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REL GENRL Pure evil: Southern Baptist leaders condemn decades of sexual abuse.
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  1. #1

    Pure evil: Southern Baptist leaders condemn decades of sexual abuse.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/relig...=.725bd2d5e107

    (Behind a paywall)


    ‘Pure evil’: Southern Baptist leaders condemn decades of sexual abuse revealed in investigation

    The Southern Baptist Convention’s Nashville headquarters. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
    By Kristine Phillips and
    Amy B Wang
    February 10 at 6:18 PM

    “20 years, 700 victims”

    So reads part of the headline of a sweeping investigation that has found years of sexual abuse perpetrated by hundreds of Southern Baptist church leaders against an even larger number of victims.

    The Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that nearly 400 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced sexual misconduct allegations in the past two decades. As many as 700 victims — some as young as 3 — were sexually abused, some raped and molested repeatedly, according to the report.

    But instead of ensuring that sexual predators were kept at bay, the Southern Baptist Convention resisted policy changes, the newspapers found. Victims accused church leaders of mishandling their complaints, even hiding them from the public. While the majority of abusers have been convicted of sex crimes and are registered sex offenders, the investigation found that at least three dozen pastors, employees and volunteers who showed predatory behavior still worked at churches.

    The revelations, published Sunday, have not only led to a chorus of condemnation and calls for restructuring, but have also pushed church leaders to grapple with the troubling history — and future — of the largest Protestant denomination in the country.

    “We must admit that our failures, as churches, put these survivors in a position where they were forced to stand alone and speak, when we should have been fighting for them,” J.D. Greear, who was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention last summer, said on Twitter. “Their courage is exemplary and prophetic. But I grieve that their courage was necessary.”

    The investigation comes amid a string of recent allegations of widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests and coverups by the church hierarchy. Just a few days earlier, Pope Francis acknowledged that members of the Catholic clergy had abused nuns for years.

    The Southern Baptist Convention, a fellowship of more than 47,000 Baptist churches and 15 million members across the United States and its territories, is the country’s second-largest faith group after the Catholic Church.

    Greear, who was not available for comment Sunday afternoon, addressed the investigation in forceful terms, saying in a lengthy Twitter thread that he was “broken” over what it had revealed and that it was a “heinous error” to apply Baptist doctrine in a manner that enabled abuse.

    “The abuses described in this [Houston Chronicle] article are pure evil,” Greear wrote. “I join with countless others who are currently ‘weeping with those who weep.’ ”

    Greear called for “pervasive change” within the denomination, including taking steps to prevent abuse, fully cooperating with legal authorities when people reported abusive behavior and helping survivors recover. He did not go into detail about what those steps would look like, except to say that “change begins with feeling the full weight of the problem.”

    Greear also admitted that the church had failed to listen to abuse victims, although it is unclear whether he was indicating he had personally known about any allegations within the Southern Baptist Convention. He added: “We — leaders in the SBC — should have listened to the warnings of those who tried to call attention to this. I am committed to doing everything possible to ensure we never make these mistakes again.”

    Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the revelations are “alarming and scandalous” and paint a stark portrait of the depravity of those who used their positions of power to prey on the defenseless, all under the guise of faith.

    “Nothing is worse than the use of the name of Jesus to prey on the vulnerable, or to use the name of Jesus to cover up such crimes,” Moore wrote in a lengthy post on his website. He added: “Church life has fueled the undue shame of the survivors of such abuse.”

    Southern Baptist leader encouraged a woman not to report alleged rape to police and told her to forgive assailant, she says.

    He called on churches to immediately report possible instances of sexual abuse of children and adults.

    “In all of this, the church should deal openly with what has happened in the church while caring for all those who were harmed,” he wrote. “No one who has committed such offenses should ever be in the ministry arena where such could even conceivably happen again.”

    In Texas, where the newspapers said many of the abuses happened and where the Southern Baptist Convention has some of its most prominent congregations and pastors, church leaders expressed similar feelings of alarm.

    “May there be peace upon the victims & may we do our part to make necessary changes as a convention,” Michael Criner, a senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Bellville, Texas, wrote on Twitter. Criner said he has attended and ministered at Southern Baptist Convention churches his entire life.

    Megan Lively, who accused a prominent Southern Baptist leader of encouraging her to not report to authorities that she had been raped, said that although she knew there were others with similar stories, she was shocked by the number of victims revealed by the newspapers’ investigation.

    “I can’t put into words the utter despair I felt earlier and continue to feel now,” Lively said in an email to The Washington Post.

    Lively told The Post last year that she was raped in 2003 when she was pursuing a master of divinity degree in women’s studies at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. The seminary’s president at that time, Paige Patterson, urged Lively to not report the alleged abuse to police and to forgive her assailant, she said.

    Lively said there won’t be an “overnight fix” for the problems of sexual abuse, but she’s confident in the current Southern Baptist Convention leadership.

    “They fought for me and loved me, many times behind the scenes with no public recognition in an effort to keep me safe and keep my story private. … They are working hard to make sure past mistakes are not repeated,” Lively said.

    “SBC leaders must be willing to listen to the hard stories, difficult requests” and advice from survivors to change the culture, she added.

    Victims, she said, should seek professional help and find someone with similar experiences. For Lively, that person was Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to publicly accuse former Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

    “In the worst times, I shared my heart with her, and she made me feel like I was completely normal to react the way I did,” Lively said. “Survivors need fellow survivors to walk with them. During the good and the bad.”

    Denhollander also took to Twitter on Sunday to weigh in on the report.

    “The worst part is that we have known for years. I have known most of this for years, and spoken out about it. No one wanted to listen. It did not matter enough to investigate and act,” Denhollander said. “Grief and repentance and silence to learn is the only proper response.”

    Denhollander’s husband, Jacob, said the number of instances of sexual abuse is not the primary problem.

    “Better training and protection policies can help address that,” Jacob Denhollander tweeted. “The bigger issue is that there is a pattern of leaders, who knew of the abuse, protecting the perpetrator and shaming the victims.”
    "The misfortune of many is the consolation of fools" Ancient proverb

  2. #2
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    Here is the first part of the Houston Chronicles extensive investigative report. This is only the tip of the iceberg, and only the people found guilty or who admitted their guilt. There are many more victims who were silenced and more who lacked proof.


    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/new...s-13588038.php


    Abuse of Faith

    20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms

    By Robert Downen, Lise Olsen, and John Tedesco
    Multimedia by Jon Shapley


    This collection of mug shots includes a portion of the 220 people who, since 1998, worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches and were convicted of or pleaded guilty to sex crimes.


    Published Feb. 10, 2019
    First of three parts
    Thirty-five years later, Debbie Vasquez's voice trembled as she described her trauma to a group of Southern Baptist leaders.
    She was 14, she said, when she was first molested by her pastor in Sanger, a tiny prairie town an hour north of Dallas. It was the first of many assaults that Vasquez said destroyed her teenage years and, at 18, left her pregnant by the Southern Baptist pastor, a married man more than a dozen years older.
    In June 2008, she paid her way to Indianapolis, where she and others asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and its 47,000 churches to track sexual predators and take action against congregations that harbored or concealed abusers. Vasquez, by then in her 40s, implored them to consider prevention policies like those adopted by faiths that include the Catholic Church.
    In this 2007 file photo, Debbie Vasquez holds a photo of herself at age 14, when she says she was first molested by the pastor of her church in Sanger, about one hour north of Dallas. (Donna McWilliam/Associated Press)


    "Listen to what God has to say," she said, according to audio of the meeting, which she recorded. "... All that evil needs is for good to do nothing. ... Please help me and others that will be hurt."
    Days later, Southern Baptist leaders rejected nearly every proposed reform.
    The abusers haven't stopped. They've hurt hundreds more.








    Prosecutors, convicted pastors discuss sexual assault.
    Media: Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle




    In the decade since Vasquez's appeal for help, more than 250 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reveals.
    It's not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state.
    They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.
    About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.
    How we did this story:

    In 2007, victims of sexual abuse by Southern Baptist pastors requested creation of a registry containing the names of current and former leaders of Southern Baptist churches who had been convicted of sex crimes or who had been credibly accused. That didn't happen; the last time any such list was made public was by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It contained the names of eight sex criminals.


