By Danni Moss
Copyright protected, all rights reserved
This problem is not just within the SBC, it exists within all Baptist churches, and within all churches of other denominations. In fact, pedophile organizations (yes, they exist) openly recognize that churches are one of the best places to find prey because church people are generally naive and church leaders will not do anything major to stop them.
While a pedophile may be expelled from a church when they are caught, there’s a good chance they won’t be reported to the police if the pedophile sheds convincing crocodile tears (we have to forgive, remember?) And their sins almost certainly won’t follow them to the next church. This applies to clergy sexual abusers and all other abusers within the church since church people don’t want to be tale-bearers, especially in case those crocodile tears might have been real repentance. (And just to be perfectly clear – this is NOT a good reason! Crimes must be reported to the authorities and abuse in all its forms is a criminal action. If a crime is worth reporting to the authorities, it also merits warning other churches. This isn’t tale-bearing, it is being responsible.)
However, ironically, the SBC is probably the most able Baptist denomination when it comes to being able to take action against clergy sexual abuse. The SBC is the most centrally coordinated Baptist denomination in existence. While it isn’t as centrally controlled as the Catholic church or even some other Protestant denominations such as the Methodist church, there is a central organization. The mere existence of a central body, however loosely comprised, makes it possible for the organization to corporately address the issue of clergy sexual abuse.
And it is not enough just to make a “resolution” about it. A resolution is the religious equivalent to a political platform statement. At best, it is just what we would “like” to see happen. At worst it is a manipulative tool to attract voters – and SBC leadership is definitely political in function and form. This is a fact of SBC leadership structure, not an emotional statement.