The Rev. Wade Burleson has called on the Southern Baptist Convention to start a clergy sex abuse database. Burleson is senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid. He fears abusive pastor moving from church to church without being detected. Based on what I know, I think his fears are well grounded.
Burleson sees the problem clearly.
Burleson's comments stem from a recent controversy involving a ministry leader at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Miss. The Clarion Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Miss., reported Aug. 9 that Morrison Heights music minister John Langworthy had confessed to inappropriate behavior with young males at a church where he formerly worked, Prestonwood Baptist, a prominent church in Plano, Texas.
I’m all for an offenders registry, but I do not think it should be administered by SBC. Experience tells me that they will act in the best interest of their organization if it is politically risky or if public release of the information may damage their ministry. A neutral registry is required. Perhaps the SBC could help fund it? Or perhaps a philanthropist could be tapped to help in this effort. Bill Gates, are you listening? I’d be happy to run the registry. I’ve already got 6 years experience.
Heck, I’d offer my own blog to start. I’ve got a list going, but it is limited to public cases.