Changing male-dominant leadership and language that have been the norm for thousands of years may not always be easy or comfortable, but when we understand the suffering that results from failure to do so, we can change.
As an American Baptist leader, I take clergy misconduct very seriously. I want to be heartfelt in my support of the vast majority of our clergy who are people of integrity. But I will be vigilant in dealing with those who are not.
“Our sins have “found us out.” Wrongs swept under the ecclesiastical carpet or committed inside the church’s dark corners have gone public, requiring us to move beyond casual piety to encounter the pain, depth and gift of repentance.
We live and worship in religious systems that function like a moving walkway of institutional sexism. Most of us nonsexist people are still benefitting from a sexist culture moving us through sexist systems.
Churches must address three foundational issues if they are truly going to become safe spaces for children.
Sooner or later – and probably sooner – Southern Baptists will get their turn in the spotlight of still another media exposé on clergy sex abuse and cover-ups. When that happens, will anything change?
Most people wouldn’t accept excuses from a company whose product caused serious injuries to children. So why do people accept evasive explanations from a Baptist denomination for clergy sex abuse?
Investigative reporting by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram exposed widespread sexual abuse among Independent Fundamentalist Baptist pastors. It should be another wake-up call to all religious communities across the theological and denominational spectrum.
For far too long, officials of the country’s largest Protestant denomination have done nearly nothing to effectively address clergy sex abuse. The time for action is long overdue, and the SBC’s version of “studying it” does not suffice.