The Southern Baptist Convention headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Baptist Press

Southern Baptist leaders vow to improve addressing sex abuse after papers’ report

The Southern Baptist Convention headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. Photo courtesy of Baptist Press


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) — Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention have called the reports by two Texas newspapers of hundreds of sex abuse cases in affiliated churches evidence of “pure evil” and “satanic” behavior within their ranks.

Several vowed to improve the ways churches address such behavior.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News launched an “Abuse of Faith” investigative series over the weekend that reports about 220 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct in the last two decades. Overall, they found about 380 Southern Baptists who faced allegations from more than 700 victims in that time period.

“Nearly 100 are still held in prisons stretching from Sacramento County, Calif., to Hillsborough County, Fla., state and federal records show,” they reported. “Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.”

SBC President J.D. Greear said the news coverage of the abuse shows that churches connected to the nation’s largest Protestant denomination have failed the survivors of sex abuse.

“The abuses described in the Houston Chronicle article are pure evil,” he said in a Sunday (Feb. 10) statement. “We — leaders in the SBC — should have listened to the warnings of those who tried to call attention to this. I hope we listen now, and I am committed to doing everything possible to ensure we never make these mistakes again.”

At the SBC’s annual meeting in June, the convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission announced that it would study the extent of abuse occurring in the convention's churches. That research is part of a presidential task force that has met with leaders from churches, law enforcement, and anti-abuse advocacy groups to determine how congregations and other Baptist groups can work on the issue.


RELATED: Southern Baptists mull what’s next on confronting abuse


“The sexual abuse of the vulnerable is satanic at its very root,” said ERLC President Russell Moore in a Sunday statement. “If your understanding of the gospel means that rapists and sexual offenders still have access to those who can be harmed, you do not understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

J.D. Greear, the new SBC president, speaks during the annual meeting in Dallas on June 12, 2018. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Greear said that future approaches to abuse will need to include prevention, “full cooperation with legal authorities” and holistic care for victims.

“It’s time for pervasive change,” he said in his statement. “God demands it. Survivors deserve it.”

The newspapers’ investigation seemed to be something that Baptist leaders expected.

In a mid-January update on its sex abuse study, ERLC Vice President Phillip Betancourt noted earlier news accounts of religious groups’ handling of sex abuse, including the recent Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s investigation of independent fundamental Baptist churches, based on accounts of more than 200 former and current church members.

“It would not be surprising if journalists are working on a similar type of story focused on Southern Baptist churches as well,” he wrote.

Asked in January by Religion News Service if he was worried about such an investigation of Southern Baptist churches, Greear said, “what worries me, really, is the problem behind it.”

At the time, he said he thought that often churches were unclear about when to call law enforcement rather than intentionally hiding abuse.

“Sometimes there can be some animosity between church and state; it’s almost like some mistrust,” he said in January, noting the Apostle Paul’s discussion in the New Testament Book of Romans about respecting government authorities. “But in this case, Paul is telling us that there are certain processes and structures that we need to not only be submissive to but we need to be supportive of and take advantage of. And I think this is a clear case of that.”

The Houston Chronicle/San Antonio Express-News investigation noted that several former presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, including Steve Gaines, Paige Patterson and Jerry Vines, were accused of mishandling abuse allegations.

Other former presidents tweeted expressions of concern about the journalists’ findings.

“The Southern Baptist Convention faces a crisis as great as any in our history,” tweeted James Merritt, a Georgia pastor who was SBC president from 2000-2002, on Monday. “Now we must weep over the @HoustonChron article on sexual abuse and its coverup in our churches, repent and raise our membership standards to preclude churches who foment racism & ignore sexual abuse.”

Ronnie Floyd, an Arkansas pastor who was SBC president from 2014-16, added in a Sunday tweet: “Inaction is not an option for the Southern Baptist Convention regarding sexual abuse in churches. Change is imperative.”


