"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Reason the SBC Will Not Create a Minister Sex Abuse Data Base Is Liability, Not Polity

The Daily Oklahoman's excellent religion reporter, Carla Hinton, wrote a feature article in today's Daily Oklahoman on my recommendation that the Southern Baptist Convention create a data base that tracks sexually abusive ministers. I initially proposed the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention investigate the establishment of the data base at the 2007 San Antonio Southern Baptist Convention. In 2008 the Executive Committee ruled it was impossible for the SBC to establish such a data base, a decision that Time Magazine called "one of ten most under-reported national stories of 2008."

 In Carla Hinton's story, she gives the response of Roger Oldham, the Communications Director for the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, when he was asked about my renewed call for the data base. Roger is quoted as saying,  "Nothing has changed since 2008. Burleson knows the difficulty of creating the data base. He himself indicated how it can't happen because of polity."

Roger is a  dedicated employee of the SBC and does a nice job as our Director of Communications.  I thought I might offer a gentle correction to what seems an attempt by Roger to speak on my behalf instead of the SBC. I can't recall speaking to Roger, so I'm unsure on what basis he claims I have indicated the SBC date base cannot happen because of polity. In point of fact, I have made just the opposite argument. The SBC data base is simply a data base of information. The data base will not in any way, shape or fashion affect 'local church autonomy' or violate 'SBC polity.'

The real problem with the Executive Committee creating the Southern Baptist Convention data base that tracks ministers who have been sexually abusive to others is a problem that very few people will discuss openly. The problem is one of liability.

Churches Are On the Hotseat, the SBC wishes to Keep It that Way

Right now there is no legal connection between independent, legally incorporated Southern Baptist churches and the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Churches voluntarily 'affiliate' with the Southern Baptist Convention for the purpose of missions and ministry, but there is no line of 'authority,' as there is in the Roman Catholic Church or other mainline Christian denominations. Local churches ordain ministers, not the SBC. Local churches call pastors and staff, not the SBC. Local churches fire ministers and staff, not the SBC.

Most Southern Baptists don't realize that the church to which they belong is legally incorporated by the state in which the church is located, and if a lawsuit is filed against the church, the ones on the proverbial 'hotseat' are the trustees of the corporation (church). I imagine that 95% of SBC church members could not even name their trustees, much less acknowledge that the position of trustee existed within the church. The Trustee Board is not composed of the pastors, nor the entire membership of the church, but specific men (possibly women in some churches) who have been identified in the church's legal documents as those who have the "legal responsibilities" for the decisions of the church. Trustees are the reason why churches carry what is called "Trustee Liability Insurance." When a church is sued, the trustees are sued, and the church's insurance company must protect the church (trustees) in court.

If and when a lawsuit comes against a Southern Baptist church from a victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by a SBC minister, the lawsuit will be against the "trustees" of a local church where that minister was employed, not the SBC. The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention wishes to keep it this way. A data base makes it appear to the public as if the SBC has some type of "control," "accountability," or "authority over" independent, autonomous, legally incorporated Southern Baptist churches. Though a data base would be of great assistance to Southern Baptist churches in being able to track SBC ministers who either been credibly accused of, confessed to, or been convicted in court of sexually deviant behaviors, the SBC Executive Committee would rather steer clear of a data base for reasons of liability, not polity.

The Southern Baptist Convention does not wish to be in the position of the Roman Catholic Church. Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been paid out to victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by Roman Catholic priests. More lawsuits are being filed every month against the Roman Catholic Church. The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention does not want to create a data base because when the lawsuits come, and they will be coming, the Executive Committee wants individual churches in the hotseat, not the Convention. So ....

The very reason (liability) why the Southern Baptist Convention is refusing to act on creating a data base that tracks sexually abusive Southern Baptist ministers is the same reason why trustees of churches who fail to legally, properly, and judicially deal with ministers who are guilty of sexually abusive behavior should be shaking in their boots.