    In 2018, as advocates again pressed SBC officials for such a registry, Houston Chronicle reporters began to search news archives, websites and databases nationwide to compile an archive of allegations of sexual abuse, sexual assault and other serious misconduct involving Southern Baptist pastors and other church officials. We found complaints made against hundreds of pastors, church officials and volunteers at Southern Baptist churches nationwide.


    We focused our search on the 10 years preceding the victims' first call for a registry and on the 10-plus years since. And we concentrated on individuals who had a documented connection to a church listed in an SBC directory published by a state or national association.
    We verified details in hundreds of accounts of abuse by examining federal and state court databases, prison records and official documents from more than 20 states and by searching sex offender registries nationwide. In Texas, we visited more than a dozen county courthouses. We interviewed district attorneys and police in more than 40 Texas counties. We filed dozens of public records requests in Texas and nationwide.
    Ultimately, we compiled information on 380 credibly accused officials in Southern Baptist churches, including pastors, deacons, Sunday school teachers and volunteers.
    We verified that about 220 had been convicted of sex crimes or received deferred prosecutions in plea deals and sent letters to all of them soliciting their responses to summaries we compiled. We received written responses from more than 30 and interviewed three in Texas prisons. Of the 220, more than 90 remain in prison and another 100 are still registered sex offenders.


    Find our records that relate to those convicted or forced to register as sex offenders at HoustonChronicle.com/AbuseofFaith.



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


    Journalists in the two newsrooms spent more than six months reviewing thousands of pages of court, prison and police records and conducting hundreds of interviews. They built a database of former leaders in Southern Baptist churches who have been convicted of sex crimes.
    The investigation reveals that:
    At least 35 church pastors, employees and volunteers who exhibited predatory behavior were still able to find jobs at churches during the past two decades. In some cases, church leaders apparently failed to alert law enforcement about complaints or to warn other congregations about allegations of misconduct.


    Several past presidents and prominent leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention are among those criticized by victims for concealing or mishandling abuse complaints within their own churches or seminaries.


    Some registered sex offenders returned to the pulpit. Others remain there, including a Houston preacher who sexually assaulted a teenager and now is the principal officer of a Houston nonprofit that works with student organizations, federal records show. Its name: Touching the Future Today Inc.

    Many of the victims were adolescents who were molested, sent explicit photos or texts, exposed to pornography, photographed nude, or repeatedly raped by youth pastors. Some victims as young as 3 were molested or raped inside pastors' studies and Sunday school classrooms. A few were adults — women and men who sought pastoral guidance and instead say they were seduced or sexually assaulted.

    Heather Schneider was 14 when she was molested in a choir room at Houston's Second Baptist Church, according to criminal and civil court records. Her mother, Gwen Casados, said church leaders waited months to fire the attacker, who later pleaded no contest. In response to her lawsuit, church leaders also denied responsibility.
    Schneider slit her wrists the day after that attack in 1994, Casados said. She survived, but she died 14 years later from a drug overdose that her mother blames on the trauma.
    "I never got her back," Casados said.


    Others took decades to come forward, and only after their lives had unraveled. David Pittman was 12, he says, when a youth minister from his Georgia church first molested him in 1981. Two other former members of the man's churches said in interviews that they also were abused by him. But by the time Pittman spoke out in 2006, it was too late to press criminal charges.
    The minister still works at an SBC church.
    Pittman won't soon forgive those who have offered prayers but taken no action. He only recently stopped hating God.
    "That is the greatest tragedy of all," he said. "So many people's faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators."




    "It would be sorrow if it were 200 or 600" cases, Boto said. "Sorrow. What we're talking about is criminal. The fact that criminal activity occurs in a church context is always the basis of grief. But it's going to happen. And that statement does not mean that we must be resigned to it."







    Gwen Casados, mother of Heather Schneider, says her daughter’s life was ruined by a pageant director at Houston’s Second Baptist Church.
    Media: Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle




    'A porous sieve'At the core of Southern Baptist doctrine is local church autonomy, the idea that each church is independent and self-governing. It's one of the main reasons that Boto said most of the proposals a decade ago were viewed as flawed by the executive committee because the committee doesn't have the authority to force churches to report sexual abuse to a central registry.
    Because of that, Boto said, the committee "realized that lifting up a model that could not be enforced was an exercise in futility," and so instead drafted a report that "accepted the existence of the problem rather than attempting to define its magnitude."
    Q&A: Investigation into sexual abuse 'shining the light of day upon crime,' Southern Baptist leader says
    SBC churches and organizations share resources and materials, and together they fund missionary trips and seminaries. Most pastors are ordained locally after they've convinced a small group of church elders that they've been called to service by God. There is no central database that tracks ordinations, or sexual abuse convictions or allegations.
    All of that makes Southern Baptist churches highly susceptible to predators, says Christa Brown, an activist who wrote a book about being molested as a child by a pastor at her SBC church in Farmer's Branch, a Dallas suburb.


    "It's a perfect profession for a con artist, because all he has to do is talk a good talk and convince people that he's been called by God, and bingo, he gets to be a Southern Baptist minister," said Brown, who lives in Colorado. "Then he can infiltrate the entirety of the SBC, move from church to church, from state to state, go to bigger churches and more prominent churches where he has more influence and power, and it all starts in some small church.
    "It's a porous sieve of a denomination."
    To try to measure the problem, the newspapers collected and cross-checked news reports, prison records, court records, sex offender registries and other documents. Reporters also conducted hundreds of interviews with victims, church leaders, investigators and offenders.
    ‘So many people’s faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators.’
    David Pittman, who says he was molested by his youth minister

    Several factors make it likely that the abuse is even more widespread than can be documented: Victims of sexual assault come forward at a low rate; many cases in churches are handled internally; and many Southern Baptist churches are in rural communities where media coverage is sparse.

    It's clear, however, that SBC leaders have long been aware of the problem. Bowing to pressure from activists, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, one of the largest SBC state organizations, in 2007 published a list of eight sex offenders who had served in Southern Baptist churches in Texas.


    EXPLAINER: What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
    Around the same time, the Rev. Thomas Doyle wrote to SBC leaders, imploring them to act. A priest and former high-ranking lawyer for the Catholic Church, Doyle in the 1980s was one of the earliest to blow the whistle on child sexual abuse in the church. But Catholic leaders "lied about it ... covered it up and ignored the victims," said Doyle, now retired and living in northern Virginia.
    Doyle turned to activism because of his experiences, work that brought him closer to those abused in Southern Baptist churches. Their stories — and how the SBC handled them — felt hauntingly familiar, he said.
    "I saw the same type of behavior going on with the Southern Baptists," he said.
    The responses were predictable, Doyle said. In one, Frank Page, then the SBC president, wrote that they were "taking this issue seriously" but that local church autonomy presented "serious limitations." In March, Page resigned as president and CEO of the SBC's Executive Committee for "a morally inappropriate relationship in the recent past," according to the executive committee.
    Details have not been disclosed, but SBC officials said they had "no reason to suspect any legal impropriety." Page declined to be interviewed.

    Other leaders have acknowledged that Baptist churches are troubled by predators but that they could not interfere in local church affairs. Even so, the SBC has ended its affiliation with at least four churches in the past 10 years for affirming or endorsing homosexual behavior. The SBC governing documents ban gay or female pastors, but they do not outlaw convicted sex offenders from working in churches.
    In one email to Debbie Vasquez, Augie Boto assured her that "no Baptist I know of is pretending that 'the problem does not exist.'"
    "There is no question that some Southern Baptist ministers have done criminal things, including sexual abuse of children," he wrote in a May 2007 email. "It is a sad and tragic truth. Hopefully, the harm emanating from such occurrences will cause the local churches to be more aggressively vigilant."
    Gwen Casados sits in her daughter's room in Houston. Her daughter, Heather Schneider, was sexually abused inside Second Baptist Church in Houston in 1994 and later died of a drug overdose.
    (Jon Shapley/Staff Photographer | Houston Chronicle)

    Offenders return to preachThe SBC Executive Committee also wrote in 2008 that it "would certainly be justified" to end affiliations with churches that "intentionally employed a known sexual offender or knowingly placed one in a position of leadership over children or other vulnerable participants in its ministries."
    Current SBC President J.D. Greear reaffirmed that stance in an email to the Chronicle, writing that any church that "proves a pattern of sinful neglect — regarding abuse or any other matter — should absolutely be removed from fellowship from the broader denomination."

