the key.

    And churches that don’t report – it’s just awful.”
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    “just awful”? how awful? worthy of being expelled? worthy of leader being reported to police?

  114. Jeannette Altes wrote:

    Nick Bulbeck wrote:
    When you preach the gospel, first make sure you’re not bluffing.
    Yes. May I add this quote to the sidebar of my blog?

    Certaintly! Feel free to word it more snappily – I’m not convinced it’s quite there yet.

    A different angle on it is: All loveless preachers are false preachers.

  115. NC Now wrote:

    The missionaries were in some way “employees” of the SBC or whoever sent them. This is very different than the relationship of the SBC to the individual churches.

    Precisely. The fact is, like it or not, a church can simply walk away from SBC at will, and SBC can decide to have nothing to do with some local church at it’s (SBC’s) discretion, and nothing need change about how or what that church does. Dr. Fundy has mentioned about money. Sure, there is money, always, because the churches voluntarily sent money to SBC for their projects, and SBC spends that money in certain ways, be it missions (that is the biggie) or whatever. When various agencies of SBC hire somebody they become that person’s employer. That is an entirely different thing from the relationship between SBC and pastors of local churches. SBC does not ordain people and cannot revoke any ordination. SBC does not own the buildings or properties of the local church. SBC cannot control who the church calls as pastor. All that either the church or the SBC can do, in it’s relationship with each other, is say “I am not going to play with you any more. I am going to take my ball/dolls (money) and go home.” Both SBC and the local church just then go on their merry way and nothing much at all has changed.

    For example, in my town there are several relatively big and obviously successful baptist churches with varying relationships with SBC. The multi-campus mega is, as far as I can see, in relationship only with SBC for missions. The more liberal but also large and prosperous church B is totally not having anything to do with SBC. (I am not talking IFB here. I am saying some traditionally southern baptist churches are not affiliated with SBC.) There is also an in-between formerly totally SBC church, also large and prosperous, that lets the people select to which organization they want their missions donations to go. This latter church, the one who lets people select how to designate their mission funds, has had a female ordained minister on staff, ordained by a different denomination, as well as female deacons. SBC could say the won’t accept any more money from them, or they could just take the money and move on, but nothing they can do about staffing. In all these cases, everybody knows that these churches are traditionally southern baptist, with or without actual involvement with SBC.

    What I am saying is that baptist churches have options. When people talk about wanting SBC to have more authority over the churches, there are two issues involved. In the case of the central data base with its attendant duty to collect and report data, some folks hear “let’s protect the children.” Other folks hear “religious liberty is at risk. They are trying to take our freedoms/options from us.”

    Here is what I do not understand. Why would SNAP or anybody care one way or the other about how baptists set up their systems? There is a system, it is called the local church. Now if lawsuits are in the offing, as surely they seem to be, it would take a lot more effort and money to sue each offending church. It would be a bigger job. And if somebody is looking for deep pockets, then the larger the “institution” the better. But other than that, why bother to care how SBC functions? If the issue is really only stopping child abuse, why not play the system and get it done? Why try to systemically change the system? It looks like SNAP et al would defeat themselves by dismantling the system entirely because there would be nobody comparable to the catholic system to sue. Especially since then they would have to try to take down all the other similarly organized baptist systems, of which there are a plentitude, since baptist churches can, do, have been doing and would be inclined to simply move affiliations and missions monies elsewhere and keep on keeping on.

  116. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

    Many dioceses sent them to a behavior modification or rehabilitation program, hoping to see them cured, and, based on the reports from the programs, thought they were cured. And learned the hard way that the programs were not significantly effective. BTW, for young offenders, typically not yet adult, rehab can be effective, but apparently rarely effective for older sex offenders.

  117. An Attorney wrote:

    Many dioceses sent them to a behavior modification or rehabilitation program, hoping to see them cured, and, based on the reports from the programs, thought they were cured.

