Saturday, June 21, 2008

Taking it to the federal level?

You know, I've been back and forth on this issue of pestering denominations, specifically the SBC, on the issue of databases regarding child molesting pastors. On one level, it sounds good, but when abusers leave a mainstream organization, they inevitably become independent. Not just 'independent Baptist', but independent as Pentecostals, Mormons (if departing from the mainstream Latter Day Saints), or other organizations that might not even be related to Christianity.

How are those organizations, separate from the SBC, supposed to keep track of criminals fleeing from the SBC? There's not exactly a media blitz regarding the SBC scandal.

It's time for federal intervention. It's time to require certain precautions in religious, or non religious, organizations that also work with children. Failure to meet those standards should result in the revoking of their tax exemption.

In the eye of most independent Baptists, and probably Southern Baptists, the idea of churches paying taxes is somehow equated with persecution. I've never understood that! I think POWs who have been tortured, or even missionaries who have truly been persecuted, can tell the difference between 'persecution' and 'inconvenience'.

Paying taxes is an inconvenience, but not persecution. Until you're waterboarded for not paying your taxes, you are not being persecuted! It also amazes me when I see young Republicans, and libertarians, freely taking advantage of federal programs they wish to cut. Don't they realize that by taking these 'handouts', regardless of their rationalizations, they have become no different than the welfare mothers they criticize?

Churches are spoiled in this country. We've given them far too much latitude, and now they twiddle their thumbs while children are being molested. I think they've made themselves impotent when it comes to social responsibility. Their theology, and rapidly changing views concerning biblical prophecy, serves only to rationalize their social impotence.

Yes, if the Southern Baptist Convention were to act on their own and create a database, that would help the SBC. There would not be any need for federal intervention if churches took the lead to police their own.

They're not. They are too addicted to politics and self interest to do anything. I believe it's a waste of time to even ask them.

We've played nice, but I would encourage activists to take this to Congress. Especially if the administration experiences radical changes after the upcoming election.

What prompted this meditation was reading this article at The World According to Bruce.

He makes some valid points with appropriate suggestions.


  • Denominations should be required to have sexual abuse databases. These databases would be available to Church hiring boards and law enforcement officials. Hiding behind local church autonomy should not be permitted to be an excuse.

  • Honestly, what is wrong with that suggestion? I don't think you can trust the SBC, or other organizations, to police themselves. In a sense, that's what we're asking them to do. We're asking them to create a database without the threat of government intervention.

    Nothing's happening. I think we can protest, send them roses, play nice, play rough, they're just not going to listen! They need to be forced by rule of law. Yes, if they did so voluntarily, there would be no need for government intervention. But the religious right has betrayed the American family at every turn. It's time to strike back with the full force of government regulation.

    This is not Bruce's opinion, by the way. These are my opinions inspired by reading his article.

    He mentions other things that are worth considering:

  • The Nursery. I am not a fan of the nursery. If there IS a nursery then it should be a room where mothers or family members care for their own children. No exceptions.

  • Would you believe I've pondered that one, myself? I don't even have kids, but it occurred to me that's an open invitation in organizations that have been lax with protecting children from sexual predators.

    Or, how about:

  • Since Youth ministries are a real conduit for sexual abuse I question the continued practice of having youth ministries, and in particular having youth ministers who are unmarried or close to the age of the youth they are ministering to. Youth ministries should be well supervised by mature people of both sexes. The same would apply for Children’s Church ministries.

  • I visited a Mormon church that did not believe in separating children from parents. Suffice it to say, it was a very noisy service! That said, it would be difficult for a child predator to be alone with a child in a church that refuses to separate children from their families.

    Bruce brings up other good ideas worth exploring.

    Click here and read the article.

    No comments: