(AP) - Under pressure to fight child sex abuse, the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee said Tuesday that the denomination should not create its own database to help churches identity predators or establish an office to field abuse claims.THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: This is a mistake - a very big mistake! The Southern Baptist Convention has just unwittingly sent a loud message to every sexual predator in the country. "COME TO OUR CHURCH! WE WON'T WORK TOGETHER TO SCREEN YOU." Effectively, the convention has just absolved itself of ANY and ALL responsibility over the protection of minors from sexual predators in pastoral positions. If ever there was a time for the Southern Baptists to step up to the plate, and put some teeth into their denomination, this was it. They could have simply ruled that any local church wanting to participate in the convention would have to participate in a sexual predator database, or else drop out of the convention. Certainly the convention has some rules and regulations they demand their affiliate member churches comply with. Couldn't this simply have been added to the list that already exists? This was a really bad mistake, and I have a feeling it's going to come back to bite them, in a really bad way.
The report decried sexual abuse as reprehensible and a sin. But the Southern Baptist principle of local church autonomy means it's up to individual churches — and not the convention — to screen employees and take action against offenders, the committee said....
....The clergy sexual abuse scandal that struck the U.S. Roman Catholic Church starting in 2002 has also touched the Southern Baptist Convention, although to a much lesser degree. The past two years have seen a few high-profile allegations against Baptist clergy, and a key victims' advocate in the Catholic crisis, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, began lobbying the Baptists.
In 2006, an executive committee panel began studying how to address the issue. Then, last year, Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson proposed that the convention develop a database to track clergy and staff who are "credibly accused of, personally confessed to, or legally been convicted of sexual harassment or abuse." The database would then be available to all churches.
The executive committee report, "Responding to the Evil of Sexual Abuse," urges churches to conduct background checks using a U.S. Department of Justice database of sexual offenders.
But it rejected establishing a new Southern Baptist database, arguing it would be impossible to build a comprehensive list. Referring churches to a more exhaustive federal database is better than a limited "Baptist only" system that predators could slip through, it said.
The database idea also is undermined by the fact that the convention cannot require churches to report instances of sexual abuse to local, state or national conventions, the report said.
Local church autonomy rules out creating a centralized investigative body to determine who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse or anything else, it said, and the convention has no authority to bar known perpetrators from ministry or start an office to field abuse claims.....
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But I think the most disturbing quote was this one...
"The database idea also is undermined by the fact that the convention cannot require churches to report instances of sexual abuse to local, state or national conventions, the report said."
You have got to be kidding me! So if a particular Baptist church has a predator in their midsts, where instances of sexual abuse occur, and the elders of this church cover it up, then according to the Southern Baptist Convention, there is nothing they can do about it? They can't even kick that particular church out of the convention!?! Excuse me, but I must ask, what good are you then? What purpose do you serve? Why would any Baptist church even want to be a member? What's the point? I don't get it.