    Yes, they did. The claim that the whole catholic church simply did not care one way or the other is not correct. Sometimes they went with the prevailing therapies of the time which were only later shown to be ineffective. Some of what they did, let me repeat, was the best in the way of a therapeutic approach that was available at the time, and they did get assurances from people whom they believed that the matters had been handled. People must remember that there was a time when all of this had official diagnoses in the DSM (including homosexuality) and people did think that therapy was the way to go.) Sometimes.

    Some of this never ending castigation of all things catholic seems to be just anti-catholic bias and some of it is revenge (perhaps not limited to the abuse cases–there are a lot of disaffected catholics out there, it seems) and some of it may have been set up by the lawyers in the courtroom trying to win a case. Was there outright corruption in some cases? Maybe. Was there poor administration and neglect of situations and trying to avoid consequences? Yes. Did corrections need to me made? Yes. Are catholics awful people and is the entire catholic church a pile of it beside the road? Not a chance.

    Now, children must not be abused. Or anybody else must also not be abused. But continuing to rant against the catholics like some of the ranting that is going on is not based on cold hard facts. I don’t know about how other people think or feel, but as soon as people modify the facts or omit some facts or present unbalanced arguments they lose me.

    And I am not a catholic.

  118. Nancy:

    You show a great understanding of the organizational structure of the SBC. It is not a complex thing but it alludes many and keeps them stuck on remedies and ideas that won’t work.

    The database thing is a non-starter for the reasons we both have explained.

    I remember making the same explanations after the SBC in San Antonio maybe 5 or 6 years ago.

    We may still be discussing this 10 years from now, I suppose.

  119. Anonymous wrote:

    We may still be discussing this 10 years from now, I suppose.

    If you mean explaining how the baptist system(s) are set up, yes indeed. But let us hope that effective means of dealing with abuse have been implemented long before then.

  120. What about overseas personnel who commit abuse outside of the country?

    This is a good question. I’m not clear on the criminal aspect of it as to jurisdiction nor how the SBC mission sending organization treats the report of abuse. I am familiar with one SBC case that ended in a stateside conviction and jailing. The recent story of the other sending agency’s mishandling of abuse is deplorable. Would a database include non-confessed, non-convicted individuals who were judged to have committed abuse? It is far from certain that this would be so, although reporting from an SBC entity is much easier to dictate than for a church where no one tells them what to do, sometimes even Jesus.

    As to the topic title, I would welcome any lawsuit against any church or entity that covered up abuse and did not report to authorities. I know of no SBC official or employee, entity, or institution that does not maintain a policy of reporting abuse to authorities.

  121. William wrote:

    As to the topic title, I would welcome any lawsuit against any church or entity that covered up abuse and did not report to authorities.

    Absolutely, me too. There is nothing wrong with that, and sometimes it is the only way to make believers out of some folks.

  122. Eagle wrote:

    No offense Amy but since I live in the Washington, D.C. area I avoid the Washington Times due to its links to the Unification Church of the Late Reverend Moon. The Washington Post has reported on that in the past.

    In Christianese media of the Eighties, the Washington Times was THE go-to Anointed God’s News Media for Christian activists. Washington Post was one of those Liberal Secular Enemies of God media. Was this “Enemy of my Enemy is my Friend” or were all these Christianese media types tasting too much Moonie Heavenly Nectar?

  123. @ Anonymous:

    But if they kick churches out for having homosexual members or having a woman minister, they can kick them out for harboring and covering up for pedophile ministers. And they should have long ago adopted that as a policy and that church in Dallas should have been out long ago.

  124. @ Headless Unicorn Guy:
    Foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Apart form that, words fail me. After all the posting on the seriousness of the abuse of children and its being covered up, whether in evangelical or catholic circles, all you can do is make a joke of it. And the ‘great humor’ that ‘gets better’ isn’t even funny; how could it be given the subject matter. It is assinine in its stupidity.