RELATED: Southern Baptists elect president, dismiss abuse database


The Texas papers’ investigation comes a decade after Southern Baptist leaders turned down a proposal from activists to create a database  that would have tracked clergy accused or convicted of sexual abuse. Baptist executives cited autonomy of local churches as a factor.

They instead provided churches with a link to a Justice Department national database and urged them to contact authorities about any sex abuse allegations.

“Where delay is caused by a desire to protect the reputation of the church, we believe such delay to be completely unjustified,” the 2008 Executive Committee’s report reads.

Debbie Vasquez, who told the investigating Texas papers that she was molested by her pastor and ended up pregnant, was at the 2008 meeting and urged SBC leaders to take actions similar to ones adopted by the Catholic Church.

Vasquez, whose suit against the pastor, Dale “Dickie" Amyx, was dismissed, told the Texas journalists she feared for other victims because of the lack of action by SBC leaders.

"They made excuses and did nothing,” she told the papers.

Comments

  1. Now Southern Baptists: we’ve been told and retold that the abuse horror show in the Christian churches is more or less exclusively a Catholic thing — and is due to gay priests. If the gays are barred from seminaries, there will be no abuse, we’re told.

    But now Southern Baptists, who are as staunchly anti-LGBTQ as they come and who encourage their male clergy (women are not permitted ordination) to marry.

    Something seems wrong with the “Gays are the problem and abolishing celibacy will solve it” analysis.

    That analysis becomes harder to maintain, too, in the face of increasing reports of priests abusing nuns. Maybe it’s time to drop the homophobic scapegoating and look at the real problem: all-male power structures that subordinate women to men and are not accountable/transparent.

  2. It all starts with “Wives, be subject to your husbands.” (Ephesians 5:22) If you take a strictly literalist approach to biblical teaching as Southern Baptists do (at least since the conservative hostile takeover of the SBC in the late seventies) then that’s a hard one to get around. I know St. Paul goes on to say, “Husbands, love your wives,” but if you’re in a position of authority like all these Baptist preacher/abusers, you know how to smooth talk potential victims by emphasizing the one while downplaying the other – that’s what those with forked tongues do, and will continue to do as long as their flock let them get away with it. I wouldn’t be looking for that to change any time soon, for as St. Paul goes on to say:

    “For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.”

    In other words, women must do what they’re told and women just have to put up with it, whatever it is, because it says so – right there in the bible.

  3. All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

    Leo Tolstoy

  4. ““Sometimes there can be some animosity between church and state; it’s almost like some mistrust,” he said in January, noting the Apostle Paul’s discussion in the New Testament Book of Romans about respecting government authorities”.

    OF course there is mistrust, Paul’s statement about that in Romans 13:1 is utter horsehockey (even in his time, let alone ours) and anyone who propounds it from church as an axiom for the modern era is also a peddler of blatant lies. This is an excellent example of why those of us from “state” do not trust “church” to be messing with our civics.

  5. 15+ million heavenbound Southern Baptists, minus elsewhere-bound “380 Southern Baptists … fac[ing] allegations”, still equals to 15+ million heavenbound Southern Baptists.

    Noted.

    Worry only when it’s the other way around (the time for which, according to end-times prophecy, shall surely come).

  6. Many religious leaders, Protestant and Catholic are bread for the Thief as they rely on their own flesh (self righteousness of Esau) under LAW rather than the free gift of righteousness offered by our LORD Jesus.

  7. Good attempt at “whataboutism” there, but it doesn’t change the multiple-year John Jay numbers.

    19% heterosexual abuse encounters, 81% homosexual abuse encounters, specifically gay priests going after post-pubescent boys, (plus the McCarrick-type, adult-seminarian, homosexual abuse which didn’t get counted by JJ.)

    Obviously the Southern Baptists don’t have time to worry about John Jay numbers. Nor do the other church denominations. Everybody gotta clean up their own house. But nobody’s gonna erase the John Jay numbers. Gotta deal with them.