    "The Bible calls for pastors to be people of integrity, known for their self-control and kindness," Greear wrote. "A convicted sex offender would certainly not meet those qualifications. Churches that ignore that are out of line with both Scripture and Baptist principles of cooperation."
    But the newspapers found at least 10 SBC churches that welcomed pastors, ministers and volunteers since 1998 who had previously faced charges of sexual misconduct. In some cases, they were registered sex offenders.
    SEARCH OUR DATABASE: We found 220 Southern Baptist church officials who were convicted or pleaded guilty
    In Illinois, Leslie Mason returned to the pulpit a few years after he was convicted in 2003 on two counts of criminal sexual assault. Mason had been a rising star in local Southern Baptist circles until the charges were publicized by Michael Leathers, who was then editor of the state's Baptist newspaper.
    Letters from angry readers poured in. Among those upset by Leathers' decision to publish the story was Glenn Akins, the interim executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association.
    "To have singled Les out in such a sensationalistic manner ignores many others who have done the same thing," Akins wrote in a memo, a copy of which Leathers provided. "You could have asked nearly any staff member and gotten the names of several other prominent churches where the same sort of sexual misconduct has occurred recently in our state."
    Akins, now the assistant executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, declined an interview request.
    Leathers resigned after state Baptist convention leaders told him he might be fired and lose his severance pay, he said. Mason, meanwhile, admitted to investigators that he had relationships with four different girls, records show.
    Mason received a seven-year prison sentence under a plea deal in which investigators dropped all but two of his charges. After his release, he returned to the pulpit of a different SBC church a few miles away.
    "That just appalled me," Leathers said. "They had to have known they put a convicted sex offender behind the pulpit. ... If a church calls a woman to pastor their church, there are a lot of Southern Baptist organizations that, sadly, would disassociate with them immediately. Why wouldn't they do the same for convicted sex offenders?"
    Mason has since preached at multiple SBC churches in central Illinois. He said in an interview that those churches "absolutely know about my past," and said churches and other institutions need "to be better at handling" sexual abuse.
    Mason said that "nobody is above reproach in all things" and that church leaders — particularly those who work with children — "desperately need accountability."
    In Houston, Michael Lee Jones started a Southern Baptist church, Cathedral of Faith, after his 1998 conviction for having sex with a teenage female congregant at a different SBC church nearby. Jones, also leader of a nonprofit called Touching the Future Today, was included on the list of convicted ministers released by the Baptist General Convention of Texas a decade ago.



    Continued in next post
    “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
    D. H. Lawrence

  3. #3
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    2nd part continued from my post above. This is the complete part 1 of a 3 part report on the Southern Baptist Church. Parts 2 and 3 will be published later.

    ***********
    In December, Cathedral of Faith celebrated its 20th anniversary at a downtown Houston hotel, according to the church's website. A flyer for the event touted sermons from Jones, another pastor and Joseph S. Ratliff, the longtime pastor of Houston's Brentwood Baptist Church.
    Ratliff was sued in 2003 for sexual misconduct with a man he was counseling. The lawsuit was settled and dismissed by agreement of the parties, according to Harris County court records and interviews. The settlement is subject to a confidentiality agreement. Ratliff has been sued two other times, one involving another person who had come in for counseling; the other involved his handling of allegations against another church official, Harris County records show. The disposition of those two cases was not available.
    Jones, Ratliff and Ratliff's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.
    'A known problem'Wade Burleson, a former president of Oklahoma's Southern Baptist convention, says it has long been clear that Southern Baptist churches face a crisis. In 2007 and 2018, he asked SBC leaders to study sexual abuse in churches and bring prevention measures to a vote at the SBC's annual meeting.
    Leaders pushed back both times, he said. Some cited local church autonomy; others feared lawsuits if the reforms didn't prevent abuse.
    Burleson couldn't help but wonder if there have been "ulterior motives" at play.
    "There's a known problem, but it's too messy to deal with," he said in a recent interview. "It's not that we can't do it as much as we don't want to do it. ... To me, that's a problem. You must want to do it, to do it."
    Doyle, the Catholic whistleblower, was similarly suspicious, if more blunt: "I understand the fear, because it's going to make the leadership look bad," he said. "Well, they are bad, and they should look bad. Because they have ignored this issue. They have demonized the victims."


    Several Southern Baptist leaders and their churches have been criticized for ignoring the abused or covering for alleged predators, including at Houston's Second Baptist, where former SBC President Ed Young has been pastor since 1978. Young built the church into one of the largest and most important in the SBC; today, it counts more than 60,000 members who attend at multiple campuses.
    Before she was molested in the choir room at Second Baptist in 1994, Heather Schneider filled a black notebook with poems. The seventh-grader, with long white-blond hair and sparkling green eyes, had begun to work as a model. She soon attracted attention from John Forse, who coordinated church pageants and programs at Second Baptist.
    He also used his position to recruit girls for private acting lessons, according to Harris County court documents.
    A day after she was attacked, Schneider told her mother, Casados, that Forse had touched her inappropriately and tried to force her to do "horrendous things." Casados called police.

    John Neal Forse is a registered sex offender. He attacked a fourteen-year-old inside Second Baptist Church in 1994. (Texas DPS)



    Casados, who was raised a Baptist, said she received a call from Young, who initially offered to do whatever he could to help her daughter. But after she told Young she already had called police, he hung up and "we never heard from him again," she said in an interview.
    It took months — and the threat of criminal charges — before Forse left his position at the church, according to statements made by Forse's attorney at the time and Schneider's responses to questions in a related civil lawsuit.
    In August 1994, Forse received deferred adjudication and 10 years' probation after pleading no contest to two counts of indecency with a child by contact. He remains a registered sex offender and was later convicted of a pornography charge.
    He is listed in the sex offender registry as transient; he could not be reached for comment.
    Church officials declined interview requests. In a statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist stated that it takes "allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse very seriously and constantly strives to provide and maintain a safe, Christian environment for all employees, church members and guests."


    IN THEIR WORDS: Victims, families and law enforcement explain the devastation that occurs when a child is abused by a religious leader
    The church declined to release its employment policies but described Forse as a "short-term contract worker" when he was accused of sex abuse. "After Second Baptist became aware of the allegations made against Forse his contract was terminated," the statement says. "Upon notification, Second Baptist Church cooperated fully with law enforcement in this matter."
    Schneider's parents filed a civil lawsuit against the church, Forse and a modeling agency. The case against the church was dismissed; its lawyers argued that Forse was not acting as a church employee. Second Baptist was not part of an eventual settlement.


    In 1992, before Schneider was molested, a lawyer for the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a court filing that the SBC did not distribute instructions to its member churches on handling sexual abuse claims. He said Second Baptist had no written procedures on the topic.
    The lawyer, Neil Martin, was writing in response to a lawsuit that accused First Baptist Church of Conroe of continuing to employ Riley Edward Cox Jr. as a youth pastor after a family said that he had molested their child. In a court filing, Cox admitted to molesting three boys in the late 1980s.
    Young, SBC president at the time of the lawsuit, was asked to outline the organization's policies on child sexual abuse as part of the lawsuit. He declined to testify, citing "local church autonomy" and saying in an affidavit that he had "no educational training in the area of sexual abuse or the investigation of sexual abuse claims."
    Young also said he feared testifying could jeopardize his blossoming TV ministry.

    Leaders of Second Baptist have been similarly reluctant to release or discuss their policies on sexual abuse in response to two other civil lawsuits related to sexual assault claims filed in the last five years, court records show. Those suits accuse the church of ignoring or concealing abuses committed by youth pastor Chad Foster, who was later convicted.

