The Southern Baptist Convention and Sex Abuse of Children Within

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Amy Smith, Houston SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) director, who blogs at Watch Keep released a very important article today regarding the cover-up of abuse in the Southern Baptist Churches.  The article follows in its entirety between the sets of asterisks. Additional information follows below the article.

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See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: The Southern Baptist Convention and child sexual abuse within

A pastor at our church of almost 18 years, Houston’s First Baptist Church, has told me and my husband this week that it’s for the best that we step down from serving there, teaching in the youth ministry, since we don’t see what I’m doing is a problem, like he does: my efforts to shine the light of truth and spread awareness about the horrific problem of child sexual within Southern Baptist churches and the silence from SBC leaders. Up until this blog post, I have never mentioned our church or any of the HFBC pastors on my blog.

I have never talked to this pastor, Doug Bischoff before, not in person, not on the phone, not via email. Last Friday, he left me a message, but I was out of town. Then, Monday, I didn’t get a chance to call him back, being my 18th wedding anniversary, etc…and he left me another message late that afternoon, in a little put-out sounding tone of voice, in my opinion, saying, “trying to reach you, don’t know if you’re out of town or what.” So about 5:00 Monday evening I called him back and pointed out I had been out of town and about to go out to dinner for our anniversary, but wanted to see what he needed, and then he proceeds to, after saying he wouldn’t take much of my time, take offense at my blog. He started out telling me he had called a friend of mine whom I teach with at church, to that which I was shocked, asking why he would call and discuss the issues he has regarding me and my blog with her BEFORE talking to me? He made the excuse that he couldn’t reach me, so he called her. What was so urgent? This, apparently:

I saw your blog.

I’m confused. You don’t see it as a problem? [speaking out about child sexual abuse by Baptist clergy, about Baptist churches that cover up such abuse, about silence from SBC leaders about this abuse, about the vocal support of another evangelical pastor C.J. Mahaney accused in a lawsuit by 11 plaintiffs of covering up child sex abuse, and planning an awareness event next week at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Houston]

What good is it going to do, you standing outside the SBC?

What good will it do if the SBC president did issue a statement on abuse?

We’re not like the Methodists. [each Baptist church is locally autonomous]

How can you say that? [that child sexual abuse within Baptist churches is a systemic problem]

You may be seen as fringe.

No, I do not see what I am doing as a problem. Neither does my husband, and he told Doug this in no uncertain terms in a meeting with him in person the next day at the church.

How can I say it’s systemic? Because I know the stats of the epidemic of child sexual abuse in the general population and I’ve talked to survivors. How can I say that? Because the SBC holds up pastors like Jack Graham as models of leadership, who is on record having fired a minister, John Langworthy for child sexual abuse, but broke the law by failing to report this abuse to the police. Jack Graham will be a featured panel speaker on leadership this Sunday at the SBC pastors conference in Houston.No one in the SBC has held him accountable. No one. Prestonwood still must go to the police. They have knowledge of child sex crimes that they have never reported as required by the TX mandatory reporting law.

What good will it do? If my presence outside the convention, holding a picture of a child, an actual survivor of child sexual abuse by clergy, gives even just one person some hope, some encouragement that they are not alone, that they are not to blame, that someone believes them, and maybe someone that day or one day has the courage to call the police, seek justice, get help, start healing and protect other kids, then it’s worth it.

How did you find her blog? my husband asked. Doug Bischoff said that his boss, pastor Gregg Matte showed it to him and asked him to call me. Gregg Matte is the president of the SBC pastors’ conference.

One of the excuses for not doing or saying anything about abuse is that “we’re not like the Methodists.” I told Doug that this is the same old, lame, tired, and cowardly excuse of “local church autonomy” given by Baptists for decades now as reasons to not address this issue. The irony is that the SBC will be convening in a national, annual meeting next week in Houston. There will be a range of speakers addressing the thousands of Southern Baptists in attendance. Thus, we are respectfully asking for an opportunity to address the full assembly and share our organization’s expertise on how church members and staff should respond when accusations of abuse arise. Ourletter to SBC officials is embedded below.