    It’s the perfect excuse for those who don’t want to know about abuse not to look any further – the combox negating the articles.

    If I wrote what I thought on reading this, I too would be guilty of being a “reviler” mentioned earlier on.

    SHAME(TM) on you for writing such horrendously unfunny garbage (h.u.g.).

  125. An Attorney wrote:

    But if they kick churches out for having homosexual members or having a woman minister, they can kick them out for harboring and covering up for pedophile ministers. And they should have long ago adopted that as a policy and that church in Dallas should have been out long ago.

    Do they kick churches out for having homosexual members? I never heard that. For performing gay marriage ceremonies I heard, but for membership? How would they know? And what baptist church of any size at all does not have homosexual members, known or unknown?

  126. An Attorney wrote:

    Many dioceses sent them to a behavior modification or rehabilitation program, hoping to see them cured, and, based on the reports from the programs, thought they were cured. And learned the hard way that the programs were not significantly effective.

    The real problem is that there is nothing in the academic and scientific literature that supports the notion that pedophilia ever goes away.

    In my mind, it’s malpractice for any mental health professional to claim that it can, or to lead others to believe it no longer exists.

    Question For the Legal Eagles
    Another possible way of dealing with this? Can people file lawsuits for gross negligence or malpractice against the individual psychologists who gave these perpetrators a clean [enough] bill of health?

  127. Nancy wrote:

    Do they kick churches out for having homosexual members? I never heard that. For performing gay marriage ceremonies I heard, but for membership? How would they know? And what baptist church of any size at all does not have homosexual members, known or unknown?

    That is tricky.

    I think people of homosexual/SSA orientation should be permitted to attend churches. I’m not sure if some churches distinguish between folks with SSA (who are celibate) and homosexuals who engage in homosexual behavior.

    Either way, as a celibate hetero myself, I sometimes see double standards by some churches or in Christian organizations.

    Some churches or para church groups turn a blind eye to sexual sin performed by heteros but “spaz out” over homosexual behavior (which I agree God/the Bible considers sin)…
    But I’ve also seen the reverse, where some Christians pity homosexuals, and say they should be able to have sex but they turn around still insist that hetero singles (like myself) should totally abstain from sex.

    Then you have all these married, hetero Christian guys (according to Christian news sites I read) who are steeped in naughty, kinky sites, movies, and magazines, and some who hire prostitutes, or who have extra-marital affairs with their secretaries or church piano players…. but they are still allowed to participate in church.

    I personally think divorce has been misunderstood by most Christians (i.e., I think it is permissible in cases of abuse, etc.), but, for churches who take a fairly hard anti-divorce stance, some of them will never-the-less allow divorced people to hold teaching/leading positions, etc… yet those same churches will have a fit about homosexual behavior.

    Some churches / Christians appear to be very inconsistent in which sins they choose to police or hold people accountable for.

    They are willing to excuse, justify, be super compassionate about, or turn a blind eye to “sexual sin type 1” but want to punish or rant against “sexual sin type 2” out the wazoo.

  128. @ Ken:

    Do you realize that HUG is explaining what he has heard over the years from drive-time radio commentators regarding the sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? He is not the author of the jokes. He was conveying to Hester the jokes he has heard. FWIW, I believe that HUG is Catholic himself.

  129. Anonymous wrote:

    In the Prestonwood case, for example, neither the church nor the parents of the abused students wanted to report the matter to the police or anyone outside the church.

    Does this show a weakness on the part of the pastor-if this is true? By not reporting this, Langworthy went on to molest many.

  130. Ken wrote:

    SHAME(TM) on you for writing such horrendously unfunny garbage (h.u.g.).

    I think you may misunderstand HUG’s presentation. Everyone has a style to communicating information and each of us has a style in receiving the information. I have found HUG’s comments helpful in uncovering the absurdities in evangelicalism.