    Another civil lawsuit asserted that Second Baptist helped conceal alleged rapes by Paul Pressler, a former Texas state judge and former SBC vice president. In that suit, brought by a member of Pressler's youth group, three other men have said in affidavits that Pressler groped them or tried to pressure them into sex. Second Baptist, however, has been dismissed from the suit, and the plaintiff's sexual abuse claims against Pressler have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired.


    Pressler has been a prominent member of Second Baptist for much of his adult life.
    In its statement to the Chronicle, Second Baptist said "our policy and practice have been and will continue to be that any complaint of sexual misconduct will be heard, investigated and handled in a lawful and appropriate way. Reports of sexual abuse are immediately reported to law enforcement officials as required by law."
    In this 1986 file photo, Dr. Ed Young stands in front of a new worship center at Houston's Second Baptist Church. Young in the 1990s served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
    (John Van Beekum | Houston Chronicle)

    'Break her down'Another defendant in the lawsuit against Pressler: Paige Patterson, a former SBC president who, with Pressler, pushed the convention in the 1980s and 1990s to adopt literal interpretations of the Bible.
    Paul Pressler, pictured in this 1999 photo, is a former Texas state judge and prominent Southern Baptist figure. Multiple men have alleged in a lawsuit that Pressler raped, molested or tried to pressure them into sex, though those claims have since been dismissed because they were filed after the statute of limitations had expired. (Houston Chronicle file)



    In May of last year, Patterson was ousted as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after he said he wanted to meet alone with a female student who said she was raped so he could "break her down," according to a statement from seminary trustees.

    But his handling of sexual abuse dates back decades. Several women have said that Patterson ignored their claims that his ex-protégé, Darrell Gilyard, assaulted them at Texas churches in the 1980s; some of those allegations were detailed in a 1991 Dallas Morning News article.


    The Gilyard case bothered Debbie Vasquez. She feared other victims had been ignored or left to handle their trauma alone.
    When Vasquez became pregnant, she said, leaders of her church forced her to stand in front of the congregation and ask for forgiveness without saying who had fathered the child.

    She said church members were generally supportive but were never told the child was their pastor's. Church leadership shunned her, asked her to get an abortion and, when she said no, threatened her and her child, she said. She moved abroad soon after.
    Vasquez sued her former pastor and his church in 2006. In a deposition, the pastor, Dale "Dickie" Amyx, admitted to having sex with her when she was a teenager, though he maintained that it was consensual. He acknowledged paternity of her child but was never charged with any crime. Amyx was listed as the church's pastor as late as 2016, state Baptist records show. He could not be reached for comment.
    Amyx denies that he threatened or physically assaulted Vasquez. He and his employer at the time of the lawsuit — an SBC church Vasquez never attended — argued that Vasquez exaggerated her story in an attempt to get publicity for her fight for reforms, court records show.
    Amyx wrote an apology letter that Vasquez provided to the newspapers; her lawsuit was eventually dismissed, but she continued pressing SBC leaders, including Patterson, to act. In one series of emails, she asked Patterson why leaders didn't intervene in cases such as Gilyard's.


    Patterson responded forcefully, writing in 2008 that he "forced Gilyard to resign his church" and "called pastors all over the USA and since that day (Gilyard) has never preached for any Southern Baptist organization."
    In fact, Gilyard preached after his Texas ouster at various churches, including Jacksonville's First Baptist Church, which was led by former SBC President Jerry Vines. It was there that Tiffany Thigpen said she met Gilyard, who she said later "viciously" attacked her.

    Thigpen, who was 18 at the time, said that Vines tried to shame her into silence after she disclosed the abuse to him. "How embarrassing this will be for you," she recalled Vines telling her. As far as Thigpen knows, police were never notified.
    Gilyard was convicted in 2009 of lewd and lascivious molestation of two other teenage girls, both under 16, while pastoring a Florida church. He found work at an SBC church after his three-year prison sentence, prompting the local Southern Baptist association to end its affiliation.
    Neither Vasquez nor Thigpen have forgiven SBC leaders for their inaction.
    Vasquez: "They made excuses and did nothing."


    Thigpen said of Vines in a recent interview: "You left this little sheep to get hurt and then you protected yourself. And I hope when you lay your head on your pillow you think of every girl (Gilyard) hurt and life he ruined. And I hope you can't sleep."
    Patterson and Vines did not respond to requests for comment. Heath Lambert, now senior pastor at First Baptist in Jacksonville, said in a statement that "we decry any act of violence or abuse."
    Former SBC President Paige Patterson speaks to the Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio in 2007. Last year, Patterson was ousted as head of a Fort Worth seminary for his mishandling of reports of rapes made by female students. (Morris Goen/San Antonio Express News)


    'Lethal' abuseDefensive responses from church leaders rank among the worst things the abused can endure, says Harvey Rosenstock, a Houston psychiatrist who has worked for decades with victims and perpetrators of clergy sexual abuse. They can rewire a developing brain to forever associate faith or authority with trauma or betrayal, he says.
    "If someone is identified as a man of God, then there are no holds barred," he said. "Your defense system is completely paralyzed. This man is speaking with the voice of God. ... So a person who is not only an authority figure, but God's servant, is telling you this is between us, this is a special relationship, this has been sanctioned by the Lord. That allows a young victim to have almost zero defenses. Totally vulnerable."
    Rosenstock is among a growing number of expert clinicians who advocate for changes in statute of limitations laws in sexual abuse cases. They cite decades of neuroscience to show that those abused as children — particularly by clergy — can develop a sort of Stockholm syndrome that prevents them for decades from recognizing themselves as victims.

    Such was the case for most of David Pittman's life.
    "Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine — whatever would quiet my mind and diminish what I was feeling, because I wanted to be numb," he said. "I didn't want to feel any of it."
    An athletic child with an incarcerated father, Pittman said he had dreamed about joining the youth group at his church near Atlanta since he was baptized there at age 8.
    There, he could play any sport he wanted, and at 12 he found in the youth pastor a much-sought father figure. The grooming started almost immediately, he said: front-seat rides in the youth pastor's Camaro; trips to see the Doobie Brothers and Kansas in concert; and, eventually, sleepovers during which Pittman said he was first molested. Pittman said the assaults continued until he turned 15 and the youth pastor quietly moved to a new church nearby.
    "For the longest time, I wouldn't even admit to myself that it happened," he said.
    Three decades later, in 2006, Pittman learned that his alleged abuser was working as a youth minister in Georgia. Though Georgia's statute of limitations had by then elapsed, Pittman and others came forward with allegations.
    Like Pittman, Ray Harrell grew up without a male figure in his life. His father left early, he said, and his mother later "threw herself" into the church. Eventually the youth minister started babysitting Harrell, then a pre-teen. Harrell still remembers the minister's stuffed monkey, which was used to "break the ice," he said.
    "This is a youth minister and the only male influence in my life and so I never thought anything about it," Harrell said in an interview. "And when the abuse started.... I knew it was wrong, but this is somebody I was supposed to believe in, to look up to, who was in the church."
    Pittman reached out to the church's lead pastor and chairman of the church's deacons.
    The deacon said in an interview that he confronted the youth minister and "asked him if there had ever been anything in his past and he acknowledged that there had been." The minister also told the deacon that he had gotten "discreet" counseling, the deacon said.
    The youth minister resigned, after which the deacon and others began looking through a Myspace account that he had while employed at the church. On it, the deacon found messages "that the police should have," he said.

