Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some Thoughts On The Southern Baptist Sex Abuse Problem Article In St Louis Newspaper

Sorry for the font problem I had with parts of this post .

Get Religion looks at an article on the issues of sex abuse in the Southern Baptist Church and gives some comments. See The Southern Baptists’ scarlet ‘A’

A few random observations as someone that has followed this over the years.

- Christa Brown is mentioned. She runs StopBaptistPredators.org here and runs this blog here She is part of SNAP a group that often associated with Catholic clerical abuse , but also has non Catholic members and watch dogs. I have some problem with SNAP at times , and though I often in disagreement with some of Christa Brown's stances I think she is the most rational of the crew. That is I think she is a honest dialogue partner as to this issue.

 She has a tendency to bring in other unrelated theological issues , but as SNAP goes she is one of the least offenders. Which is why I think she get some respect across the spectrum of the SBC.

 - The press is still for some reason just focused on Catholic matters and seems unable to look at other Faith groups for the most part. I think this is partly because they do not want to take the time to understand the official structures of these Faith communities and more importantly the unofficial culture that comes into play.

- Related to this is that the line between cleric and lay person in the Southern Baptist Church becomes very blurry . For instance the music minister , the Deacon, even the youth minister become just another person at the Church if accused. Again we see this happening in coverage of other non Catholic Faith Communities

- Adding to the coverage problems is there are increasing number of Southern Baptist Churches and Missions that don't have Southern Baptist in the name. So when a allegation occurs even local journalists seem to never to make the connection to the State Convention or local  SBC aassociation

- It is pretty obvious the Southern Baptist have a sex abuse problem, ( like other Faith communities) .

- Because of the very often rural nature of the Church and community ethos that go along with that no doubt thousands upon thousands of cases will never be brought to the light of day

- I do not think it's beyond belief  that in many cases an unofficial ole boys network has helped shuffle people along while keeping the fingerprints of leaders in SBC seminaries, the SBC Convention, and State Conventions hidden . I have always thought for instance the case of Angelo Golatt in Alexandria Louisiana had a lot of SMOKE to it. 

- In the end the Southern Baptist Church ( like a good many Faith Communities) structure does not give a plaintiff and very importantly the defense attorney a defendant with very deep pockets. In most cases it will be just the local Church. So a good many cases never meet the light of day and thus never get  press attention.

- Related to the above point Southern Baptist don't seem to have written a lot down about past allegations at various levels of its structure. Thus a lack of a paper trail does not help in prosecuting cases that can be decades old or for that matter in a civil suit.

- That being said I think the local Churches have made strides recently as well as everyone else


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