We’ve distilled much of what we’ve learned about this subject over the past 25 years into a short pamphlet that’s posted on our SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests) website:

http://www.snapnetwork.org/links_homepage/when_priest_accused.htm

SNAP media statement

After the phone call from Doug and my husband’s meeting with him*, this is our takeaway: they agree with us that child sexual abuse is bad, and they don’t want me to stop what I’m doing, but the church doesn’t support me raising awareness by pointing out the problem within SBC churches and pastors that cover abuse up by failing to report. It’s not a problem for me to point out these issues with Catholic churches or Penn State, just don’t point the finger at my own Southern Baptist Convention.

*some added details from my husband Matt about his with meeting with Doug Bischoff at HFBC on Tuesday:

About the last 10 minutes of their meeting was a discussion of us stepping down from teaching. Doug brought this subject up. He told Matt, “Amy told me yesterday that she is stepping down, and I told her we should think about it. But I have been thinking about it overnight, and I think it’s for the best that she step down.”

To that my husband asked “Why?” Doug said, “You don’t see it as a conflict?”

Doug never once told me or my husband that he wanted us to keep serving in the youth ministry.

That’s not the way of the Jesus I know, love and serve. He called out sin, wrongdoing and corruption among his own followers.

When the Church Prefers Perpetrators by Mary DeMuth:

Cover up that exalts the “ministry” or a ministry personality over the well being of one who has been sinned against does not represent the Jesus I follow.

Jesus looked for the outcasted. He dignified the marginalized.

The church does far better when it acknowledges its sin, living fearlessly and honestly, than when it prefers to show a pretty, unadulterated face to the world. Unfortunately, we have become so enamored with the ministries we have built, forgetting that God Himself builds His church (and thinking it weighs on our shoulders), that we have lived in depraved fear, preferring the words of perpetrators over the words of those abused. We wrongly believe that we are in the business of reputation management.

Of course, I am not in the midst of this recent scandal, and I am not at all walking in either crowd’s shoes, leaders or victims, but from the outside it feels a lot like covering up for the sake of keeping the ministry machine alive. 

Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E: Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment was interviewed on the Janet Mefferd show. Listen here.

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act— DIETRICH BONHOEFFER

What Kind of Hard Heart? by Matt B. Redmond

What kind of heart is so hardened it would publicly insult the blogs that have given a voice to the sexually abused while publicly embracing one who is accused of conspiring to cover up and silence the abused?

What kind of hard heart are we witnessing?

Courage:

This was my question to Sir Patrick Stewart at Comicpalooza 2013. I wanted to thank Patrick Stewart for his speech at Amnesty International it personally help me put a name to the abuse, sexual abuse in my case, I had experienced in the past. He responded very passionately and the last thing I thought I would get at was a heartfelt hug. 

When he embraced me he told me “You never have to go through that again, you’re safe now”. I just kept thanking him. I hope everyone who needs help in abusive or violent situations has the courage to do so. There are people willing and ready to help you. 

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Here are a couple more related items of interest.  Peter Lumpkins has also been drawing attention to this issue:

I’ve never proposed a resolution before. Truth is, I’ve not written one either. But if this issue is not a valid subject about which Southern Baptists should publicly express a strong voice, I’m not sure what qualifies as an issue we should address.

For all its flaws, I just submitted the following resolution to the Resolutions Committee for the 2013 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas. As with all resolutions, it has but a small hope it will make it out of committee deliberations. I fully understand this dynamic. Nonetheless, the resolution raises the question which Southern Baptists must sooner or later officially address.

Here are is a sampling of Lumpkins’ Resolution on Sexual Abuse of Children:

RESOLVED that the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Houston, Texas, June 11-12, 2013, urge Southern Baptists to renew our allegiance to our Lord Jesus to love children as He loves children and suffer them to come unto Him for of such is the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:14); and be it further

RESOLVED that Southern Baptists pledge our commitment to work and fully cooperate with duly appointed God-ordained government officials in exposing and bringing to justice all probable perpetrators, sexual or otherwise, who morally and criminally do harm to the children placed in our trust, and not in any perceivable way display reluctance in fully cooperating with lawful authorities by attempting to handle the issue “amongst ourselves” by subjecting either the supposed victim or alleged criminal perpetrator to private “church discipline” or relational “restoration” apart from full revelation to God-ordained government authorities; and be it further

RESOLVED that we plead with pastors and church leaders to lead their churches to study, develop, and implement sound procedural policies pertaining to our spiritual, moral and legal obligations in nurturing loving care for our children and protecting their rightful interests as members of the human family made in God’s image from the inhumane, immoral treatment of probable sinful renegades in the church; and be it further . . . .

