The Christian Right & Child Sex Abuse
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 08:31:40 PM EST
The American Christian Right has a problem that I think has not been adequately addressed by most interested journalists, scholars and activists. The problem is that the conservative Catholic Bishops and the conservative leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have such a bad record when it comes to child sex abuse, that it should be counting against their moral and official standing far more than it has.
The ongoing scandal of child sex abuse by Catholic clergy and cover-ups by the hierarchy is not only well-known but is so horrific that the moral and the official standing of these leaders and those who run interference for them needs to be directly questioned.

Frank Cocozzelli is an exception who proves the rule in this area. He has been zeroing-in on the way that the American Catholic Right (notably prominent neoconservatives and members of Opus Dei) has consistently defended the hierarchy against all comers when it comes to the clergy sex abuse scandal.  Frank, among others, has called for the ouster of the convicted enabler of a priest convicted of producing child pornography, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph.  But much more could be said and done by so many more -- and not only by Catholics.  

I would like, for example, to highlight that the Catholic hierarchy not only routinely violates its contemporary claim of zero tolerance for clergy sex abuse, but has engaged in a double standard when it comes to disciplining prelates.  While Bishop  Finn remains in office, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit who advocated that the Ohio state legislature extend the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases, was removed from office.

That the same U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that has done such a poor job of addressing the sex abuse scandal is stacked with and led by culture-warring, family values proclaiming conservatives appointed by the last two popes is well-known.  Much less well-known is the struggle within the SBC.  I was struck by a post by Christa Brown at the blog of the Associated Baptist Press which asked:  "When will Southern Baptist Convention address clergy sex abuse?".  Brown, who also blogs at Stop Baptist Predators, discusses how the SBC has yet to develop policies to protect children in its care.

While other major faith groups have recognized the need for clergy accountability mechanisms, Southern Baptists persist in denominational do-nothingness.

Since 2006, clergy abuse survivors, and others, have been asking the Southern Baptist Convention to implement denominational safeguards against clergy child molesters. Southern Baptists have refused.

The requests are nothing radical. We asked for the sorts of safeguards that already exist in other major faith groups in this country. We asked that the denomination provide (1) a safe place where people may report abusive ministers, (2) a denominational panel for responsibly assessing abuse reports (particularly those that cannot be criminally prosecuted), and (3) an effective means, such as a database, of assuring that assessment information reaches people in the pews.

In 2008, TIME magazine ranked Southern Baptists' rejection of a sex-offender database as one of the top 10 underreported stories of the year.

Now here we are in 2012, and Southern Baptists are still sitting on the sidelines.

Robert Parnham of the Baptist Center for Ethics sees the matter clearly

Catholic and Baptist leaders have more similarities than differences on the child-abuse front. Both have harmed church members and the Christian witness by not swiftly addressing predatory clergy and designing reliable protective systems.

By way of contrast, let's also consider that the liberal mainline Protestant denominations -- the ones that respect the moral capacity of women to determine their reproductive life, and many of which not only welcome LGTB people, who are then treated with dignity and equality, but may serve in leadership roles -- do not turn a blind eye to the problems, but also seek to prevent and address child sex abuse by clergy and others.  

These include, among others, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church, USA, United Church of Christ (PDF), The Episcopal Church, and the United Methodist Church as well as the Unitarian Universalist Association.  What's more, the progressive Religious Institute has resources for religious organizations considering developing policies and programs in this area, and consults with those who are looking to improve their policies and performance.

What I have outlined here is far from a comprehensive treatment of the subject, but it is a fair sketch of the difference between the conservative churches that provide much of the base and leadership of the Christian Right and many other traditional religious denominations.  

My question is:  Can the SBC and the Catholic Bishops be taken seriously on anything else when they cannot get it together to actively protect children from sex predators -- especially their own clergy?




Display:
Finally, it's getting out into the open!  At least, more so than before!  (As I've told people repeatedly, especially people who only follow the news - it's not just a Roman Catholic Church hierarchy thing - several other conservative denominations are also guilty!)

Very good.  Very good indeed.  I have several friends who will be very happy at this news.  A couple may cry (if I can reach them - lost touch)... because of the things they'd been put through (including being blamed and punished for their own sexual abuse - one grown woman was sexually abused as a toddler and the church and some relatives STILL blamed her years later, especially because the perp was still in jail).  A few more people I know will start demanding when the church that hurt them will face the issue.

It IS a conservative problem.  I think eventually it will be tied to a combination of the autocratic and top-down hierarchal structure that is so common in the conservative churches combined with the attitudes held toward women and children found in the same.

This is good news on a painful and touchy subject!  At last one of a handful of churches repeatedly named time and time again for the problem is starting to address the issue (or parts of it are).

by ArchaeoBob on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 01:34:02 PM EST


As a Catholic, I think the bishops are all too eager to call for others to forgive them, but they don't show any sign of repentance. I wish Finn would have the decency to resign before the Vatican recalls him, but I think they won't do it unless it affects their bottom line.

by khughes1963 on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 09:58:17 PM EST

I don't think that it is an accident or coincidence that the denominations with the problems in this regard (Catholic Church, Southern Baptists) are at the Authoritarian end of the spectrum.  Not only does this lead to a mindset that clergy and other leaders have considerable "power over" others, it also leads to a mindset that church members should submit -- and that whatever happens, they owe allegiance to the church and need to keep quiet about abuse.

Mentally healthy, non-authoritarian organizations are a lot less likely to have clergy or members who believe they have a right to do whatever they wish -- and if they do find evidence of such behaviors, are more likely to realize that something needs to be done, both to help the victim and to discipline the offender.

And of course, it also comes down to having a mature and healthy attitude toward sex.   The prurient attitudes of many Catholic clergy and Southern Baptists can lead to a lot of juvenile "playing doctor" type of behavior, followed by blaming the victim and failing to acknowledge -- and willfully misunderstand -- one's own biological urges.  Except for the damage that is done to the victims, the immaturity of it all would be laughable (as well as sad).

by coralsea on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:28:51 PM EST


This post on the Christian rights and child abuse proved to be a really informative one. The post is a good eye opener for the visitors. I really liked the post and have bookmarked the page for future reference. where to buy buckyballs   

by dona on Sun Dec 20, 2015 at 11:34:19 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (330 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (180 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (99 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (93 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (106 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (127 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (115 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (79 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (228 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (55 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (155 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (173 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (53 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (56 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (214 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (241 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (88 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (172 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (143 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (141 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (151 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (145 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (125 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (186 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (144 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (83 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (189 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (77 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (107 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (105 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.