  8. Since you’re neither a Catholic nor a Baptist nor state, that seems to wrap up your interest in the matter.

  9. Celibacy is not a problem unless you should not have been ordained.

    However, no one with homosexual orientation should have been ordained a Catholic priest. That was baked into Canon Law long ago.

    This meant that every single homosexual who was ordained knew he was violating the Church’s law, hardly an auspicious beginning to an ordained ministry.

    This meant that prelates who had begun their ministry violating their Church’s discipline became prelates.

    This meant that these prelates tended to lower the standards in seminaries so that those of the same ilk would find the sledding easier.

    This lowering of standards meant that the wolf entered amongst the sheep.

    The result was 80% of the abuse was male-on-minor-male. The Church suffered the disgrace of Rembert Weakland in Milwaukee being caught paying off an ex-boyfriend and leaving. Theodore McCarrick and others gained power and abused it.

    This is not homophobic scapegoating. Nor is there any evidence that all-male power structures that subordinate women to men and are not accountable/transparent as Jesus and the Apostles demonstrated.

  10. About fifteen percent of the allegations involved boys 16-17 years old — “post-pubescent”; also, the work of Nicholas Groth and others has shown that the vast majority of known child molesters with an adult orientation identify as heterosexual — just over 98%.

    Spare us the “gays are all pedophiles” propaganda.

  11. Evidently the John Jay Report is like the Bible. Both of them can be used to prove our own preconceptions and prejudices. The Bible, of course, covers a lot more ground, so we can use it to prove a lot more of our preconceptions and prejudices.

  12. He did not propagandize “gays are all pedophiles”.

    He pointed out that in one denomination being discussed the abuse was 80+% male-on-male. That is one of those things we call a “fact”.

    Groth’s forty-plus-year-old research led him to propose, not show, certain models. Some of them have since been supported, others dismissed.

    But the relevance of that work to a subgroup of the general population is dubious, especially given the fact we have in our hand.

  13. What can’t be changed is the fact that in the one denomination being discussed the abuse was 80+% male-on-male.

    Dodging that only proves we don’t like what it implies.

  14. “Southern Baptist churches hired dozens of leaders previously accused of sex offenses. …

    The sordid backgrounds of these Southern Baptist ministers didn’t stop them from finding new jobs at churches and working in positions of trust.

    They’re among at least 35 Southern Baptist pastors, youth ministers and volunteers who were convicted of sex crimes or accused of sexual misconduct but still were allowed to work at churches during the past two decades, an investigation by the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle reveals.”

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/Southern-Baptist-churches-hired-ministers-accused-13588233.php

    Where have I heard that story before? Oh, wait: it must have been in reports about that other male-dominated church that excludes women from ordination and positions of governance and power, which we’re told by right-wing hacks is absolutely nothing like the currently exposed male-dominated church that excludes women from ordinatino and positions of governance and power.

    It’s almost as if something binds these different religious groups together.

    I wonder what on earth that might be?

  15. While you have gone on the record in the past about disliking “manly men”, what seems to be missing from your argument is some proof that a male-dominated church that excludes women from ordination and positions of governance and power leads to abuse.

    The logical error is “post hoc ergo propter hoc”:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

    On the surface it appears that what binds these different religious groups together is acceptance of the Biblical teaching about the complementary nature of the sexes.

  16. Church leaders cannot police themselves. The conflicts of interest are too great. As a Catholic, I’ve learned that. Others should as well.

  17. How do you interpret “specifically gay priests hunting down post-pubescent boys”?

    I”m reminded of the development of the “gay men are child molesters” meme:

    The basic statistic is that thirty percent of child molestations are perpetrated against boys. — About the victims, not the perpetrators. Then it became, thanks to a “mathematical extrapolation” by a doctor of theology whose name I’ve forgotten, “Thirty percent of child molestations are homosexual” — again, a matter of terminology, nothing about the sexual orientation of the perpetrators. And finally, in the hands of such stalwarts as Tony Perkins, it becomes “Homosexual men account for the majority of child molestations.”