    By comparing some of the beliefs and statements other totalitarian groups, HUG gets his point across. My husband is more straightforward and dry in his communication style. I tend to be all over the place (as you may have observed).

    One thing I know. HUG is an ardent opponent of covering up child sex abuse in the churches.

  131. William wrote:

    I know of no SBC official or employee, entity, or institution that does not maintain a policy of reporting abuse to authorities.

    That is what is written. However, that is not what they do. People get thrown out of SBC churches for questioning pastors. But pastors/churches get to ignore the written mandates and still get invited to speak all over the SBC.

  132. Nancy wrote:

    Why try to systemically change the system? It looks like SNAP et al would defeat themselves by dismantling the system entirely because there would be nobody comparable to the catholic system to sue.

    Each of the Catholic suits have been local. They sue the priest, then they sue the guy over the priest who knew about it and covered it up. No one has sued the Vatican although some international groups are trying to figure out how to do it.

    So, when a priest gets sued and convicted in Alabama,unless they can prove that the local diocese knew about the crime, the suit stops with the priest.

  133. @ Ken:

    Ken, HUG was merely reporting what others had said. All of those statements have been out there in the media and some from the pulpit!

    HUG was not initiating anything there, but to point out the bad things that people who call themselves Christian had said about Catholics.

  134. Several of you have touched on what we believe will be the precipitous for change in the days ahead. The SBC will be faced with more and more legal challenges as they continue to sweep child sex crimes under the rug, refusing to heed the sobering lessons of the Catholic church abuse scandal over the last 2 decades. It is already beginning…

    In February, Joshua Earls, a former youth pastor at Arapaho Road Baptist Church in north Texas, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison. http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2014/02/former-garland-youth-minister-gets-12-years-in-federal-prison-for-relationship-with-underage-girl.html/

    His brother Jordan Earls is also facing federal charges including indecency with a child and sexual assault of a child. In April, WFAA covered this story about Arapaho Road Baptist closing its preschool program: http://www.wfaa.com/news/education/Garland-Church-suspends-Pre-K-Kindergarten-classes-for-120-families-255396911.html

    In an e-mail message, Executive Pastor Brian Audia told News 8 “the church’s limited resources needed to be directed to strengthen the core ministries of the church.”
    Church elders were more specific in a letter to parents, referencing campus buildings in need of repair and recent legal issues causing financial stress.

    hmm “recent legal issues?”

    While the SBC pretends its all “local” and “autonomous,” I’ve been recently made aware of the Christian Action Commission of the Mississippi SBC, a lobbying arm. http://www.christianaction.com/

    The Christian Action Commission is a ministry of the Mississippi Baptist Convention. In the early 1960’s Mississippi Baptists sensed a need to be more involved in issues that were affecting their homes, churches, and state. Therefore, in 1963 a recommendation to the state convention was adopted and the Christian Action Commission came into existence, selecting its first Executive Director, Dr. J. Clark Hensley, in 1965.

    It’s my understanding that the CAC is alleged to be aware of this pastor’s alleged child sex assaults. Did the CAC lawyers help to cover it up, keep victims quiet? Pastor Wesley Enfinger was indicted last year in MS: http://neshobademocrat.com/Main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=297&ArticleID=28129

    Enfinger has remained under the radar and is now in Loxley, AL. We hope any others harmed by him will come forward to police immediately. Apparently he was allowed to return on his own to MS to face charges and told his church in AL that he had some issues from a past “affair.”

  135. @ Nancy:

    If the LBGT members are open about their gender preference and it comes to the attention of certain leaders of the SBC, they will be disinvited from participating in the state level Baptist Convention and likely from the SBC as a “non-cooperating” church. It has happened.

  136. dee wrote:

    So, when a priest gets sued and convicted in Alabama,unless they can prove that the local diocese knew about the crime, the suit stops with the priest.