Associated Baptist Press also picked up the story here:  Blog:  Pastor chastises abuse activist

Be sure to check out the comments.  You can see that Houston’s First Baptist Church responded to defend themselves.  .  I’ve taken a screen shot, but go check out the conversation. If churches would be open, honest, and address issues of abuse appropriately, there would be no need for Amy Smith to volunteer her time with SNAP.  Amy is not the threat here, their integrity to God and His children is the real issue.   Defending the defenseless should be top priority.

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 6.39.58 PM

Thank you, Amy, for your tireless efforts on behalf of those who have no voice.  ~ja

UPDATED:   But wait . . . . there’s more.   Amy sent me an e-mail a few hours ago and also mentioned on the Wartburg Watch blog about a voice mail from Houston police.  Check this out:

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 8.35.02 PM

Related article:  Bene Diction Blogs On:  First Baptist Church Houston – “I saw your blog”

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46 comments on “The Southern Baptist Convention and Sex Abuse of Children Within

  1. W.T.Heck? “A pastor at our church of almost 18 years, Houston’s First Baptist Church, has told me and my husband this week that it’s for the best that we step down from serving there, teaching in the youth ministry, since we don’t see what I’m doing is a problem, like he does: my efforts to shine the light of truth and spread awareness about the horrific problem of child sexual within Southern Baptist churches and the silence from SBC leaders.”

    Shame on them. Wish I could say I am surprised or outraged.

    Please, keep speaking up.

    Who gives a rat fanny that you cannot serve at First Baptist Church.

    It is telling that they asked you to step down. That is a reflection on them… (Though I am sure it hurts)

    You are serving the KING OF KINGS & LORD OF LORDS who tenderly weeps over the suffering of the innocents…

    Will keep you in my thoughts & prayers.

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  2. This makes me furious. Sign on the dotted line on our viewpoint of ‘submit graciously’ for wives, and the ‘gay’ issue with the scouts. BUT remember we are ‘autonomous’ and independent on the sexual abuse issue. How ‘biblical manhood’ of them. Seriously.

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  3. You are absolutely right, Hannah. When I was looking up info for this article, there were many articles on SBC and Boy Scouts/gay issue. I remember thinking how odd to have so many articles on that particular issue and so few on something as horrific as sex abuse of children.

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  4. Ha Julie Anne, good on you for being all over this!

    I saw the comment about the police also, and posted pronto.

    I don’t know what it would be like to find out an impatient pastor couldn’t hold his peace and speak to me first. I don’t know what it is like to realize that the subliminal message from leadership (best Foghorn leghorn voice) is “we don’t need your kind ’round here” I don’t know what is like to feel that emotional and social sting.

    The church spin concerns me, I bring that up at BDBO.
    The 18 year pastor may well be a nice guy, but bottom line, he did his SBC masters bidding. I pray the Holy Spirit deals with him.

    I wonder if the Houston Police would be willing to indicate who called them.
    I can’t see S.N.A.P. not seeking a permit if Houston requires one…something seems off…

    There are over 800 Baptist churches in the Houston area, and I don’t believe that all those Baptist pastors are self-protecting cowards. I hope Amy and her husband are offered a save haven where their courageous advocacy is seen as biblical, Christ-like and a high calling. And I hope many SBC delegates go out of their way to approach S.N.A.P. and encourage them.

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  5. “But remember we are ‘autonomous’ and independent…”

    If there was a thief going from church to church stealing from the coffers, they wouldn’t hang separate. And a murderer would be tracked/caught with fanfare and they’d become the protagonists in a Christian movie.

    Problem is that these people don’t think child sexual abuse is a crime. They platitudinize, but that’s all it is. And that’s beyond the pall.

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  6. Thank you Julie Anne. Thank you too BD for sharing my story. The sting is painful and goes deep. My parents have also disowned me for speaking out about abuse at Prestonwood Baptist, our former church when we lived in Dallas. I even told Doug that when I was on the phone with him. But my identity is in Christ and Christ alone. I belong to him. To clarify, my husband and I have been members at Houston’s First Baptist for 18 years. Doug, the pastor that called me hasn’t been there nearly that long, I think less than 10.