    The deacon said he provided the Georgia State Baptist Convention with evidence that the youth minister should be barred from working in churches.
    The youth minister who Pittman and Harrell say abused them still works at an SBC church in Georgia. The church's lead pastor declined to say if he was ever made aware of the allegations, though Pittman provided emails that show he reached out to the pastor repeatedly.
    The youth minister did not return phone calls. Reached by email, he declined to be interviewed. The newspapers are not identifying him because he has not been charged.
    Anne Marie Miller says she, too, has been denied justice. In July, Mark Aderholt, a former employee of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and a former missionary, was charged in Tarrant County with sexually assaulting Miller in the late 1990s, when she was a teenager. Texas eliminated its statute of limitations for most sex crimes against children in 2007.
    In 2007, Miller told the SBC's International Mission Board about Aderholt after he was hired there, prompting an internal investigation that officials said supported her story. Aderholt resigned and worked at SBC churches in Arkansas before moving to South Carolina, where he worked for the state's Baptist convention.
    Miller, meanwhile, was told to "let it go" when she asked mission board officials about the investigation.
    ‘Well, they are bad, and they should look bad. Because they have ignored this issue.’
    the Rev. Thomas Doyle, who has urged SBC leaders to act on sexual abuse

    "Forgiveness is up to you alone," general counsel Derek Gaubatz wrote in one 2007 email. "It involves a decision by you to forgive the other person of the wrongs done to you, just as Christ has forgiven you."
    After Aderholt's arrest, a mission board spokeswoman said it did not notify his future SBC employers about the allegations in 2007 because of local church autonomy. The board also said that Miller at the time did not want to talk with police. She says that was because she was still traumatized.
    The charges against Aderholt are pending.
    Miller, 38, lives in the Fort Worth area. She says she has received support from Greear, the new SBC president. But she's skeptical that the SBC will act decisively.
    "I was really, really hopeful that it was a turning point, but I've been disappointed that there hasn't been any meaningful action other than forming committees and assigning budgets, which is just good old Baptist red tape," Miller said. "That's just what you do — you form a committee, and you put some money towards it and no change actually happens."
    The election last year of Greear, the 45-year-old pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, N.C., was seen as a signal that the SBC was moving away from more rigid conservative leaders such as Patterson. Greear has launched a group that is studying sexual abuse at the request of Burleson and others.
    Unlike in 2008, Burleson last year directed his request for a sex offender registry to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which does moral advocacy on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the first time, the study of his proposal has been funded.
    But Greear said in an email that he is limited by local church autonomy.
    "Change has to begin at the ground level with churches and organizations," he wrote. "Our churches must start standing together with a commitment to take this issue much more seriously than ever before."
    In this 1979 file photo, attendees of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting, held that year in Houston, form a "human cross" in the Astrodome.
    (John Van Beekum | Houston Chronicle)

    Tell us your story
    Do you have information about sexual misconduct in Southern Baptist churches? Help us investigate by telling us your story. Fill out our confidential questionnaire here.
    Last edited by TerryK; 02-10-2019 at 10:32 PM.
    “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
    D. H. Lawrence

  4. #4
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    Terribly shocked to see that it wasn't "just" RC's.

    Or, well, a church made by and of men.
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    The BEST in Life:
    To CRUSH your enemies.
    To see them driven before you
    To listen to the lamentations of their women

  5. #5
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    American "Christians" should be a formidable voting block.

    They ain't.

    There seems to be some discrepancies WRT basic ........UMMMMM, moral values.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

    Member: Nowski Brigade

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  6. #6
    So is this leading up to an overall thinking that if Christianity were controlled by the government, these predatory acts would lessen? Two elements at work: Christ and Christian behavior within the organized church has been greatly watered down, and true Christian behavior is hated by all that is seculuar. I do not argue that the above has not happened: I argue that there are motives greater than just identifying and punishing sexual aggression in Protestant churches.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by parable View Post
    So is this leading up to an overall thinking that if Christianity were controlled by the government, these predatory acts would lessen? Two elements at work: Christ and Christian behavior within the organized church has been greatly watered down, and true Christian behavior is hated by all that is seculuar. I do not argue that the above has not happened: I argue that there are motives greater than just identifying and punishing sexual aggression in Protestant churches.
    It starts with the 501c3 trap.
    Proud Infidel...............and Cracker

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  8. #8
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    Is it God you worship or is it religion ?
    Attached Images

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Millwright View Post
    It starts with the 501c3 trap.
    And though I know, or have known, a dozen or more great pastors, during the last 35 years, I have not known one who has ever attempted to lead his church away from 501c3. I agree with you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by parable View Post
    So is this leading up to an overall thinking that if Christianity were controlled by the government, these predatory acts would lessen? Two elements at work: Christ and Christian behavior within the organized church has been greatly watered down, and true Christian behavior is hated by all that is seculuar. I do not argue that the above has not happened: I argue that there are motives greater than just identifying and punishing sexual aggression in Protestant churches.
    I don't think it has anything to do with the government trying to control anything. Every church, whether they be mainline, or so called "non-denominational" where people get together on a regular basis and pretend to know what "God" says, is subject to the same abuses and crime that is part of human nature in general. Sometimes much more so because of the levels of trust and respect involved.

    My point is, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, or any other beliefs, are basically the same as far as having their share of bad people.
    “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
    D. H. Lawrence

  11. #11
    Pittman won't soon forgive those who have offered prayers but taken no action. He only recently stopped hating God.
    "That is the greatest tragedy of all," he said. "So many people's faith is murdered. I mean, their faith is slaughtered by these predators."
    There is a reason the Bible tells us that for anyone who hurts a child, it would be better for the offender to have a millst9ne tied to their neck and be thrown into the sea... because they WILL see justice at the Judgment, and it won't be pretty. God places great value on innocents.

    Summerthyme

  12. #12
    I don't think this is an attempt to put "the government" (or whomever) in charge of churches, I think this is something that is simply finally seeing the light of day because people are now more willing to talk about it.

    I saw this problem over and over again in the 1970s with variations on a theme, in California it was more the older kids in a youth group running somewhat "wild" because no one was really paying attention to what they did; when we moved to Mississippi it was more often Youth Pastors and sometimes the regular ones getting involved with underaged teens; though to be fair back then the age of consent in most places was lower, the issue was that in theory sex wasn't supposed to be happening outside of marriage even if the 14-year-old might be technically legal.

    The abortion story doesn't surprise me at all, as sort of a "Dear Abby" from a young age (that ENFP thing again people tell me their problems from the playground on) it became very clear to me that the "hatred" of abortion on the part of a lot of "church-going" people (at least at that time in the Deep South) only extended to when it didn't affect them.

    Statutory rape victims of powerful men both inside and outside the church - or anything that might cause a scandal were often dealt with by "good families" being encouraged to "send their daughter to New Orleans" which was a euphemism for getting an abortion since no hospital in Mississippi would perform them at the time.

    I came to view the whole idea of "Youth Pastors" when there was only one of them and they were often only a few years older than their charges to be a rather dangerous institution especially when so often there was little or no oversight.

    The "classic" was the young man just out of seminary, cute as a button and then surrounded by teenage girls and hormones - not a good mix.

    The other version - the young man who just got out of seminary with a conflicted sexual identity he's never admitted to also happened but that simply wasn't talked about because "nice" people didn't talk about things like that.

    Girls who were abused (and it got noticed or she became pregnant) were Jezebels; boys who were abused were simply not believed, sworn to silence by their parents who moved churches or sent away themselves to live with a relative in another State/sent off to military high schools etc.

    I am sad to see that as the scandal eruption in Scouting here in Ireland (hundreds of cases and we are not a large country) that this may be as widespread as it seemed when I was in college and had a ringside seat.

    It probably happens in all religious institutions to some degree, but US Baptists are especially badly set up to police this sort of thing inside their own ranks because unlike say the Methodists; there is no real central organization that an keep a registry or "defrock" clergy.

    In the Catholic Church is was the power structure that protected the guilty and with the Southern Baptist it may be the opposite problem but the results are still the same.

    My suggestion to anyone on a Churh board or other community program is:

    Never allow a single adult to be in charge of a group of children or young people - always have at least two preferably of different genders and they should at least have a limited background check.

    That doesn't stop this sort of thing but it makes it more difficult and removes an entire bus full of hormonal teenagers in the choir alone with young Rev. Studly Good-Looking who may have a real "calling" but is also a humane being.

    Taking that step won't stop this sort of abuse but it may both make it less likely and a bit more likely to be notice (or reported) if it happens.

    Not all people (including religious leaders) are monsters but they are all human and positions of "power" including religious leadership can easily tip into positions of abuse when there are no safeguards in place.