    Since catholics believe in the sacrament of confession, I’m wondering who (if anyone) a priest confesses to. That person would be fully aware of that abuse but is protected by a confidentiality law of some kind. But if a bishop knows, he as a responsibility to report it I would think. Pretty sure the “normal” practice has been to transfer to another unsuspecting parish.

    Someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

  137. @ Janey:

    The fact that therapy did not work was not recognized until a lot later. And given that molesters tend to be very manipulative (necessary for successful grooming), those sent to therapy were able to convince some psychological and counseling professionals that they had been rehabilitated. Only their later behavior gave the lie to that, which means when they hurt another child and it was discovered.

  138. @ An Attorney:

    Well, in light of that, and with what Mohler has been saying, and in light of the new SBC president, it looks like things may get right fired up in this area. This whole idea of no middle ground really bothers me. That may be what is going to happen in my denomination also. The idea of I don’t want to treat anybody badly while at the same time nobody is going to tell me what to think–there may be no way to do that. Man alive I hate that. In medicine we treat everybody and do not have to have a moral or ethical position on any of it. Looks like that is not going to be possible in our society/churches in the area of sexual issues.

    Looks like the choice may come down to either affirming homosexuality itself or else choosing to not affirm homosexual persons as persons. And the choice may be in whether to stay or go from a church that takes one stand or the other. You know, if the civil war tore up families who did not agree on who to back, north or south (and that happened a lot they say in my home state of KY) then this will do that also. We got real problems.

  139. dee wrote:

    Each of the Catholic suits have been local. They sue the priest, then they sue the guy over the priest who knew about it and covered it up. No one has sued the Vatican although some international groups are trying to figure out how to do it.

    It’s been tried. It has failed. One of my close friends worked as a legal assistant on one of the cases and they did everything they could do. Overall, the reason it failed is because the Vatican is its own country and we, the US, have diplomatic relations with that country and must treat its representatives as diplomats. Even if they cover up child abuse. That, my friends, is why former Cardinal Bernard Francis Law of Boston continues to live in retirement in the Vatican–because he’s beyond the long arm of US law. Disgusting.

  140. @ Nancy:

    And if we adopt and follow the law of love that Jesus taught, to love every human being as we love ourselves (OOH how radical an idea), and accept them as they are, and allow God, through the power only He has, to deal with whatever sin there is in our life as well as the sin in their life, by and through the agency of the Holy Spirit, then we can have piece and be a witness to the power of the love of God in our own life as well as the life of others. To paraphrase: “for all sin and fall short of the glory of God, but the gift of God is eternal life”. If grace can cover greed, avarice, will to power, mis-use of authority, violations of the direct command of Jesus to not be in authority over others, over-rewarding oneself financially from the tithes and offerings of the sheep, etc., etc., then surely grace can cover same sex attraction.

  141. @ An Attorney:

    You know, though, what you have said is precisely the middle way which Mohler is saying does not exist. So what do people do who do not agree with either side of the extremes but which are not going to be allowed to espouse what you have described? This is what I am saying. I mean, you are saying basically that sin is sin but grace is greater than sin. Sure. However, to say that about certain sexual issues one must declare said certain sexual things to be sin. One side of the argument is saying that said sexual issues are not sin, and one must affirm that they are not sin. If they are not sin, then the whole argument that grace is greater than sin is of no use. Which pretty will shoots the legs out from under everything the church has been saying for years. On the other hand, though, to say that yes certain things are sin and one must rely on grace would put one squarely in the neo-purtian camp which is a whole different way of understand lots and lots of things.

    I think your are right, and everybody except the legalists have been saying that from the get go, but that is precisely the stance that is threatened at this time. And now they are saying that in 2016 my denomination is going to divide over this and choosing up sides time has come. This is not good.

