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Southern Baptist leaders plan to remedy ‘insufficient’ approach to abuse claims

[ – 6/4/19]

Southern Baptists hope to take steps at their upcoming annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., to address continuing reports of sexual abuse in their denomination

The document also included a list of ways for state and regional groups to help churches handle sex offenders, including developing a covenant that, if violated, would limit their church attendance or access to church property.

Easter said she considers offenders to be too dangerous to be permitted in a church gathering.

“Predators should be ministered to by trained professionals separate from the regular church meetings and completely separated from vulnerable people,” she said.

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  1. Mike G

    Here we go again:

    “…help churches handle sex offenders…”

    “Predators should be ministered to by trained professionals…”

    All sex offenders are predators, right?

  2. Tim

    Want to see your church begin to wither away and eventually die, start by ostricizing sinners from the group and soon the church is empty. The Baptist here are establishing a defense mechanism, but not from offenders so much as the attorneys & actuaries that follow them for profit.

  3. Harry

    I belong to a church, that is part of large denomination (not SBC). Most people there knows about my pass and I have recently been assigned in a key leadership position, with open access to anywhere and anytime on the campus, keys to the buildings and authorized to operate church vehicles. There are strike welfare protocols in place that protect children, families and staff. The balk of the burden of protecting children falls on the parents, example children are not allow to go to the restroom unless the parent escorting them. Children church are open space and at least 2 adults in full time attendance with no doors closed. All private prayer and counseling is with at least 2 in attendance. Members of gender groups are matched with of that same gender. If, an individual of the opposite gender desire private counsel with the pastor, 2 female staffers are in attendance. No one is allowed to roam the halls. The main problem in the church is false accusations and not former sex offender.

    • wonderin

      Great post Harry,
      It’s refreshing to see an organization promoting responsible behavior to protect the community from harm. Kudos to you and your church.

    • Steven V.

      As a member of a large denominational church (also not SBC), I have been actively involved in key leadership positions with minimal restrictions. There is a covenant in place that is designed to adequately protect both myself and my church. Although open access and involvement is important, it is also important to have proper boundaries.

      • Harry

        Steven, That is right. The key to be successful in this former sex offender walk is set boundaries for ourselves. People are watching and if they see we mindful of our surroundings and behave accordingly we can gain some trust back.

        • Will Allen

          Harry, with all due respect, F that. I am not going to set ANY additional “boundaries” for myself beyond what any other normal, moral person has. Just not going to. The only way that there will be additional “boundaries” is if they are forced upon me and my family at the point of a gun (i.e. a “law”).

          And additional boundaries aren’t needed for anyone either. Just like the Registries aren’t. Say you have a person who has never committed any crime. A church or anyone else has no idea if that person has committed a crime or not. They have no idea if that person might molest a child today. Not the first clue. So the boundaries need to be that the person is prevented from molesting children. Once that boundary is set, it can and should apply to everyone. It MUST or in reality, you’ve actually done nothing to protect anyone. Once that is in place, we don’t need to worry about “former $EX offenders”. Any “extra” worry or “boundaries” is just theater and fake protecting. It’s only for the pearl clutchers.

          Also, “people are watching”? They need to mind their own damn business. Why would they be watching ME if I am not allowed to watch THEM?! Where is my big government dossier on all of those people and my RIGHT to know anything dangerous that they’ve done in the past? Where is my right to judge them? It’s being withheld. And whatever I may or may not have done in the past had nothing to do with THEM. It is between me and whomever. Not THEM. They should try to mind their own business. Instead of watching ME, they should watch their children and protect them from everyone.

          Personally, I don’t worry about “gain some trust back”. F that. If a person doesn’t trust me, that’s their problem. I don’t trust them. I don’t allow people who don’t trust me to do anything significant in my life. Don’t want them around me.

        • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

          So we have to become performers ostentatiously playing out our virtuous roles to publicly demonstrate to others, no matter their own moral qualifications for sitting in judgment, our extreme posture of servility. Kind of like praying loudly in the public spaces so that we may be seen to be devout. Yeah, it’s all a big show. Entertain us.

        • LARRY

          I totally agree with Will Allen in this matter. I’m speaking from a pastoral position and registrant. I serve in one of the largest congregations in my state. A few years ago I became exhausted with all of the parameters, constraints, and boundaries that were set by myself and church leaders. I believe being walked and escorted from one end of the church to the next continues in the vein of prison instead of praise and worship. Granted I do have my own boundaries of things that I didn’t do before my arrest and I don’t subscribe to now. Once I got over my eagerness to be accepted I went to my Bishop and asked him if “my assignment was valuable to him and the congregation? And if it is I will no longer live under the bondage of a misguided and immature decision to have me guarded and escorted at all times”. He agreed and shared this with the other elders and church leaders who all agreed as well. I say this to say that we are not monsters waiting to pounce and in order for us to really progress, move forward, and reshape the minds of society we have to let them see our value and if they can’t, it’s their loss, not ours.

    • Mp

      Harry, That is policy that makes sense. Thanks for the share on that.

  4. Robert

    From a Christian perspective Jesus in Matt. 25:40 clearly states, “what you do to the least of these my brethren you do it unto me” So if churches treat registrants any differently than other members of the church that church is not upholding the fundementals of their own principles, teachings and beliefs. Better to leave such a church if you are a believer whether your a registrant or not.

    • Steven V.

      @ Robert

      Although I agree that registrants must be included in the full work of the church, it is important to understand that perception is reality for many people regarding how registrants are viewed within their faith communities.

      Further, as Harry stated, the creation of healthy boundaries is a vital element of any faith community, and, like it or not, registrants must prove that they can be trusted post conviction.

  5. Dustin

    Seems to me that the “inadequate response” to sexual abuse allegations was to require more than a mere accusation. Concurrently, the “adequate” response is apparently to accept the allegation as fact and force the accused to prove his innocence. And we’re not supposed to have a problem with that.

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