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  7. Excellent point, patrice. This is the same pattern all over, including the abuses among Calvary Chapel churches which Chuck Smith says are independent. If someone wanted to actually DO something about it, it would be done. These are not real shepherds.

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  8. Amy – When the Bible talks about parents against children, I don’t think most people think of your circumstance. You are doing what Jesus would do and you are being persecuted for righteousness sake. I am so glad to know you, Amy. You are an inspiration to me.

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  9. I don’t know what’s worse, that someone who calls himself “pastor” would do this, that the higher ups who told him to call her didn’t have the balls to to it them self ( funny matt 18 doesn’t say have a friend go to the person first), or that I’m not at all shocked by these “leaders” actions. I’ve become somewhat numb, which is good in some respects, otherwise every waking hour would be spent in righteous indignation. Thank you for your courage and strength Amy, for all you and SNAP do.Thanks IS for posting.
    We too have lost family over our child’s abuse and our unwavering belief in her story. All I know and can hold on to is that my sweet little one KNOWS her mommy and daddy believe her.

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  10. From what I have read and heard, I think there is a misunderstanding of actual words spoken, however, the meaning of what happened and the actual words spoken and not spoken and what seems to be implied I believe is that in general what was being communicated was they did not want Amy drawing attention to the SBC churches and leaders in regards to sexual abuse of children in their churches.
    Out of personal knowledge and conversation with the a number of SBC Leaders and some of their churches and having been sexually abused myself and having a child from this abuse as a teenager, I feel I can speak some on this matter.
    The SBC would show wisdom in allowing their members and their pastors to become educated on how to handle cases where abuse has been reported.
    I suggest any and all leaders of religious groups that claim to base their religion on the Bible and belief in Christ, should read and do as the Bible indicates and states quite clearly, if they do not then they do wrong according to the scriptures.
    What would Jesus say if he was here now, if I remember correctly Jesus only showed and used force once in the Bible to chase people from his “Father’s House” using a whip and turning over tables. Look in the Gospels MATTHEW 21: 12 – 13 as well as JOHN 3: 14 – 16
    St. Matthew 21: 13 “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
    Jesus took this action due to what he called a “den of thieves” What would he do with the worse thieves of all in his Father’s House who steel children’s innocence and future and take their trust and hopes and love for his house away. Any Leader of any church who knows and allows these thieves to be in his house hurting these children then they are as the bull owner spoken of in
    EXODUS 21:29

    “If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner also must be put to death.”
    There are many more verses regarding this issue, which I have already given to the SBC and their Leaders. So they do have the knowledge.
    Thanks for your time and consideration
    Debbie V.

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  11. Stiles, you wrote: “We too have lost family over our child’s abuse and our unwavering belief in her story. All I know and can hold on to is that my sweet little one KNOWS her mommy and daddy believe her.”

    You give your daughter wonderful gift. And the family that walked away from you all? Their loss.

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  12. Debbie,

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Often times other issues present themselves which are really non-issues. The issue should not really about Amy and her husband’s involvement in youth ministry and who said what. The job of SBC should be to convince Amy and actually the world that they do know how to respond appropriately to sex abuse cases in the church. This should not be an optional issue, but mandatory. Christ demands it in His word when he talks about loving others and caring for the defenseless.

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  13. Amy wrote: “My parents have also disowned me for speaking out about abuse at Prestonwood Baptist, our former church when we lived in Dallas.”

    Ach, Amy, how rotten! I don’t know you (just been reading a bit) but you are certainly a courageous woman. If I were old enough to have you for a daughter, I’d be loudly (and annoyingly) proud. We don’t choose our parents and sometimes I think it is remarkable how well we do in spite of them. Lol

    I’m glad that you have a supportive husband.

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  14. I especially noticed BD’s comments about the Houston Police. On a related, but non-church issue, HPD doesn’t have a good history of dealing peacefully with any kind of dissenters, no matter the issue, i.e., the so-called Moody Park “riot”. They also have a long history of abusing people and infringing people’s constitutional rights, including police brutality, so anyone that would want to protest at the SBC convention should be prepared for a ‘black and tan’ type of response from HPD. HPD is only concerned with protecting the safety and rights of the wealthy and politically connected.