  142. @ Nancy:

    I could have said that better. Let me try this. We are going to be forced into a yes or no decision. The third or middle way is, leave it to God it is not ultimately my responsibility. I understand you to have chosen the leave it to God path. So have I, as long as I could get away with it. But my denomination is going to split up into yes or no. Mohler declares that yes or no are the only two possible decisions and the third path does not exist. He wants the baptists to go yes or no also. I can’t explain it any better than that.

  143. @ Nancy:

    The issue is that every puritan finger pointer needs to realize that they are selectively pointing out the sins that they do not regularly commit themselves, including taking the role of God in pointing out the mote in someone else’s life while ignoring the log in their own. I do not care what anyone, other than God, chooses to call sin. My point is that whatever behavior is sin, God has said that his grace is sufficient to cover it. So we should be focusing on his grace (aka love), his forgiveness, and seeking to do what we were taught while he walked on earth, which is to love as we would that others love us. Not complicated, in fact too simple to justify three plus years of seminary to understand it. To borrow from the Beatles: All you need is love.

  144. @ An Attorney:

    Moreover, those who elect to “lead” (teacher, pastor, or whatever they are called) are called to a higher standard than the rest of us.

    I understand that Mohler and other Neo-Puritans want us to make the false choice between an open embrace and endorsement of behavior that they consider sin, so that they can reject us, and a rejection of those who engage in such behavior. And there are others who want us to make that choice the other way. And I refuse to go along with either side. I do not see Jesus rejecting anyone except the self-righteous!!!

    I do not endorse or encourage publicity about sexual behavior of any stripe or kind; it belongs in private. I do not endorse shunning people because of what they do in private or with whom they do it. I do not want to elevate it or to denigrate it; only to accept that it happens. And I think those in SBC leadership need to examine their own lives with respect to whatever avarice, greed, assumption of authority or whatever else is in their life, including whether their position on some issues is a form of hate and not of love, before telling other people how to live their lives. As Jesus said, let him who is without sin cast the first stone (or aspersion!), and all have sinned. It is time to stop casting stones at people because of whom they love and how they express that live in private. I will neither applaud nor endorse homosexuality, transgenderism, or, for that matter heterosexuality. I am committed to loving to the extent of my ability, with agape love, all of God’s creatures, but especially the human ones. I seek God’s grace to love those I encounter somewhat regularly who have harmed children (usually physically or emotionally, rather than sexually, btw), the elderly, the weak, or the powerless. That is the hardest burden for me. And btw, I put many of the SBC leadership in that category as well, for reasons that have already been discussed here.

  145. Daisy wrote:

    Then you have all these married, hetero Christian guys (according to Christian news sites I read) who are steeped in naughty, kinky sites, movies, and magazines, and some who hire prostitutes, or who have extra-marital affairs with their secretaries or church piano players…. but they are still allowed to participate in church.

    Well, really, the church needs to deal with how it addresses sin, especially sexual sin. I went to a Christian college and two seminaries. In every institution the number one prayer request among guys was, “I’m struggling with pornography.” Remember, these are future pastors. Why can a pastor have a life of sexual sin, but homosexuals are excluded? It just seems like it hasn’t been thought through very well.

  146. Nancy wrote:

    Mohler declares that yes or no are the only two possible decisions and the third path does not exist.

    The good news is that more and more Baptists are not giving a rat’s rip what Mohler says.

  147. dee wrote:

    I think you may misunderstand HUG’s presentation. Everyone has a style to communicating information and each of us has a style in receiving the information.

    I hope I didn’t over-react to the post. It certainly rankled (as you probably gathered).

    I appreciate HUG was quoting secular radio jokes, and my criticism is aimed at what he posted rather than him personally. If he had said something like ‘here is some so-called great “humor”…’ I wouldn’t have had a problem with it, but he seemed to imply he enjoyed the jokes himself, as though this is a legitimate thing to make jokes about. I’m sure you would agree that such humour is tasteless in the extreme (though not as tasteless as the subject being joked about).