43 comments:

Tom Kelley said...

I can understand the reluctance of SBC leaders to take on the potential legal liabilities of maintaining a database. As things stand now, they can truthfully say that any issues with ministerial abuse or misconduct in local churches are totally outside their control or sphere of influence, and thus avoid any legal liability.

But a lack of legal liability does not absolve a person or organization of their moral obligation to do all that they possibly can to protect the innocent.

Even if legal liability were increased by having a database, is concern over the potential cost of legal fees really a justification to do nothing, when the well being of children is at stake?

Also, there is no guarantee that doing nothing will ultimately keep the SBC off the hook legally speaking anyway. Most SBC leaders start out as ministers in local churches, and it is entirely conceivable that someone could achieve a position of high responsibility in the SBC who has a history of sexually abusive behavior that has never been directly or openly confronted or addressed. If this ever happens, the SBC itself could face direct legal liability anyway.

I am reminded of Mordecai’s words to Esther, “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

The SBC leadership can and should address this issue, even though anything they do is going to be imperfect, and there can be risks in doing so.

God will eventually bring about justice for His little ones, and the SBC does not want to be on the wrong side of that judgement.

-----
Tom

wadeburleson.org said...

Tom,

Well stated.

Wade

Anonymous said...

Maybe the pressure needs to be put on individual state conventions to establish a database if the bnational convention refuses. If the individual state conventions establish a data base, it could be networked state to state across convention bypassing Nashville. Just a thought.

JS Houston

wadeburleson.org said...

JS,

Definitely a good thought.

Bob Cleveland said...

Trusting lawyers for protection where they don't trust God?

Hmm.....

Scott said...

Wade,
Do you think that this could begin to be addressed at the State Convention level?

Tom Rich said...

Wade - I'm certainly no lawyer, but I would think this is a dangerous strategy for the SBC if it indeed is true.

If someone does bring a lawsuit against the SBC, they can seek punitive damages if they have evidence, or if they uncover evidence through deposition that points to the SBC higher ups purposely not taking action that would have prevented the harm done to a person by a molester who could have been stopped.

This could be the case especially if other denominations are taking actions that are deemed to be best practices, like establishing a database, or establishing an independent board for review of credible allegations and offering of victim's support and recovery. Especially when it is known that the SBC cooperates on so many levels but refuses to act on this one.

All it takes is one lawsuit and punitive judgement, and the SBC will take prudent steps to make sure allegations are investigated, victims are supported and helped, and that churches are warned of credibly accused predators.

Bob Cleveland said...

And I believe I shall also point out that the SBC has provided a consensus statement of faith which specifies that a local body of believers is free to publish their own statement of faith as Southern Baptists, but when they do, specifying that women can be pastors, the SBC can then throw them out.

But they cannot help the local churches by assimilating information in a manner the local church, by itself, cannot do.

And for those to point out "they can always check with the government", that's wrong on so many counts I wouldn't even know where to start. There's something like "losing its saltness" about that.

Seneca Griggs said...

Databases doesn't touch the true sociopath/psychopath. (Studies of anger management programs shows they are effective with good guys who have exploded; totally ineffective with the true serial abusers. They just become more subtle in their continuing abusing. They become even better at "gaming" the system.)
Database guarantees SBC giving is sooner or later supporting the fabled law team of Dewey Cheatum & Howe, a thought that is revolting.
Database is predicated on the somewhat liberal notion that we can bring in the kingdom thru good laws or good databases.
Finally, as well know, the devil is truly in the details.

( Not a member of an SBC church)

Myra Spearman said...

I understand the liability issue but the National Domestic Violence Registry http://www.domesticviolencedatabase.org has overcome that issue by adding those who have been convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault. Most convictions are a matter of public record and therefore available for public viewing.

Myra Spearman
Founder/President
National Domestic Violence Registry
P.O. Box 2603
Gary, IN 46403

Seneca Griggs said...