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  15. When I was looking up info for this article, there were many articles on SBC and Boy Scouts/gay issue.

    Because playing “Teh Fag Card” is the best way to energize the Christianese masses. Grabs ’em right by the brainstem, with no higher brain functions in play. Just like Evolution. A more genteel version of Fred Phelps (which is the reputation Evangelicals and Baptists have in a LOT of places).

    And “Teh Fag Agenda” is the latest Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory in that milieu. And once Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory gets going, it becomes a completely-closed system, invincibly ignorant of any outside reality or appeals.

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  16. Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Often times other issues present themselves which are really non-issues. The issue should not really about Amy and her husband’s involvement in youth ministry and who said what.

    A form of thread hijacking you also find among lawyers.

    Deliberate Displacement. Redefine the problem away from the actual problem into some trivial side-issue and concentrate everything upon that trivial side-issue.

    Nyah ha ha, My Dear Wormwood…

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  17. The pursuit of large congregations, the construction of impressive, attention drawing edifices, and reputation management in place of love and the pursuit of righteousness. How is this any different than when the people of Babel said “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Gen 11:4, ESV.

    I am not quite to the place of thinking that these self promoting “church” organizations are corporate members of “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations. . .” (Rev. 17:5, ESV), but I am increasingly convinced that they are to be counted amongst the number of her prostitute daughters.

    I have walked away from these organizations that call for, even demand, our idolatrous devotion. I say to all, get out!

    “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people,
    lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” Revelation 18:4, ESV.

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  18. I’m new here, just having found this blog last week through a CJ Mahaney search. What’s funny is my search had nothing to do with the scandal about CJ because I knew NOTHING about it even though I daily frequent Christian Blogs like Pyromaniac and others. When I did the search I believe this blog was one of the first things along with TWW that popped up and I ended up here. Immediately I read everything I could about the scandal and the only sites where I could get any kind of newsworthy info were TWW, this blog and SGM Survivors. After becoming fully informed on what had taken place there, I couldn’t even sleep that night and when I further read about Al Mohler and gang’s support of CJ, I was literally astonished, is the best word for it.

    Because after reading the lawsuit, it is very clear that it is ABOUT the cover-up more than the abuse allegations and it is also just as clear that it was thrown out because of the statute of limitations and nothing more. It was also clear to me that CJs SBC friends DO NOT think everyone else can see very clearly the entire situation at hand. Now, in light of this post regarding Amy’s article, it is very clear they want to keep us all in the dark, very much like Catholicism keep people in the dark during the dark ages, except they have a small problem, the people in the dark ages did not have the internet or blogs or youtube, and WE DO.

    So I have a proposal, since they want to keep us in the dark, and the media is having a hard time coming to you regarding SNAP and actually covering what SNAP is about (I read about Amy’s media coverage on the man who was asked to leave PBC because he began to ask questions after coming out of the dark himself, which you can find on the PBC silent no more blog), if the media and SBC will not shed the proper light to the world, we do it ourselves in a way that actually can have an impact…we find people amongst ourselves, those whom God has gifted with writing, filming, music, and editing abilities and we become the media. We open a Youtube channel advocating SNAP and all it stands for and we take our cameras and we start questioning, interviewing, FILMING. Covering these stories on the blogs in a video format so that people who may not have time to read can just watch the information in the form of short news/info bites, or even longer documentary’s frontline style bites. You don’t even have to attend an event like SBC, you can do something as simple as asking your own pastor if they will go on record in an interview fashion about what their stand and thoughts are on the SBC’s handling of child sexual abuse within their churches. From there you could even go locally and talk to other pastors at even other evangelical denominations.

    Since it’s my proposal, I will volunteer first. I live in Dallas and I have semi professional high quality HD video equipment (3 cameras with professional microphones). I can volunteer to go to Houston and film SNAP’S rally in professional manner and if the police come and try to stop the rally, not only will the cameras keep them honest, but it will be caught on film as well. I will also volunteer to stand outside of SBC and stop and question on film convention goers if they have heard about the child sexual abuse situation and coverup and what they think about the whole situation. I might not last long and will probably be asked by the police to leave, but I would more than be willing to give it my best shot, alone or with some help from another volunteer, does not matter.