    Humour and wit could be very useful in bringing out the follies of evangelicalism and the head in sand approach to dealing with child abuse that is so endemic in religious circles. But equating John Piper, for example, with Adolf Hitler or a concentration camp guard is not only over the top, it is couter-productive in countering any bad effects Piper’s teachings may have had. That sort of comment says more about the poster than Piper.

    Still, you did allow the post to stand rather than end up in moderation cyberspace which is what I half expected, and which is where I suspect it would have ended up on many forums.

  148. @ Ken:
    The Hitler stuff is stopping and that had nothing to do with this comment.

    However, if he had used Animal Farm quotes, it would have stood. There is a totalitarianism that is inherent in the theology in men like Piper that allows things to get carried to extremes. The “smacked around for the night” comment. The “tornado hit those people because…” comment. “You must never, ever get married agains if you get divorced even if you husband smacked you around” comment.

    Do you know how weird this stuff sounds to people outside the system and to many inside the system? Or, are we not supposed to find it weird because, well, “he IS John Piper, you know?”

    There is a group think inherent in the system that is deeply disturbing. If Piper said it, it must be so. Now take a look at what HUG said.

    Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    Oh, it gets better. Here’s some gems of great humor from local drive-time radio over the years (cue laugh track):
    “You know the reason the Pope’s against birth control? So there’s more altarboys for the priests to molest.”
    “John Paul II — Patron Saint of Child Molesters.”

    First, there was no mention of Hitler. Secondly, he clearly states that this is what he heard on the radio.

    IMO, it is vital that we understand how the world perceives us. We like to hide in our little bubble and pretend that our problems go unnoticed while we, of course, condemn the world for every last sin imaginable.

    Also, once the sin becomes so pervasive that it starts becoming the butt of jokes, it is obvious that the gig is up and the world sees our ugliness. It is time we, as a group, begin to deal with the perception of the world. We say people leave the faith because “they were never believers.” Perhaps there is more to it than that. Perhaps they leave because we point fingers outward instead of inward.

    Somehow, I do not think God is going to pleased with us in heaven when we excuse those who walked away from the faith because we overlooked or justified the abuse of children by saying “Not my fault, they were never really Christians anyway.”

  149. Ken wrote:

    Still, you did allow the post to stand rather than end up in moderation cyberspace which is what I half expected, and which is where I suspect it would have ended up on many forums.

    As for deletion of comments in other forums-they delete lots of things, including those who disagree with them.

    Did you know that we have already been criticized for our new commenting policy? That we are the language police? We are “damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” We are muddling through and make lots of mistakes but we are trying.

  150. Dr. Fundystan, Proctologist wrote:

    In every institution the number one prayer request among guys was, “I’m struggling with pornography.” Remember, these are future pastors. Why can a pastor have a life of sexual sin, but homosexuals are excluded? It just seems like it hasn’t been thought through very well.

    Best comment of the day!

  151. dee wrote:

    Did you know that we have already been criticized for our new commenting policy?

    Criticism, like cynicism, is cool in some circles. Fie on the lot.

  152. dee wrote:

    Did you know that we have already been criticized for our new commenting policy? That we are the language police?

    What is the problem with some people. Your turf, your rules, that’s the deal. It’s a simple as that!

    Those who consider you the language police seem to be suffering from arrested development …

  153. Ken wrote:

    Still, you did allow the post to stand rather than end up in moderation cyberspace which is what I half expected, and which is where I suspect it would have ended up on many forums.

    Does TWW need to conform to the many forums? “Many” forums, in particular Christian forums, would never let HUG’s comments see the light of day. He would have to conform “before” he would be allowed to comment on “many” forums.

    Did you happen to observe that several other readers understood what HUG was saying?

  154. dee wrote:

    There is a totalitarianism that is inherent in the theology in men like Piper that allows things to get carried to extremes. The “smacked around for the night” comment. The “tornado hit those people because…” comment. “You must never, ever get married agains if you get divorced even if you husband smacked you around” comment.

