Baptist sex scandals

From the Huston Chronicle:

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.

Gosh, if only those Baptists were allowed to get married! Then this would never happen!

I have never known an active Baptist minister but I have met two ex-Baptist ministers, both of whom had to resign after having committed adultery with a congregant. They were both nice guys who seemed genuinely sorry for what they had done, its not my business to judge them or besmirch the Baptist church because of their failings.

But the Bapist church, like many other institutions, has to grow up. Humans need authority, even religious authority. But any system that does not foresee that frail humans put in positions of authority will be sorely tempted to abuse that authority is naïve. And any system that thinks rules against abuse of authority will prevent it is also naïve. There has to be a culture of accountability. Creating that culture is hard precisely because institutions like to shield themselves from accountability.

Any institution created for a purpose, no matter how noble, whether preaching the Gospel, educating children, or fighting crime, will eventually lose sight of that purpose and dedicate itself to self preservation and collecting rents. To preserve the institution its members have to be always going back to the original vision.


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