    That happens in the Vatican as well as your Local Pagan Grove or Hindu Temple or First Baptist ...
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  13. #13
    PS I should also add that I also noticed a sad tendency on the part of "Church Elders" (almost always men) to "blame the victim" for "leading a good man into temptation" over and over again when these situations could not be covered up or ignored.

    The young women who had to ask the congregation for forgiveness for having an out-of-wedlock child but told not to mention the father (the Pastor) are sadly not unheard of.

    My hope is that things have changed over the years, if nothing else DNA testing and judges orders for child support is much more likely - in the "old days" proving a father was (as one of my favorite authors SM Sterling put it) "an opinion" now it can be "a fact."
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  14. #14
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    Finally, the truth comes out! Growing up in, and being involved with the Southern Baptist denomination, I've seen and heard my fair share of these types of stories. That's why I've said all along that it isn't just the RCC.

    Our youngest son's pastor and youth director were caught in sexual scandals with the young girls at their church. Pastor was just made to resign, and the youth director is still in prison for his deeds. This was a Missionary Baptist church.


    Sexual perversion knows no denominational/religious bounds.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryK View Post
    I don't think it has anything to do with the government trying to control anything. Every church, whether they be mainline, or so called "non-denominational" where people get together on a regular basis and pretend to know what "God" says, is subject to the same abuses and crime that is part of human nature in general. Sometimes much more so because of the levels of trust and respect involved.

    My point is, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, or any other beliefs, are basically the same as far as having their share of bad people.
    Thanks for clarifying my point, Terry.
    RULE 1:
    THEY want you DEAD.

    "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my brothers' children (and their parents) may have peace, and have NO KNOWLEDGE of what I have done."

    The BEST in Life:
    To CRUSH your enemies.
    To see them driven before you
    To listen to the lamentations of their women

  16. #16
    On the one hand TerryK is exactly right.

    However concerning the 501c classification may be wrong. Having the 501c classification means it hangs over the "church" as a threat for compliance. As in:

    If you don't allow homosexuals to teach your sunday school students about an alternative live style you will loose your 501c classification.

    So instead of loosing the classification they submit to the government.

    Never think for a minute that money isn't a big part of any organized religion. If you don't believe me just turn on your TV.

    Money and power is the crux of any government, and it is so in any religion.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaryC View Post
    On the one hand TerryK is exactly right.

    However concerning the 501c classification may be wrong. Having the 501c classification means it hangs over the "church" as a threat for compliance. As in:

    If you don't allow homosexuals to teach your sunday school students about an alternative live style you will loose your 501c classification.

    So instead of loosing the classification they submit to the government.

    Never think for a minute that money isn't a big part of any organized religion. If you don't believe me just turn on your TV.

    Money and power is the crux of any government, and it is so in any religion.
    I didn't mention anything about a 501c. That was someone else.

    First, the main purpose of both government and religions are to control people, and they frequently end up abusing those they pretend to have moral authority over. I do agree that both seek power over people, however I do not believe that ALL churches are about money.
    Many are, but not all.

    Second, my neighbor is a Baptist pastor and, trust me, there is no homosexuals teaching at his Sunday school. He is not forced to allow any such teachings you mentioned or indeed anything that goes against their religious beliefs.
    We are about as different is our religious beliefs as two people can be, but we find common ground in that we are both conservatives and work together with our local Republican Party office. It's going to be interesting talking to him about this latest Southern Baptist investigation.
    Knowing him, he'll likely be the first to condemn those who were supposed to be moral leaders for abusing the trust their flock placed in them.
    “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”
    D. H. Lawrence

  18. #18
    First of all, it was in your reply to someone else referencing 501c's:

    I don't think it has anything to do with the government trying to control anything.
    Second, it was a "for instance" of a possibility not a fact, note the "as in".

    Government oversight has been used in lots of cases for regulation, no need to think it hasn't been, or will not, be used in the future.

    Just wait until the government forces churches to set up unigender bathrooms. OR loose their 501c classification.

    What if a homosexual who is leading the choir, or youth director (not fiction is actual fact they are, could name you several) feels like a woman today and uses the woman's bathroom, and gets taken down etc. by it? Will a lawsuit follow? Will the church loose? Will they loose their 501c classification if they don't abide by the ruling?

    I wasn't picking on you either, I think you hit most of it on the head.

    BTW you might consider checking out the President of the Ethic's Committee for the SBC. Stanch supporter of homosexuals, and the Progressive Liberal understanding of scripture (it doesn't mean what it says, and it is a living document therefore it changes with the changes of society).

  19. #19
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    Back in the 80's there were 2 big scandles in the New Orleans area. Jimmy Swaggert and Marvin Gorman. They were actually two competing pastors and both got caught with their pants down. Gorman has passed on but ole Jimmy Swaggert is still crying and singing on television begging for money. Swaggert got caught with a hooker on Airline Hwy and Gorman was getting it on with church members.

    Judy

  20. #20
    In my professional life I worked for one of the largest Bible and Christian book publishers in their ministry division. We worked with most of the well known TV ministries. We were aware of many of the scandals across denominational lines.

    My pastor husband and I were also aware of scandals in our own denomination. In our circles, back in the eighties one of the best known pastors who in his day had one of the largest churches in the country and could draw thousands to hear him preach was involved in a long term affair with his church secretary.
    When the scandal broke our prayer was that other pastors would call him into accountability, and hopefully he would repent and then be restored. He refused to repent, and too many other well known pastors wanted to sweep it under the rug. He was handled like the banks who were to big to fail. This man's son was even worse.
    We left our branch of the denomination because of how these issues were handled.
    In many denominations the victims were blamed as damaging the "man of God" if they pursued the allegations.

    Also, I believe youth pastors should be married.
    Ginger

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee gal
    Also, I believe youth pastors should be married.
    I don' think that would matter. The youth pastor at my son's church was married with two small children. That didn't stop him from abusing the younger teenage girls in the youth group. The pastor was caught in his study at the church watching child porn. He was also married with grown children.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee gal View Post
    In my professional life I worked for one of the largest Bible and Christian book publishers in their ministry division. We worked with most of the well known TV ministries. We were aware of many of the scandals across denominational lines.

    My pastor husband and I were also aware of scandals in our own denomination. In our circles, back in the eighties one of the best known pastors who in his day had one of the largest churches in the country and could draw thousands to hear him preach was involved in a long term affair with his church secretary.
    When the scandal broke our prayer was that other pastors would call him into accountability, and hopefully he would repent and then be restored. He refused to repent, and too many other well known pastors wanted to sweep it under the rug. He was handled like the banks who were to big to fail. This man's son was even worse.
    We left our branch of the denomination because of how these issues were handled.
    In many denominations the victims were blamed as damaging the "man of God" if they pursued the allegations.

    Also, I believe youth pastors should be married.
    Personally, I wish you would out these guys, and denominations.

    The reason I state that about yours, and not about mine is, your sounds to be more national, and mine are more local, so don't think anyone would know them.

    And to be honest, they are either in jail, or out of the ministry. However, the same thing seems to keep happening in the same churches, although with different people. Odd no?

    And on the national scene I have outed Russell Moore.

  23. #23
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    The only denomination I know of that doesn't seem to have a boxcar full of skeletons are the Mormons.

  24. #24
    LOL you're a gas.

  25. #25
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    Home Church looks more promising everyday.
    Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon· hú ðá æþelingas ellen fremedon. - Listen! We of the Spear-Danes in the days of yore, of those clan-kings heard of their glory. How the worthy princes performed courageous deeds!

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by naegling62 View Post
    Home Church looks more promising everyday.

    For those who have turned their backs on organized religion, because of the lack of truth taught and the corruption involved, yes it does. That's what we've done.

  27. #27
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    Money is the root of all evil. Remove the money, remove the evil. Would be interesting to see which church can live by faith alone. (This medicine can be applied to political parties as well)

    FORTE EST VINUM, FORTIOR EST REX, FORTIORES SUNT MULIERES:

    SUPER OMNIA VINCIT VERITAS.