    Also a good comment.
    Piper is not inerrant. And some of Piper’s perceptions/words are pharisaical, dangerous, and the opposite of what the Bible is telling us, particularly what the words in red are saying.

  155. Bridget wrote:

    Did you happen to observe that several other readers understood what HUG was saying?

    We’ve gotten to know him and know his style and his heart.

  156. dee wrote:

    First, there was no mention of Hitler. Secondly, he clearly states that this is what he heard on the radio.

    IMO, it is vital that we understand how the world perceives us.

    This holds for ANY subculture. Just from the subculture’s I’ve been involved with:

    Remember Sci-Fi Geeks? With our Spock Ears and heads in the clouds?

    Remember Furries as into bestiality? (I got falsely accused of that in an email harassment campaign some years ago. The rampant Rule 34 in the fandom sure doesn’t help.)

    Remember Bronies as pedophiles because they like a cartoon about magical ponies made for little girls? (From the same drive-time radio as the comments that started this sub-thread; and I’ve heard the same suspicions about animation/cartoon fans in general.)

  157. An Attorney wrote:

    HUG was not initiating anything there, but to point out the bad things that people who call themselves Christian had said about Catholics.

    If those are the statements I think they are (the ones from the radio), that was not a Christian source per se; it was an AM radio drive-time talk show, and mouthiness is part of the job description for radio talk show hosts.

  158. dee wrote:

    Somehow, I do not think God is going to pleased with us in heaven when we excuse those who walked away from the faith because we overlooked or justified the abuse of children by saying “Not my fault, they were never really Christians anyway.”

    I wonder if this is related to the Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation you find in American Fundagelicalism. That sort of Holy Atomism would tend to cultivate Cain’s attitude of “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

  159. @ dee:

    I have observed the reactions of two parents to having a gay child.

    One has disinherited his son.
    The other has tried every way to keep the lines of communication open with their child, even to the point of going to gay bars with him.
    Now I ask you, which is the more Christian?

  160. I am sorry that we got off thread to deal with the humor HUG cited as anti-Catholic. I think we need to spend more time dealing with the transgender issue as it is totally misunderstood and mischaracterized by so many.

  161. Eagle wrote:

    Actually the only way I think CJ Mahaney will know what it means to be humble is when he is cleaning the toilets at 7-11 at minimum wage

    Thank you for the best mental picture of CJ ever!!

  162. This is the second encounter I’ve had this week regarding John McCarthur’s ideas. I have to say that I’m just plain disgusted. I listened to an episode of his teaching from this year’s T4G. It was about apostates. I’m pretty sure the teaching to pastors is that none’s are apostate and none believers. Maybe if you’re a believer but refuse to go to church you are still considered an apostate by these esteemed (cough) men. It irks me that they don’t even bother to know what none means to most nones.
    This was the session http://t4g.org/media/2014/03/mass-defection-the-great-physician-confronts-the-pathology-of-counterfeit-faith/

    I listened to this in its entirety and two points were repeated:

    1. Hell is much like Dante’s, not the bible’s, version, with a more horrible level for those who have heard the gospel and “walk away” than those who have never heard it. (And while I disagree with the popular exegeses of sheol and hades, Dr, Mac Arthur cannot and did not cite scripture to make his point).

    2. Those who remove themselves from a physical church location are apostates. Unbelievable. Bad theology or poor leadership are never cited as legitimate reasons for leaving a “church.”

    3. Calvin, Luther, Piper and now MacArthur all seem to have veered into major theological error as they aged. I think they should be extended grace for their frail human condition (as we all should), and then kindly and privately, and then publicly if that fails, corrected by their peers.

  163. Bridget wrote:

    Does TWW need to conform to the many forums?

    I’m glad it doesn’t, with variety being the spice of life rather than monotone conformity.

    I don’t think you noticed I was actually paying TWW a compliment!