Myra Spearman's Domestic Violence Registry sounds like something churches could reference when they are hiring a staffer without attempting to remake the wheel, so to speak.

Anonymous said...

Trustees of churches don't have to shake in their boots because they are protected behind the "corporate veil" The "corporate veil" is very hard to "pierce." The insurance companies on the other hand....

The question of whether the SBC should take on a duty that it does not currently have is a simple one. SBCer's simply need to ask themselves "do we destroy the SBC completely by taking on the duty of a data base" or do we stop all the politcial pandering to those who hate the SBC and want see the SBC "pay" and "pay" big to appease their own sense of vengenance.

The people who claim to care so much about children should be looking at what can be done to protect children but also preserve and protect the SBC from being destroyed by those who hate it. Instead we only ever hear a one-note song "you're protecting chid abuser's if you won't support a database." Notice how these so-called advocates have nothing to offer in regard to protecting children but one song and that song is that which every lawyer except those with an agenda against the SBC will tell will destroy the SBC.

So how many missionary's do want taken from the mission field and which seminary do you think should be sold first to pay for these lawsuits?

Wade seems to think "liability" is somehow a dirty word. Liability means the SBC will be destroyed. Now that would make some people very happy. There are some who want to protect both the SBC and children.

Anonymous said...

Dear 'anonymous',

you wrote
"There are some who want to protect both the SBC and children."

so you think that by not keeping a data-base, the SBC will be 'preserved'?

and you think that by not keeping a data-base, children will be protected ?

But what kind of 'protection' are you offering the children, when church employees are knowingly permitted free-range among the SBC community AFTER they have been exposed as predators at their former Church,
and this is KNOWN by the SBC itself,
and their secret is kept ?

How is that 'protection'?

Perhaps you meant to write this instead?
""There are some who want to protect both the SBC and children's abusers."
Of course you didn't mean that, but that is the reality,
if no one acts responsibly.

To paraphrase a judaic saying:
"If the SBC will not stand for itself, who will ?
If the SBC will not stand for the the children,
WHAT is it ?
If not now,
when ?"

There is something profoundly sad about an organization that sacrifices the well-being of its children to preserve itself.

God won't that allow that, you know.
Those children? They belong to HIM and they are no one's to harm actively, OR PASSIVELY.

Anonymous said...

And of course the one note song "you want to protect child abuser's if you don't support a data base!"

Thanks for making my point for me!

Some of us don't want to see the innocent churches in the SBC have to pay for the bad acts of a minority. some of us think we should work at finding a way to protect children while not destroying the greatest missionary organization in history. Some of us think that the Great Commission is the ultimate work of the church.

Some only care about destroying the SBC all the while claiming to care about the "children"

A database is not going to happen. so instead of attacking everybody who understands that a database isn't going to happen how bout we figure out a way to really protect the children that isn't motivated first by a hatred of the SBC.

Anonymous said...

'The Great Commission' can not be carried out without obeying Christ's Great Commandment.

you are concerned about responsibility falling on the 'wrong' people ?

you are concerned for saving a buck ?

sorry, but your values, although valiantly 'conservative' economically fail miserably in the Kingdom of the Lord . . .

children are important there, you see, not an 'innocent' Church's 'liability' . . .

If you don't realize it, and I don't believe that you do, the general public is watching to see what the SBC does concerning 'the problem' . . .

associations that rot from within usually rot long before they fall, and the shell looks good, long before the rot gives way . . . your attitude allows for rot to occur while children are victimized.

That is unconscionable.

Protect the children.
You must do it. I don't see a choice for you. Heck, the bad publicity alone will destroy the SBC long, long before it has financial woes.

you want to preach to the world that money trumps responsibility?
No, I don't think you do.
But isn't that what you are selling?

'we protect our OWN in THIS Church, we aren't responsible for any other Church's children's welfare . . . '
that's what I am hearing from you and it's horrid.

Seneca Griggs said...