  28. #28
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    Just like the government, these mega-churches and organizations will never effectively police themselves.

    There is a simple solution to the sex abuse problem -- for the future: If a female wants/needs counseling, she MUST be attended by another female, at least one, during the counseling. Same principle applies to both males and females of all ages at any church activity. Yes, I understand that many will avoid counseling like the plague if it involves more than one person. But the person could be referred to professional counselors (which also need "companion listeners, IMO) which would avoid anyone in the church or immediate family from being able to gossip. All of those changes will be expensive and inefficient, yes, but it's a start. There are zero "safe" places anymore and the old "safety in numbers" comes into its own again. And most important of all, young children need to be taught, repeatedly, that it's not okay for ANYONE to touch their body unless they have permission. And I mean Young, probably as soon as potty training is over.

  29. #29
    Willowlady your ideas are fairly close to what I was thinking, it won't always be practical or possible but as a general rule, NO one under 18 should EVER be alone with just one adult in authority for any length of time or behind closed doors.

    Exceptions can be made in certain situations, but if there is counseling or something going on than another adult should at least be right next door; even better is for at least someone involved to have full professional credentials.

    Nothing is perfect, but some prevention and common sense can help limit both the temptations and the actions.

    I always thought to have twenty-something male youth pastors running Teenage Youth Groups ALONE; was just kind of "asking" for it; even if they are married the temptations and the drama are just asking Mother Nature to produce some rather undesired results.

    Much better to simply always have at least two adults present, that isn't perfect but help keep down the "secret" meetings etc.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zagdid View Post
    Money is the root of all evil. Remove the money, remove the evil. Would be interesting to see which church can live by faith alone. (This medicine can be applied to political parties as well)
    Not quite.

    1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote. - William E. Simon

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by parable View Post
    So is this leading up to an overall thinking that if Christianity were controlled by the government, these predatory acts would lessen? Two elements at work: Christ and Christian behavior within the organized church has been greatly watered down, and true Christian behavior is hated by all that is seculuar. I do not argue that the above has not happened: I argue that there are motives greater than just identifying and punishing sexual aggression in Protestant churches.
    Excellent reasoning.

    I'd like to explore these "government motives," and will start another thread so we don't sidetrack this one. I think we all know the state attorney generals didn't all wake up feeling altruistic and saying, "Let's help these victims." I'll share my thinking, and invite whoever is interested to join in here:

    http://www.timebomb2000.com/vb/showt...03#post7180803
    "As the rising of the sun is clear to all, so the glory of the Lord fills all his works."

  32. #32
    We can't help but feel horror and anger (most of us) when hearing of exploited Innocents, institutionalized abuses flourishing, and broken psyches that in some cases will never heal properly.

    I am not dismayed and discouraged though, it leaves me feeling hopeful and happy. Exposures of these distasteful realities means we're further along the road of fixing them. How will we rebuild all of these institutions? The potential opportunity is also exciting, imo.
    Thoughts are things. Thus I'm careful of the thoughts I think, & the company I keep.
    I myself am entirely made of flaws, stiched together with good intentions.
    MOON™~> all in the ignorant opinion of an uneducated slip of a woman who keeps forgetting to mind her manners, know her place and bow down to her betters

  33. #33
    Interesting that the Pope signs a covenant with Islam
    and suddenly Catholic Priest pedophiles are forgotten
    and they suddenly discover Baptists
    Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than a pesky raven?
    It is difficult to stand idly by and watch the vacuum of ignorance being filled with lies

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Green County, Kentucky
    Posts
    10,367
    I think one reason that these things happen in the first place is because abusers/molesters go where they can most easily find vulnerable victims, and churches and their activities are easy targets. Better background screening would probably get rid of some of them. We in the Christian community tend to be naive and too trusting -- we impute to others our own motives and morals, and that doesn't always prove to be true.

    Also, even if a person wasn't inclined that way when they started out in the ministry, lax policies can make it too easy for temptation to be acted on. If the churches had policies which included ALWAYS having at least two adults (preferably three or four) present at any activity with children involved, and NEVER allowing a male above puberty to be alone with a female or a child (for their protection as well as to protect the women and children), it would go a long way to eliminating these abuses.

    I just read an article by Dr. Albert Mohler about this issue -- if I can find it again, I'll post it here.

    Kathleen

    ETA: https://albertmohler.com/2019/02/11/...VsEWRczk-6ZTDs

    The Reality of Sexual Abuse Hits Home: What Happened? What Do We Do Now?
    February 11, 2019

    A massive investigative report appeared in the Sunday editions of the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News. The headline was direct — “20 years, 700 victims: Southern Baptist sexual abuse spreads as leaders resist reforms.”

    This article, the first of three, contains sophisticated investigative journalism as the team of reporters distills harrowing accounts of rampant sexual abuse in the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The article reveals two chilling and horrifying patterns that have plagued the SBC—first, the reality of sexual abuse committed by church leaders and pastors, and second, the unwillingness of churches to investigate the claims made by the victims of sexual abuse. Indeed, the report uncovers many cases where pastors who committed sexual violence left one church only to secure a pastorate in a different church where they continued to carry out such acts.

    The report states, “It’s not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct… That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned.” The disturbing narrative only increased when the article noted that sexual abusers “left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.”

    The report detailed some 220 offenders who either stand convicted or took plea deals, while dozes of cases await adjudication. The demographic of offenders included pastors, youth ministers, Sunday school teachers, deacons, and church volunteers. Nearly 100 abusers remain behind bars while, as the article highlights, “Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.”

    A heinous cloud hangs over the SBC. This unchecked pattern of sexual abuse comes like a deluge as scores of churches and denominational structures fail to protect its most vulnerable. Serial sex abusers move from one pulpit or place of ministry to the next and continue to carry out dreadful acts of violence. Ministers of the gospel, entrusted with a sacred duty to care for the people of God in their churches, breach that trust and defame the name of Christ by their actions. These stories of sexual abuse illustrate, in a lamentable way, the barbarity of unrestrained sinful patterns. Indeed, these abusers, caught in the torrent of their rebellion, cunningly hid or minimized their atrocities while churches willfully adopted a policy of ignorance, unwilling to see abuse that stood right before their eyes. They should have seen it. Now, they must see it.

    Our first concern must be for the victims. The dark reality of this kind of abuse leads many victims to hide their trauma—they sit silent in their pews while their abusers publicly preach God’s Word. Southern Baptists, indeed, all denominations, must ensure that denominational structures and policies promote safe places for victims to make their abuse known. Failure to do so not only commits gross injustice for the abused but fosters an environment where abusers can continue their acts of sexual violence on other innocent lives. If churches capitulate on this urgent responsibility, they stand culpable for tolerating the cycle of abuse that scandalizes the churches of Christ.

    This report raises a myriad of questions. One pressing question centers on the failure of Southern Baptists to see the full, unmitigated atrocity of sexual abuse. Why has there been such failure to see the affect of this predatory behavior? The Scriptures are clear that this kind of behavior in no way marks the people of Jesus Christ.

    I would suggest that Southern Baptists, by instinct, have practiced a form of moralism that views sexual misbehavior as an isolated event—deal with it and move on. This simplistic moralism reduces sexual abuse and glosses over the severity of the crime. Sexual abuse is not an isolated act of misbehavior; it leaves in its wake scarred victims as well as malicious victimizers. Abuse of this nature snowballs. What started out as a seemingly harmless lapse in judgment becomes an avalanche of destruction.

    In light of this report and the nature of sexual abuse, an independent, third-party investigation is the only credible avenue for any organizations that face the kind of sinful patterns unearthed in this article by the Houston Chronicle. No Christian body, church, or denomination can investigate itself on these terms because such an investigation requires a high level of thoroughness and trustworthiness. Only a third-party investigator can provide that kind of objective analysis.

    Furthermore, Southern Baptists find themselves in a precarious pinch because of its core ecclesiology—an ecclesiology that upholds the full autonomy of local congregations. A Southern Baptist church, legally defined, is a church in friendly cooperation with and contributing to the causes of the Southern Baptist Convention. No denominational hierarchy exists that can force local congregations into conformity. The SBC ecclesial structure directly contrasts with the edifice of the Roman Catholic Church.