    No, thanks.

  18. “How do you interpret ‘specifically gay priests hunting down post-pubescent boys?’”

    It appears to be an attempt to explain an 80+% male-on-minor-male abuse rate.

    It certainly is not “gay men are child molesters”.

    It might make “these child molesters were largely gay”.

    I take it you’re gay?

  19. “220 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have been convicted of or pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct in the last two decades.” That is 11 per year for 20 years – still too many, but let’s look at reality here,

    “Overall, they found about 380 Southern Baptists who faced allegations from more than 700 victims in that time period.”
    That is 19 people a year for 20 years, and they would have been charged if the allegations were provable – so how many people got their name smeared because they did nothing wrong?
    Scream their names from the ceiling if you have a witness to prove it, otherwise, you are hurting someone unnecessarily – slandering someone and that is just as evil as the supposed wrong done.
    That is why most of this needs to be left up to the Lord.

    The SBC must be a powerful church to go through so many assaults by the world these days,

  20. you cannot charge someone without evidence rock. My understanding is “innocent until proven guilty”

  21. floydlee is constantly making excuses for evangelicals, better known by their original name calvinists. It’s high time main stream Christians acknowledge this cult founded by John Calvin & Oliver Cromwell has little to no connection with Christianity. Their main focus in on power and acquiring power by any means necessary. Through money, fear, bigotry, sex, or any other means that furthers their agenda. They were run out of England and founded a theocracy in colonial Salem where they murdered anyone who opposed their agenda by labeling them witches and drowning or hanging them after a sham trial. Their efforts continue today via the SBC, Quiver Full, false claims of Biblical inerrantcy, Dominionism, and similar groups/beliefs with the goal of turning the US into a theocracy. I am glad to see it’s hypocrisy on full display and hope to see the day when the SBC is identified as a blasphemous, heretical, and sacrilegious cult and dissolved.

  22. The man is the head of the woman, and as long as he isn’t asking her to do something against the Lord’s standards or her standards, then this is perfectly correct

  23. Although the homosexual community comprises a tiny minority of the population, this minority is responsible for one-third of all cases of child molestation in the US.[26] According to a Senior Fellow for cultural studies at the Family Research Council, Dr. Timothy J. Dailey, ‘the evidence indicates that both homosexuality and paedophilia are intersecting categories that include many different kinds of sexual behaviour’.[27]

    This is confirmed by a survey carried in the late 1980s by Archives of Sexual Behavior, which revealed that that 86% of the 229 criminals convicted of sexual molestation against children were homosexuals or bisexuals.[28] Further, an empirical research carried by Cameron and Cameron concluded that same-sex parents had committed 10% of all reported cases of child molestation, although they comprised only 0.3% of the random sample.[29] Such a number indicates a disproportional percentage of sexual abuse by homosexual parents, as compared to only 0.6% of children who had been molested by their heterosexual parents. It also indicates, as the researchers who carried this remarkable investigation concluded, ‘a disproportionate association between homosexuality and paedophilia [and] a correspondingly disproportionate risk of homosexual incest… for children reared by homosexuals’.[30] As a former Fellow in Child Psychiatry at Yale University, Dr Jeffrey Satinover, points out:
    [T]he greater number of heterosexual cases reflects the fact that heterosexual males outnumber homosexual males by approximately thirty-six to one… However, heterosexual child molestation cases outnumber homosexual cases by only eleven to one, implying that pedophilia is more than three times more common among homosexuals.[31]
    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2017/08/childrens-welfare-sex-families/#_ftn27

  24. My comment had nothing to do with charging people without evidence.

  25. Apparently your deity is too stupid to realize that putting one group of humans above another with no oversight or checks on their power is a guarantee that abusers will flock to that system and vulnerable people will be harmed.

    How many victims had to stand before a church congregation and apologize for being sexually assaulted?

