February 15, 2008

More on the SBC and sex abuse

Again, h/t to the Bootlegger for the in-depth story on Ms. Vasquez battle to get the SBC to address sexual abuse in the convention. Let me say that growing up in the SBC, I never saw or experienced anything like this. I remember, however, conversations with some Baptist friends in the early 90s when the Catholic pedophile scandal was just coming to light. They were rather dismissive of the Catholics and, it seemed to me, suggested that it was all about the Catholic church. I think SOF suggested that it could happen in the Baptists as well, and that was just seen as ridiculous. That really makes this interesting:
"In his book Pedophiles and Priests, Pennsylvania State University professor Philip Jenkins determined that between .2 and 1.7 percent of Catholic priests are pedophiles. Among Protestant clergy—a group in which Southern Baptists are the largest denomination—that figure, according to the book, ranges from 2 to 3 percent.

And in a 1993 survey by the Journal of Pastoral Care, 14 percent of Southern Baptist ministers admitted to engaging in “inappropriate sexual behavior,” and a whopping 70 percent said they knew a minister who had had such contact with a parishioner."
Wow. Very interesting numbers.

And while these kinds of issues are so traumatic and tragic for those abused, the SBC's response here has not been helpful (imo).
Once she finally mustered the courage to share her story, she’s received a myriad of uncaring responses from Baptist leaders. At this point, they’ve become quite predictable: Put it in God’s hands. You will feel better if you let it go. Nothing can be done anyway. It’s in the past.

“It’s not in the past,” Vasquez says. “He’s still out there, and he’s still in the position to hurt someone.”
That kind of magical thinking is not helpful. I am not saying that God cannot assist in the healing, but this "turn it over to God" sounds more like denial than anything else.

1 comment:

Leighton said...

Forgiveness is one of those things that's redemptive if chosen voluntarily, and horrifically damaging if coerced. It seems like a straightforward "We don't believe it would be helpful to address your concerns in this matter" would be more honest and less invasive.