    From a historical perspective, this story highlights the collision between two Baptist realities: the historic Baptist ecclesiology that posits the autonomy of the local church, while at the same time, the prized convention structure of Southern Baptist churches who have, since 1845, worked together and combined their energies to the furtherance of the gospel around the world.

    This report from the Houston Chronicle, however, magnifies the need for a mechanism that identifies convicted and documented sexual abusers who may be considered for positions of leadership within the churches. Basic tools already exist, like background checks and sex-offender registries. Woe unto the church, ministry, or employer that fails to act and act now. The report resounds with overwhelming evidence: many churches of the SBC have failed, and its leaders must enact a strategy to reverse the tides of abuse in our churches. This strategy involves difficulties, particularly for Southern Baptists who must balance the ecclesiological convictions of the denomination with the moral imperative of halting sexual abuse in its churches. The struggle, however, must be met. Southern Baptists must pursue this predicament with conviction and alacrity. Our faithfulness to the church, to the gospel, and to God depends on our readiness to respond.

    Indeed, the SBC has had to deal with similar issues in its history. Certain theological controversies moved the SBC to redefine the essence of its membership and the requirements of churches who cooperate with the SBC. The basic principle is that a church must be “in friendly cooperation with and contributing to the causes” of the convention. The SBC amended its documents in light of the sexual revolution. Thus, a church which affirmed homosexuality could no longer remain “in friendly cooperation with the SBC” and thus removed. Some state conventions took direct action to excise churches that have demonstrated racism.

    Now, it might be that this crisis will foster a new criterion of vital importance for the churches of the SBC—a church that would willingly and knowingly harbor sexual abuse and sexual abusers should not be considered in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

    This polity in no way compromises the autonomy of the local church. The SBC, however, has the right to determine the qualifications and standards of its own membership. Thus, the SBC exists as a body of autonomous churches, in friendly cooperation with one another, who hold to the doctrines and moral expectations of Southern Baptists.

    And where is the gospel preaching that is bold to declare sin to be sin? Where are the churches that maintain godly order and biblical discipline? How could there be such a toleration of sin?

    Another issue Southern Baptist’s must reconsider is the practice of ordination. How does one even become an ordained minister in the SBC? To start, one does not become an ordained minister through the SBC. Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the SBC credentials no one; it licenses no preacher. Ordination as a Southern Baptist minister, rather, flows from the local church—a local congregation assumes the responsibility of ordination.

    This marks a crucial point where Baptists have forgotten their ecclesiological roots. In the 19th century, the most famous Baptist preacher of the age was Charles Spurgeon. The “prince of preachers” was not ordained. Like many Baptists of the era, Spurgeon considered formal ordination, beyond prayer and the laying on of hands, as foolish and confusing popery.

    Further, Baptists do not believe in any sacrament of ordination. We do not hold to a separate status of ministers—yet, we often allow that mindset to infiltrate our ecclesiology. The “ordained minister” is ordained in so far as he remains faithfully active in ministry under the authority and accountability of the local church that ordained him.

    A return to traditional Baptist ecclesiology will resituate the status of an ordained minister in its proper context. No person should simply claim the status of an ordained minister and then hop pulpit to pulpit without any investigation, background check, reference call—or, to move from one place of abuse to another. Southern Baptist ecclesiology demands that local churches hold their ministers to a higher standard—a standard in accordance with the Scriptural qualifications for pastors and ministers of the church. A.T. Robertson, renowned New Testament and Greek scholar of the 20th century, pointed to the “hasty laying on of the hands.” Churches rush to ordain an individual based on emotion or sentiment rather than a true affirmation of fitness for gospel ministry. Lackadaisical ordination will produce doctrinally dubious and morally corrupt pastors. This trend must end and churches must take responsibility for those men they ordain for ministry.

    In June of last year, J.D. Greear, the newly elected president of the SBC, appointed a task force dedicated to investigating the issue of sexual abuse in SBC churches. That task force is at work and I pray that they will be filled with God’s wisdom and quickly respond to this crisis. The vulnerable need protection and the victimizers need to be exposed.

    The trauma of this story bears tremendous anguish and heartbreak. The SBC and all who love this denomination must pray for faithfulness on this vital issue—our usefulness for the kingdom of Christ hinges on our response to this horrifying reality. To be sure, there must be heartbreak and concern—that is a place to start, but work must be done. A long road lies ahead. For the church, for the gospel, for the glory of God, we must meet this challenge with fullness of conviction and fidelity to Jesus Christ.
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    East TN
    Posts
    2,967
    I will never step inside another church. That is not what the real church is anyway.
    Susan

  36. #36
    700 instances spread over 20 years in a group of people that is 15 million in size. Would that not be about the same rate as in an other group of people that large. One instance of abuse is too much but every group of people are made up of .....well people. There are bad people everywhere in every group. Even here at Timebomb there was an incident a few years back. Of course christian leaders should do something if it becomes known but you can't just do something without proof. I'm sure some leaders acted too slow and others acted to quickly like we have seen in the news lately. And you might let things like this push you from a church or a denomination. But you should remember God instituted the church and it's still His plan. Because local church congregations are made up of people, they are not perfect. Because they are either sinners saved or sinners seeking truth and of course some wolves in sheep's clothing. The church is
    still God's plan till Jesus comes back to wrap it all up.
    'Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the
    way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes
    the difference.' Edna Ellison

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,192
    Quote Originally Posted by tnhillbilly View Post
    700 instances spread over 20 years in a group of people that is 15 million in size. Would that not be about the same rate as in an other group of people that large. One instance of abuse is too much but every group of people are made up of .....well people. There are bad people everywhere in every group. Even here at Timebomb there was an incident a few years back. Of course christian leaders should do something if it becomes known but you can't just do something without proof. I'm sure some leaders acted too slow and others acted to quickly like we have seen in the news lately. And you might let things like this push you from a church or a denomination. But you should remember God instituted the church and it's still His plan. Because local church congregations are made up of people, they are not perfect. Because they are either sinners saved or sinners seeking truth and of course some wolves in sheep's clothing. The church is
    still God's plan till Jesus comes back to wrap it all up.
    Well said!
    "As the rising of the sun is clear to all, so the glory of the Lord fills all his works."

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Texas
    Posts
    867
    Anyone in our church who works with kids has to under go a background check every 3 years. My wife and I work together and if I have the class by myself I try to get a female adult to at least sit in the class. Sometimes no one wants to help.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by raven View Post
    Interesting that the Pope signs a covenant with Islam
    and suddenly Catholic Priest pedophiles are forgotten
    and they suddenly discover Baptists
    Simple. As a moral and political force, the RC Church is gone, sucked dry by lawsuits. Word on the Street is that donations are down a full third while costs (paying off suits) are escalating rapidly. So they are yesterday.

    So the next target is.................

    The goal is to eliminate every civic entity that someone might belong to and draw strength from. That will create what I call Autonomous Man., man who stands alone with no moral or cultural support so he is ready to join the Movement and follow the Leader: el Duce, The Fuehrer or the New Czar.

    The elimination of our history is part of it. Men drew strength from the heroic deeds of their ancestors. No longer. The deeds of their ancestors have been shown to be despicable and vicious.
    "The misfortune of many is the consolation of fools" Ancient proverb

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    3,192
    Quote Originally Posted by Troke View Post
    Simple. As a moral and political force, the RC Church is gone, sucked dry by lawsuits. Word on the Street is that donations are down a full third while costs (paying off suits) are escalating rapidly. So they are yesterday.

    So the next target is.................

    The goal is to eliminate every civic entity that someone might belong to and draw strength from. That will create what I call Autonomous Man., man who stands alone with no moral or cultural support so he is ready to join the Movement and follow the Leader: el Duce, The Fuehrer or the New Czar.

    The elimination of our history is part of it. Men drew strength from the heroic deeds of their ancestors. No longer. The deeds of their ancestors have been shown to be despicable and vicious.
    Profound psychological insights.

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