  26. The catholic priesthood is attractive abusers who did not want to be in a public adult relationship with a woman.

    The Baptist system attracts abusers who are fine with being in a public adult relationship with a woman.

    If catholic priests are allowed to marry, a different category of abusers will become catholic priests.

    The common denominator is a power structure that protects and facilitates abuse.

    Scapegoating gays makes as much sense as scapegoating fat, married white men.

    The problem is a system that is attractive to abusers:
    Access to victims,
    Blame the victim mentality
    No consequences to the perp for sexual abuse
    Active protection of powerful insiders

    These things must change, or the abuse will continue.

  27. “How many victims had to stand before a church congregation and apologize for being sexually assaulted” I’ve not heard of that happening
    ” your deity is too stupid to realize that putting one group of humans above another with no oversight or checks on their power ” The head of the man is Christ

  28. Here is something I never thought I would be writing: “in defense of the southern Baptists…”

    Here’s something fun.

    Google “youth pastor sex abuse”. How many hundreds of thousands of hits do you get? I do this every year or so, just to see how many more hits there are since the last time.

    Just remember, kids….

    Religion makes you moral…Except when it Doesn’t.

    And then it’s…”well, everyone sins. Can we change the subject now?”

    And then it’s…”well, what about them public school teachers. Can we change the subject now?”

  29. Truly it is a gift from God that 33% is enough to justify bigotry. Evidently, God sets a very low bar. Or maybe God Himself is a bigot.

  30. The 80-20 ratio is for abuse by priests. Overall, victims of child sexual abuse are about 80 to 90 percent female.

    Abusers look for positions where they have access to their preferred victims and protection from getting caught.

    A rapist who wants female victims might become a sports doctor to female gymnasts. A rapist who wants male victims might become a scout leader. This self selection does not provide a basis for making conclusions about all rapists, nor does it provide a basis for slurring non rapist doctors, scout leaders, etc.

  31. The article is about the Baptists, Southern to be exact.

    As is usual the LGBT contingent tried to convert the discussion into an apologia for gay clergy in the Catholic Church.

    80+% male-on-minor-male seems to support the conclusion that in the case of the Catholic Church abusers looked for positions where they had access to their preferred victims, which says something about the abusers.

    No one suggested that “all gays are rapists”.

  32. again, truth bothers you? Why is it that liberals when advised of something they don’t want to hear, call it bigotry?

  33. Still waiting on somebody — anybody — to disprove or refute that identical 81% statistic that appeared in BOTH John Jay 2004 and John Jay 2011.

    (That’s seven homosexual sex-abuse years with not the slightest reported reduction or stoppage.)

    You are free to ignore the 81%statistic. The victims aren’t. Wonder how McCarrick’s adult seminarians are faring these days.

  34. The gay priests did what they did. Hence the 81%. The 19% who hunted down the girls are equally guilty and such.

    But you cannot erase the hard stats there.

  35. Religion doesn’t make one anything – Christ helps make one righteous

  36. FEAR, SHAME and GUILT and COVER IT ALL UP, a
    standard response across the board with the “walking with god
    clerics” now forever walking with the common man–

    Obviously ordination in any religion is not
    assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King
    David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of
    pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g.
    Billy “I did not have sex with that girl” Clinton, John “Marilyn
    Monroe” Kennedy”.

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g.
    Tiger “I am so sorry for getting caught” Woods.

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan or football
    coach since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of
    “neithers” they should or should have been penalized as the law
    dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals,
    boy scout leaders, married men/women, football coaches), divorce for adultery
    (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Paterno et al
    Clinton, Cardinal Law) or child endangerment (Paterno in abstentia, Sandusky et
    al, Lynn) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder (“Kings David
    and Henry VIII).

  37. “The catholic priesthood is attractive abusers who did not want to be in a public adult relationship with a woman.”

    You’re going to have either edit that sense to make sense, or provide a diagram to understand it.

