Southern Baptists Torn Between Bold Abuse Reforms and Caution

"Those concerned about abuse within America’s largest Protestant body . . . cheered repentant statements and bold plans for policy changes from SBC president J. D. Greear last week, only to see his recommendations largely turned down by part of the SBC’s Executive Committee days later." - Christianity Today

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Bert Perry's picture

Greear was right to give a proposal, right to name some historic bad actors, but messed up in (a) not convening a serious discussion and (b) urging prompt action on the historic (some current) bad actors.  In response, the executive committee messed up by dismissing most of the claims against historic bad actors very quickly, before one could even read and understand the implications of the changes many of these churches had made.

Slow down, take a deep breath, SBC.  The problems won't get easier if you merely react instead of thinking things through. 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

I have no idea about any of those churches, but I imagine the executive committee does. We might consider that they didn't dismiss anything hastily; that instead, they were and are well aware of the issues prior to Greear's comments and suggestions. What appears to be a hasty dismissal might be nothing more than Greear making a late comment on an issue that had already been known and discussed.

We can abhor abuse and mishandling of abuse without attributing bad motives or bad actions when we simply have no idea what has gone on and what has been known.

 

Bert Perry's picture

....the board that made the statement now admits that their one day review doesn't exonerate anyone.  So no, they did not understand these churches well enough to make such a public statement so quickly.  Plus, you've got 80 members on that committee.  Even if they had the information among all 80 members, you got them to agree in a day?  Seriously?

But for the sake of argument, let's assume they had.  If so, they seriously need to work on their PR efforts.  Get a full report out, get it into J.D. Greear's hands so he can apologize for speaking hastily, get that report into the hands of the press so all can see what has been done, etc..

One thing that does not appear to be well understood by many here is that most people who would say they're affiliated with #MeToo do not want the corpse of the SBC (or others) to be thrown in the boiler with the body of Sam McGee, so to speak.  They simply want openness, apologies, restitution where appropriate, and institutional changes that will reduce the likelihood in the future.  One might describe it as "owning" the problem instead of "getting past it". 

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Your own link disproves some of the stuff you said.

But my point remains: We don't know what they knew. So we should be cautious in condemning them or exonerating them. 

Bert Perry's picture

Maybe you should read the link carefully, not to mention the later posting which notes precisely what I've been saying.  Here's a quote, cut and pasted.

The report we issued did not 'clear' any of the churches," Stone said. "... That determination does not reside in the Bylaws Workgroup. The workgroup also did not 'investigate' the churches because that authority is not vested in the workgroup either.

...

We sought to determine if the information provided by president J.D. Greear was sufficient, by itself, to warrant further inquiry into any or all of the ten churches based on a proposed constitutional amendment on sexual abuse passed by the Executive Committee.

So the group clearly did not, as you claimed, have sufficient information, and worse yet, they responded to clear evidence of big problems by releasing a document which appeared to clear people, but without ever taking a good hard look at whether, and to what extent, those churches had actually changed their systems to make problems less likely.  

And then they wondered why Ed Stetzer and the Denhollanders rightly called it a whitewash.  Like I said, the response is a mess, and various people in the SBC need to slow down and give survivors the kind of attention they need and deserve.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

So the group clearly did not, as you claimed, have sufficient information,

Bert, I am not sure how you can participate here claiming you read something while clearly missing it. I did not, did not, did not, say that they had sufficient information. You simply misunderstood or made that up. 

In another example of one of the above, the report was apparently not issued by the 80 member EC but by the bylaws workgroup, which is a smaller group. Greear seems to have handled this, at best, in an awkward way, making public accusations against churches without due process and even naming a church that wasn't SBC. 

Here you can read the information that the by-laws group was working with by reading the responses of the churches: http://www.bpnews.net/52482/churches-named-by-greear-in-abuse-report-res...

We don't know what they knew and we should be cautious in exonerating them or condemning them. That should hardly be controversial. Honesty requires it. But we are fundamentalists I suppose. Honesty can take a back seat when there is a point to be made.