    I’m done sitting, Im ready to take action. We may be sheep, but that does not mean we are ignorant-minded sheep or ill-equipped sheep. They should be shown that in any and all ways we can. The actual PRESIDENT of SBC is obviously already taken aback by what Amy has been doing, let’s not let him or them off easy, I think we should help her out! Who’s with me? LOL. Sorry for the long post. I usually LURK. NOT ANY MORE.

    If this sounds like something you are interested in and can lend additional ideas or can help with, even if it is just a small part, my email address is terijrose@gmail.com, let me know! The first thing I need help with is a good name for the Youtube channel advocating SNAP because I would like to open that up STAT.

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  19. Julie Anne:

    Thank you for posting about all of this. The tactics and pressure that Houston’s First Baptist Church exerted on Amy Smith are deplorable. It is never a “conflict of interest” for a concerned Christian to encourage awareness of child sexual abuse and the cover-up of it, that has gone on in some of our churches.

    I am planning on standing with Amy Smith and SNAP and linking arms with them at this Awareness Event outside of the SBC meeting. As the mother of one of the SGM survivors/plaintiffs, I want to publicly support Amy and SNAP as they seek to raise awareness about the problems of sex abuse cover-up, which has occurred allegedly within the SBC at Prestonwood Baptist.

    I am also choosing to stand outside the SBC during its meeting, because of the T4G statement, which some of the top SBC leaders made, who as I understand it, will be in attendance and/or speaking at the SBC meeting — Al Mohler and Mark Dever, specifically. In this T4G statement, they openly honored C.J. Mahaney, and in relation to our lawsuit on the alleged sex abuse cover-up in SGM, declared that “no such accusation of direct wrongdoing was ever made against C.J. Mahaney”. They have since altered this statement surreptitiously and removed this phrase.

    C.J. Mahaney is the former President of Sovereign Grace Ministries and former Senior Pastor of Covenant Life Church, and was leading at the helm, during the bulk of the cases currently listed on our lawsuit. He also was directly listed in several of the Factual Allegations on our Second Amended Complaint, as being allegedly directly involved with the knowledge and cover-up of several different sex abuse cases. Therefore, as a symbolic gesture, I am going to be standing outside of the Convention center with SNAP, this Tuesday, in protest of these SBC pastors’ support of C.J. Mahaney and their lack of support for the survivors of sex abuse from SGM.

    I also want to applaud the efforts of Peter Lumpkins, who is planning on bringing his “Resolution on Sexual Abuse of Children” at the SBC meeting. This issue of child sex abuse in our churches, which has traumatically affect my own family, is obviously close to my heart — and I welcome the support from Peter, as he takes this eloquent stand to bring about change in the way our Christian institutions handle ministries or pastors mired in sex abuse scandal. When there is a sex abuse scandal in a church or ministry — protecting the flock and protecting the little lambs should always be our priority.

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  20. Debbie,
    If you go back and read my post you will see that I never stated that the pastor “asked” me to step down.” You will see how, in great detail, I explain that the end result of his phone call to criticize my blog and awareness efforts of abuse within the SBC was me telling him that I would save him the awkwardness of ASKING me to step down and do it myself. In fact, I told him this through tears. To that he said he would think about it, which he did, then the next day brought up the subject with my husband and stated that after thinking about it overnight, he thought “it is for the best” that I step down. The church is the one wanting to deflect the issue of their decision to make the phone call taking offense at my plans to host an awareness event at the SBC by making this a “misunderstanding” of words. The pastor’s question, “You don’t see a problem with it?” was very clear. There was no misunderstanding that he did see a problem with me and my blog. THAT was why he called me.

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  21. Amy, my heart breaks for what you and your husband are experiencing. Under no circumstances is any of this behavior acceptable. If I still lived in the Houston area (I moved away after Hurricane Ike), I would be standing next to you in this protest. And even though I won’t be there, I will be praying for you and the other protesters. Please remember that there are so many people who support your ministry and support your family as you battle against sexual predators in the SBC. You are not alone in this fight. I also second what Teri has said – might as well get the media involved. HPD is more likely to behave if there are cameras watching. Please do not give up on the wonderful work you are doing on behalf of abuse victims.