The REAL protection for children is being introduced to Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

No what you don't realize is that there are other ways that churches are protecting the children that don't include a data base.

A data base is not going to happen. Insurance companies won't allow it. The Lawyers won't allow it. So-called "bleeding hearts" like you can whine and moan all you want and waste time hating the SBC but real people within the SBC are working in real time to try to protect the children.

So basically what everyone needs to understand is that those who keep advocating a data base understand that a data base will destroy the SBC but you don't care. You think the SBC should be destroyed because it's "rotten".

Thanks again for proving another point. People who are claiming to care about children are really all about destroying the SBC. And the majority of the SBC is not willing to go along with that. No matter how much you want to hurl your vitriol and hatred at them all in the name of protecting children. The SBC has been and is a force for good in an untold multitude of lives. It's not perfect, but it certainly should not be destroyted and the world would be a worse place if you and your data base screechers had your way in the destrcution of it.

Christiane said...

I think the real 'question' is

'Would an SBC data-base have been instrumental in protecting some victims from abuse,
had it been in operation?'

If the answer is 'yes',
then the SBC has some 'splainin to do' collectively, on their knees for God . . .

repentance? absolutely.

If the answer is 'yes' and nothing is done to close that 'loop hole' that shields predators and enables them to travel from a victimized Church to an unknowing Church;
then the SBC is MORALLY culpable of a great sin against the children of all member Churches.

Please THINK ABOUT THIS . . . think about protecting the children with EVERY possible avenue of help;
not just the most convenient for the SBC's purse.

I am Catholic. My Church repents and has made changes. But the harm is done. Lives, innocent lives, were ruined. Suicides have occurred among some victims in their adult years.

Not billions of dollars can make up in God's Eyes for the suffering of one small child . . .

please think about doing ALL that is possible to protect the innocent.

Anonymous said...

Oh and by the way "the world is watching?" The world wants to destroy anything having to do with Christ. So Christians shouldn't really be judging what's right and wrong by the world.

You obviously don't care about all the children the SBC has shown Christ to all these years - children and adults - being more concerned with this world and not the eternal one. You want to destroy an institution where a small minority has been hurt by evil which is in any institution with humans and throw away all the good that the SBC accomplishes. It's not about money, but what that money has done,can do and will do for countless millions. But let's just throw that all away for the "children". That would be "horrid"

Anonymous said...

Are you saying it's okay to sacrifice those 'few' children to save the SBC's 'ultimate' mission ?

oh my goodness, I feel like I'm staring into the abyss

Anonymous said...

Nobody wants to "sacrifice" any children. Keep hurling your hate and vitriol that everyone who doesn't fall in line with the data base is evil and hates chilren. That kind of hate and vitriol is from the abyss.

For those who truly care about protecting children - tell the leaders to stop wasting time on trying to make the SBC assume the data base which is NEVER going to happen and push for some kind of not-for-profit database that churches can participate in and support(even an SBC data base could only be voluntary). There are also countless things churches can do now to protect children today. You won't get that information from the database pushers because they only care about pushing that which will destroy the SBC. Notice no one's trying to claim "oh no that won't destroy the SBC." They know it will and they don't care.

But above all beware of the wolves who's sole purpose is to destroy the SBC and has nothing to do with protecting children.

Anonymous said...

Any database could only be maintained and organized on a voluntary basis. How earth could a database help when churches are not seeking out information or sharing information from other churches already?

Anonymous said...

"build it and they will come"

answer to 'How earth could a database help when churches are not seeking out information or sharing information from other churches already?'

wadeburleson.org said...

"A database is not going to happen. so instead of attacking everybody who understands that a database isn't going to happen how bout we figure out a way to really protect the children that isn't motivated first by a hatred of the SBC."