    “Scapegoating gays makes as much sense as scapegoating fat, married white men.”

    Despite Dr. Lindsey’s and rmthunter’s suggestions to the contrary, no one is scapegoating gays.

    A collapse in observance of the Catholic Canon Law dealing with ordinations led to an influx of candidates for ordination who were completely unsuitable, to the documented point that in some seminaries homosexuals drove heterosexual candidates out.

    This was facilitated – again documented – by homosexual prelates such as Joseph Bernadin, Theodore McCarrick, and Rembert Weakland.

    This set of circumstances is unique to the Catholic Church and apparently unique to only parts of it – some countries and dioceses were apparently unaffected.

    Again, no one is suggesting that all gays are rapists.

  38. For non-idiots, the phrase “Religion makes you moral” is idiotic. It makes it sound like religion is some sort of hypnotic trance.

    What religion offers is a path to moral behavior, and in some religions one or more means to traveling that path. Followers are still human and still have free will.

    Clearly abusers aren’t following the path.

    As far as “”well, everyone sins. Can we change the subject now?’”, what you’re kvetching about is called “perspective”.

    If the topic is “abuse”, noting that abuse in population “A” occurs in 1% of the potential abusers, while in population “B” it occurs in 5% of the potential abusers is important information.

    Important, that is, unless you’re using the abuse in population “A” like a hammer to beat the organization “A” over the head, in which case this perspective is unwelcome.

    Which, of course, is your situation.

  39. NAH

    Google: LGBT gay crime “Jussie Smollett” “Ed Buck” “Kevin Spacey” “Terry Bean” “Ed Murray”

  40. In other words, Neil deGrasse Tyson, David Silverman, Lawrence Krauss and Al Franken are “more proof that god does [in fact] exist!”

  41. BETTER STILL, Google: atheist agnostic allegation “Neil deGrasse Tyson” “David Silverman” “Lawrence Krauss” “Al Franken”

  42. Now today, the next chapter in this sordid saga: “Preying on teens: More than 100 Southern Baptist youth pastors convicted or charged in sex crimes.”

    Scores of Southern Baptist youth pastors across the country, many with little oversight or formal training, used their church positions to groom and sexually abuse children in their flocks, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News reveals.

    More than 100 Southern Baptists described as former youth pastors or youth ministers are now in prison, are registered as sex offenders or have been charged with sex crimes, the newspapers found. Their most common targets were teenage girls and boys, though smaller children also were molested, sometimes in pastors’ studies and Sunday school rooms.

    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/investigations/article/All-too-often-Southern-Baptist-youth-pastors-13588292.php

    A sadly familiar story to those of us who have followed the story in the Catholic church — but things were supposed to be so different in the right-wing white evangelical churches.

    I wonder what the common link is between these disparate groups with different polities and different theologies?

  43. JD Greear is only vowing to make changes within the SBC because they’ve been caught. He was aware of sexual abuse as early as 2010 when Wartburg Watch contacted him regarding abuse victims. Most likely, he was aware well before then. I’ve been following this “breaking story” for more than 20 years as an ex-southern Baptist. Their archaic views on women and their “all hail the male” power dynamics is directly responsible for these abominations. There will be more SBC filth uncovered as victims feel safe enough to reveal their abuse. The SBC won’t be the only house of cards to fall. The LDS, Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal and any other hyper-masculine religious organizations will be eventually exposed as well; perhaps this is the only “good thing” that will come of these horrific crimes.

  44. As expected floydlee, Sandi in EL, and a host of other apologists are attempting to deflect attention away from the real culprits, in this case from the Southern Baptist Cult. False and ancient data about so called homosexual pedophiles dominating sexual abuse cases, and other nonsense in an attempt to establish whataboutism. Nothing new in their posts, but just the same old, same old tired BS. Bottom line calvinists, in this case they call themselves Southern Baptists, have virtually nothing in common with Christianity. They call other denominations “social clubs” holding themselves to be above mainstream Christian churches while all along don’t have a clue as to the teachings of The Christ.

