Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sex abuse victims' advocates go after Southern Baptists

If you read Sex abuse victims' advocates go after Souther Baptists closely, it leads one to think that not only are all catholic priests pedophiles, but all Baptists ministers are as well. Call me skeptical, but it seems like the scope of the allegations are beyond reason.

"I believe kids are not safe in Southern Baptist churches," said Brown, who runs a Web site called the Voice to Stop Baptist Predators.

Are all Baptist children at risk? I don't think so. Yet if you read Stop Baptist Predators you will think so, it reads like a pedophile rogues gallery.

  • Pastor Steve Gaines knew at Bellevue and kept quiet.
  • Minister Tom Messer knew at Trinity and kept quiet.
  • Pastor Larry Reynolds paid "hush money" in child molestation case with BGCT as a party.
  • Minister James Crittenden urged newspaper not to run Southmont story.
  • Senior Pastor Mike Roy "allowed Davies to continue working around the church's children" despite the allegations against him - and 2 more boys were molested.
  • Minister Jimmy Moore knew for decades at FBC-Farmers Branch and kept quiet, and then made the same mistake again.

There is not doubt that authority figures have the means, influence, and opportunity to take advantage of those in their care. The Catholic Church is a great example. The scale of the abuse points to systemic problems within the church, however, it is illogical to assume the same problem exist within the Baptist church. The two organizations hold little in common.  The assumption one has to draw is that pedophilia is a religious affliction.

I've had my own brush with sex abuse within a church. Just last Tuesday I was looking at the record of a deposition I gave for a case involving three members of a church I attended in the 70s. I could not substantiate the claims made by the three people bringing suit. I could only give a general impression of unease with the youth pastor/choir director involved.

The allegations were graphic, and fit the pattern of some of the stories I read at Stop Baptist Predators - only my experience indicates the allegations may be exaggerated, especially when you consider the time involved. I can barely even remember the events, how I am going to testify to in a "he said, she said" type scenario? Like I said, call me a skeptic. This reminds me of the 80s era hysteria over child sex rings, coupled with some big money lawsuits. The combination of the two makes for some level of dishonest embellishment, if not downright falsehoods.


Anonymous said...

"It is illogical to assume the same problem exists within the Baptish Church. The two organizations hold little in common"....what a shame that someone who obviously knows so little about sexual abuse is able to make such statements. Clergy sexual abuse is not a comparison of religions. It cannot be deemed "exaggerated" because baptists or any other prodistants fall outside the catholic "structure". Sexual abuse is about POWER. All it takes is someone of authority abusing someone in a lesser position, FORMALIZED OR NOT. Believe it or not, this happens in all facets of life...religious or not. "Structure" has nothing to do with whether it occurs. Structure is what is needed to fix the problem, which, by the way, is one of the ONLY things Christa is fighting for....

I respected your previous blog post on the role of churches in situations like this. I completely take it back. If it hasn't happened to you personally, STAY OUT OF IT.

Mojoey said...

anonymous - you missed my point. The structure of the Catholic clergy promotes abuse of power and with it sexual abuse. Baptists lack this same structure, so there must be something else driving the behavior. Like - something to do with the leadership role of a pastor without oversight - maybe. Or perhaps something else. In case I need to be clear: Catholics need structural reform - Baptists need structure.

And as to your STAY OUT OF IT comment. Kiss my fat ass. I've had enough in-your-face experience with just this issue to write a book, possible two. In fact, I am a god damn expert on the subject of clergy sexual abuse, abuse of power, and intimidation. Why do think I post on this subject? Because I am an atheist?

Anonymous - if you are going to tell me what to do at least have the courage to leave your name.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your response and understand your viewpoint better from your first paragraph above. I'm sorry I came across so emotionally. I agree with your additional comments and was only trying to state the same thing in my original comment, only I may not have done such a great job. I would love to leave you my name, but I am precluded from doing so because I am a victim of this abuse and am not legally allowed to openly discuss the situation due to a confidentiality agreement. "Stay out of" was intended to say that if you haven't lived this abuse, please avoid drawing conclusions that others read. If you have lived this abuse, my deepest empathies and thank you for taking a proactive role in keeping this issue out in the open. People who read this are adults who can arrive at their own conclusions and do not need me to attempt to control what is said and what is not. That would be censorship and apologize for my previous remarks.