Anonymous, I am unsure of the intent of your comment, but I can assure you that there is zero hatred in my heart for the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Wade, why don't you explain to us how the legal experts and the insurances experts are wrong when they advise the SBC that a database would destroy the SBC. Or is that you don't care if the SBC is destroyed? The SBC is "rotten" and therefore should be destroyed. Maybe you think it'd be a great thing for all Christians not just the SBC if the media kept at the SBC like it's done the Catholic Church? Maybe there are some leaders who need to be taken down a peg or tow heh?

Also since it's been several years since your last data base resolution failed could you link us to all the ways you've provided that you think the SBC could help protect children now? Ways that don't include the data base? Shouldn't advocates for children be working all over the place? Not just this one note song? Maybe you know where Christa Brown has information for churches, ideas they can put into place right now today in how to protect children in their care.

Tell us please what is your intent. Why not a non SBC affiliated database? Why does it have to be the SBC or nothing? Why is it a data base or nothing?

Thy Peace said...

ABP News > Opinion: Prestonwood saga shows clergy abuse database is overdue By Christa Brown

New BBC Open Forum said...

Good article, Wade. My photo is better though.

:-)

Tom Kelley said...

Seneca Griggs said...
The REAL protection for children is being introduced to Jesus Christ.


One of Sen's more dubious non sequiturs to date.

Wade Burleson said...

New BBC,

I agree. I am not as adept in the techno world as you!

:)

Marie said...

I think any database that was established should be across ALL denominations. What's to stop a minister who gets caught and put in the SBC database from moving to another denomination? I've known of ministers who switch denominations mid-career. For a database to be truly effective, it needs to be across all denominations.

Another step that should be taken is for ALL churches to establish policies concerning adult interaction with children. I would think the companies that provide the liability insurance for churches could require this as a condition of obtaining and keeping insurance. One church I was a part of required that all adults working with ANYONE under 18undergo a background check. Also, all children/youth Sunday School classes, Bible studies, choirs, etc., had to have at least two adults in the room. If the two adults were a married couple, there had to be a third party (since spouses can't be compelled to testify against each other). This did at times create difficulties, sometimes requiring merging of classes when people were absent, but it was a good effort at protecting kids and not providing an opportunity for an abuser. It's not perfect, because kids do begin to trust their Sunday School teacher, and they could try to prey on the child outside of the church, but at least it was a good faith effort to try to protect kids.

The SBC, at the very least, needs to educate churches on how they can protect kids within the church. Instead of just passing on the database and moving on, they should make some good effort to provide resources for churches to draw upon when something like this happens.

Christiane said...

If the SBC does what is right in the sight of God, no harm will come to it.

Look to heaven for answers, anonymous, not to lawyers and financial people.
They have no interests in heaven . . . there is nothing in heaven that would attract people who are monetary in their values anyway.

Children are under the protection of Christian people who can act on their behalf,
or not . . .

but for 'heaven's sake' don't let the reason for not taking action be 'money'. Not 'money'.

Let 'right be done' by the children first . . .
it will not destroy the SBC;
far from it . . .
it may open it to God's grace in a new way

Anonymous said...

Christiane, what you're saying is that Christians can just say you know I trust God so I think I'll jump out of this 10 story window to show Him my trust. We live in the world, He expects us to not make dumb decisions with the resources He provides.

Keep up with the hate and vitriol that data base pushers always resort to "you only want to protect child abusers and all you care about is money." They have no argument for the fact that a data base will destroy the SBC so they have to resort to calling names. It's not a question of a data base or nothing to those who are truly concerned about protecting children. Unlike people such as Wade who has done nothing for children except sing this one note. He's done nothing to promote education among the SBC except tell everyone how horrible the SBC is for not worhsipping at the feet of Christa Brown. These database pushers do nothing practical as far as educating churches on how to protect the children in their ministeries. They do nothing in providing information to churches on how they need to make sure to connect with as many other churches as possible. Data base pushers do nothing but promote that which will destroy the SBC. People against the database are trying to figure out ways to actually protect children and not destroy the SBC.