  45. Please read the Houston Chronicle article or google “victim made to apologize to church for sexual assault.” Or, continue to pretend this isn’t happening or it isn’t as bad as they make it out to be. Ignore the fact that for every victim speaking out there are multiple victims who have been so shamed or so threatened that they will never tell anyone. Ignore the fact that there are thousands of Baptist addicts and suicides because of abuse inside the church. While we as parents and friends are wondering what the hell happened, the perpetrators are on to the next victim and Satan is so easily blamed.
    The Christian church is quick to offer forgiveness to the minister who stands in front of the congregation and tearfully admits that the temptations of Satan and the 14-year-old Jezebel were too much for him. Meanwhile, “Jezebel,” who was 12 when it started, has to wear the stain of being the instrument of Satan against this poor, servant of Christ. And, if you think for one second, that the 12 year old is partially to blame or that Satan was temporarily victorious over an otherwise good man, then congratulations, you have been played by the most adept of players… and his name is not Lucifer.

  46. Headlines don’t always reflect what happened – they editorialize,
    The Christian church offers forgiveness to everyone,.
    I think you have more difficulties than just my comment. Blessings

  47. Wow. The comments.

    Please understand that for every victim who has spoken up and for every perpetrator sitting in prison, there are multiples still out there. Multiple victims and multiple perpetrators. There are prominent ministers who have been covered for and will never see the inside of a courtroom because of money and power. There are victims who will never tell because they have been convinced it was all their fault, so their perpetrators are free to act over and over. There are victims who will never be heard because they have lost themselves in addiction and mental health decline to the degree that nothing they say will be believed. And there are victims who will never be heard because they silenced themselves through suicide.

    Sexual abuse at the hands of clergy is devastating to the very soul of the victim. That church is portrayed as “family” gives another level of pain. A victim of a sexual predator in the church is stripped of their sense of God as protector and faith as benevolent, of their sense of an extended family that cares for them and nurtures them, and of themselves as determiner of their own path, especially concerning their body. If their story is told and the church reacts negatively to the victim and positively to the minister, need I elaborate on the potential for harm? If the story is told and the minister is punished, the victim still bears the shame and the blame for disrupting the “family” and causing the loss of a beloved member. In a church setting, most victims cannot get past the fact that there is a sexual factor, especially among those (SBC) that value purity so highly. It is the path of least resistance to keep the shame to yourself.

    And, before the “innocent man being accused and ruined” argument is trotted out, please google stats on how often that happens and how easy it is for most sexual assault investigators to figure it out. The accusers can rarely give accurate and consistent details of dates, times and places. They will inevitably embellish in the retelling of the story and usually slip up and give times when the accused was somewhere else. These scenarios are easily avoided by actively adhering to policies about working alone with both adults and children (having those policies is the first step), not allowing pastors/ministers to counsel unless they are licensed counselors and thereby mandated reporters -meaning that any credible knowledge of abuse is reported to authorities, especially abuse perpetrated by fellow ministers. Churches, associations and conventions should be held liable for how far up the chain the knowledge went with no action taken.

    It is not a credit to Greear or the Convention that after a couple of newspaper articles were published about the subject, they are now called to action by God. Apparently, God was not at the 2008 Convention where Vasquez spoke, asking for something to be done. She was impregnated by a pastor when she was 15. The advice from church leaders was for her to have an abortion and to go quietly away. Her predator is not in jail and continued to serve in churches. Read the Chronicle article.

  48. Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy.
    I am not asking you to google for headlines, I am asking you to google and actually read the articles. You are the one who said you had never heard of a victim being made to apologize to the church. It is a thing, whether you have heard of it or not. It was a chance for enlightenment, but I gave you too much credit. For that, I am truly, deeply, sorry. I am so grateful for the forgiveness you will give for expecting you to be other than you are.
    Bless your heart, right back.

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