Now here's some questions you should answer. Why do the victims of the Joplin and Alabama tonadoes not count in your world view? Why do the thousands upon thousands of children who found safety, hope and peace and were shown Christ in SBC SS programs through the years not count? Why do the countless numbers of people who've been ministered to across the globe by SBC missionaries not matter? Why do those who've benefitted from SBC supported education mean nothing? That's what data base pushers want to destroy. They believe SBC is rotten to it's core. But you see only certain victims count to data base pushers because only certain victimologies can be manipulated so as to accomplish the goal of destroying the SBC. That is pure evil and God demands we stand up against evil of those who would attack His kingdom. God does not want us to buy into some scheme by man which will accomplish nothing but harm.

Christiane said...

No. I'm saying take care of the children first.

They can't protect themselves.

The right thing to do is to see that they are cared-for.

And if is 'costs' something, then it costs.

The way I see it, someone has to pay, according to you. Either the SBC will care for the children and incur some expenses, according to you.
Or the SBC will not care for the children, and then it will most certainly have hell to pay, because it knowingly chose earthly values over choosing to fully protect the sacred innocence of the Church's children, who are beloved of Christ.


If there is a 'cost' to be paid, don't let it fall on innocent children.

Please. Think about it. Pray about it.

One Salient Oversight said...

In Australia it is the law for any allegations of sex abuse within a church to be reported to the police.

Within the Anglican Diocese of Sydney (an evangelical diocese of the Anglican church of Australia) every single church pastor and assistant pastor must pass a "working with children" check before beginning work at a church. Lay leaders must also pass such a check - such as church members looking after children during Sunday School.

If an allegation of sexual abuse occurs within a church, there is a standard protocol that the church must follow. This document is the standard protocol.

These protocols were put into place after a number of high profile sex abuse allegations in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The response of this overwhelmingly evangelical denomination was to work with the government, the police and with victims groups (including secular ones) to create both a protocol to handle abuse claims, as well as to set up preventative measures.

As a result of this work, a number of other evangelical groups in Australia have followed suit and essentially replicated the same procedures and protocols. This include the Presbyterian church of Australia.

Anonymous said...

Wade:

I am glad to see that you have finally gotten around to saying what I have been saying for years on this. (emoticon missing because I don't know how to do that).

But my question is - why is that a bad thing? Shouldn't we have a system that protects missions money from plaintiff's lawyers?

Does God require us to do things stupidly to be genuine and sincere?

My second question, which no one ever seems to want to answer is this - why could not a database be started as either a for profit or non-profit company that would offer its services to SBC and other churches?

Would that not accomplish the same thing?

Finally, the post does state that there is no top down connection in the SBC as in the Catholic Church, and that is the reason ministers aren't tracked, licensed etc. by the SBC.

But that is a demonstration of how the SBC polity affects programing.

I do not sweep away the autonomy issue so easily. For a database to work properly, churches and members of churches have to comply in reporting. If they don't comply, the SBC has to have a method of punishment.

Got to go. Will write more later.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to put my name at the end of the last post.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Christiane, you keep saying the same thing and implying the same thing only trying to act like you're all sweet and spritual at it. You are spewing hate when you accuse those who oppose a data base of not wanting to put the children first.

Those people who refuse to look at alternatives to the data base are the ones who are putting their agenda of the destruction of the SBC over the protection of children. If their only agenda were protecting children they'd be doing a lot more than this one note song of pushing a data base, but instead they have done nothing all these years to try to educate churches on ways to protect children and ways churches can cooperate more affectively. Data base pushers have done nothing to protect children but bad mouth the SBC to any mddia microphone they can get in front of.

Why don't you pray about your hateful attitude toward those who see the data base for what it really is - a political tool to attack the SBC. It's not about the children. Why don't pray for God to open your eyese to this blind allegience to an SBC data base when others are proposing alternatives. This data base is simply about everyone who's ever had a gripe against the SBC using this issue for their purposes of attack.

Christiane said...

Dear Anonymous,

You wrote to me, this: "You are spewing hate when you accuse those who oppose a data base of not wanting to put the children first."

I don't mind being maligned here, but trust this:
my own Church has suffered and I can speak with some knowledge of the effect of NOT taking full action in a timely way,
and if I can make a difference by EMPHASIZING that the damage goes far, far beyond monetary penalties, then I will do that to HELP the SBC.

Here's the thing:
there is a 'choice'

and certain values have been openly declared as 'considerations' to be placed 'above' what is possible to do fully to help protect the innocent . . .

I can only relate that my Church still suffers the effects. Our members are steadfast, yes, but we are a 'community of faith' and when one member has suffered, it affects us all deeply.

You have to 'connect the dots' a bit more, I think. You are frightened by the wrong things. You need to do some more thinking about what is really important.

I don't 'hate', but I am worried for a Christian community that is vulnerable and could do so much more to save from harm the innocent ones. THEY are your treasure.
THEY are your silver and your gold.

Please, please pray about it.

daniel mccrosky said...

Ok now without juding the hearts of intents of people (which Scripture clearly forbids of us do and people on both sides of this issue have done this)here is the problem I have with a data base (which I think would be a good thing if some of the following questions could be worked out).
1. Putting the names of those who have confessed like Paul Williams at Bellevue or have been convicted would be fairly easy but the question I have is the area that Wade said "credibly accused of". How exactly would that work? Just because someone accused you of something doesn't mean you did it. I am sure everybody has been accused of something they really didn't do but a group of people think you did. The credibly accused of section would be something I would tread lightly on. Innocents goes both ways.
2. Who would manage such a data base and how could something like that be effectively monitor? Lastly, this issue of a SBC database is a lot more complex than people realize. I came up with two pretty solid questions without really trying, I am sure there are more. What I would like to see if a solid, throughly thought out plan from the data base crowd. There may be one but I haven't seen it which in itself doesn't mean there isn't one but I would like to see it and then debate the points of it.
Thank you
Daniel McCrosky

Kate Johnson said...

Seneca,

yes, Jesus is the protection. BUT, when I accepted Jesus at age 5 because of the sexual abuse I was experiencing, the abuse did not stop. His saving me happened in a different way. So while these children need Jesus, they need adults to step up to the plate.

Everyone,
Liability is also if you know something exists and do nothing to stop it. I train churches how to put into place best practices to attempt to protect children the best they can, and these trainings lessen their liabilities because they proactively are doing something. Maybe best practices is the first place to start.

But know that if there is knowledge of abusive behavior that could have been stopped, either through a registry or an honest disclosure when a church is checking the background of a pastor they are thinking of hiring, then liability still exists for the SBC. If the SBC turns a blind eye, as the RC church did by moving priests around, then liability exists.

If Jesus is the children's protection, shouldn't he be ours as well? All denominations, not just the SBC, should think this through. Whoa to you who causes one of my little ones to stumble...

charbarb95 said...

This entire conversation reflects an apparent lack of understanding about Baptist polity. The Southern Baptist Convention meets once per year, and thus has no authority over autonomous, local churches. The same is true of state conventions. The problem lies with the individual churches to do a better job of background checks. Wade, although I rejoice that you brought this issue to the convention floor in 2007, and were humble enough to direct our attention to your it, your motion did not move forward. The majority of messengers voted down this motion. This is how Baptist polity works.

wadeburleson.org said...

"The majority of messengers voted down this motion. This is how Baptist polity works."

Not correct charbar95.

95% of messengers APPROVED my motion to investigate the possibility of establishing a data base.

The Executive Committee of the SBC came back and said the next year "Can't do it."

There was no single vote on the data base, but the vote to "investigate." The Convention simply "received" the EC's annual report, without voting on whether or not we should have a data base.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you ever mention the fact that the Baptist General Convention of Texas has a database and it functions quite well. Could it be that you deliberately overlook it so you can further chastise the SBC?