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  22. Pingback: End Times Prophecy Headlines: June 8-9, 2013 | End Times Prophecy Report

  23. Amy, Thanks for clarifying. Even though I read your account a couple of times, it was still a bit unclear who said what regarding stepping down. It is a difficult season for you as a couple. Maybe when you reflect on it further, you may come to the conclusion that this was ‘just a matter of time’ for this type of church leadership behavior to manifest itself. The time has come that something has been said to you about your connection with SNAP and your relation to your church. I am sure that you are dealing with a number of emotions as you process all of this. It is a time to grieve.

    One further thought regarding the theme of ‘time’. The words in the Book of Esther “for such a time as this” ring true. These things have happened, now it is a time to consider how the Holy Spirit will propel you forward in what he has for you and for the ministry that you labor in together with Christ. Be encouraged with the support from many others in the blogosphere. Be ready for the next phase. We cheer you and those who come alongside you in this battle.

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  24. Teri, Thank you for coming on board and expressing your thoughts and your heart here. Appreciate your willingness to be available, to stand up and be counted and where you could make an impact. Yes, your ideas have merit. I trust that others will affirm that these ideas are doable.

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  25. It is my belief that the entire staff of First Baptist Houston is supporting the cover up of the sexual abuse (really assault) of children, choosing to support those covering up and failing to comply with the law by reporting, over those Christians who believe that protecting children is a higher priority calling of the church than protecting the FALSE image of the SBC. That image is false because there are scandals that come out every month or so where some SBC church leader is involved in sexual assault on a child and other SBC church leaders have covered it up rather than report it.

    People with cameras (other than cell phones), get a badge that says PRESS, and shoot away. You are the lay press. Those with cell phones, all get them out and video any action by the police. Ask the TV news people to be there as will as the print press.

    And forewarn the police that, any action that is not clearly justified under the law will result in suits against the department and each and every officer involved, including demands for criminal prosecution for abuse of authority.

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  26. The best thing about these events is that it raises the visibility of child sexual abuse and promotes the very needed discussion.

    As a survivor do incest, abuse by priests, a Boy Scout leader and strangers, plus being raped by a woman, I am stunned beyond comprehension at three things:

    1. The body of Christ chooses, knowingly and intentionally, to ignore this particular evil in our midst. It sends missionaries around the globe and pats itself on the back, while the person next to them in the pew, smiles on the outside and screams on the inside from the pain and self-destruction resulting from sexual abuse. But this is a special evil that cannot be mentioned and certainly cannot be discussed from the pulpit.

    2. A congregation can terminate its relationship with, and support of, the Boy Scouts for their position to accept gay participants, but sees no need to terminate that relationship because the BSA has systematically, intentionally and institutionally protected thousands of predators without lifting a finger to assure that justice is preserved and the victims receive the help they need. If it didn’t happen to my kid, it isn’t a problem!!!

    3. The failure of each church to openly discuss, learn and practice the tools necessary to truly protect children and support survivors in their healing says the topic AND the victims are so dirty, they need to hold their voice and not subject a congregation to THEIR problem. The silence of the church demonstrates an extraordinary lack of compassion and is the same silence used by the predators to enslave the child to their sexual fantasies. By being silent, the church is an active enabler of the child molester. By enforcing silence, the church blocks, maybe forever, the door to healing and freedom for the survivor.

    I ask the Southern Baptist Convention, and frankly all congregations of all faiths, “Are you so blinded by fear, is your faith so weak and your god so limited, that you have not the courage to protect the smallest, weakest and most innocent among us and have not the empathy to reach out to a person struggling daily to hide their secret of childhood terror, so they can be a part of your congregation?”

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  27. “You may be seen as fringe.”

    The horror! The horror!

    We can see where this pastor wants to stand: Right in the middle of things – where the action is. Where the Big Boys meet.

    Where Jesus wasn’t.

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  28. Pingback: The Southern Baptist Convention and Sex Abuse of Children Within | Speakingtruthinlove's Blog

  29. I talked to a friend who participates in abortion center protests in Houston. She said that HPD is very used to calls about protests and they handle them very kindly. The police department simply asks that you remain on public property (usually sidewalks) and be polite. If called, an officer will come out, watch the scene, greet the protesters with a smile and handshake and if there are no violations the officer will move on. It should be a painless process. Her other piece of advice is to chose a location right by the entrance to the parking lot/garage and have flyers handy with the key details regarding your protest and the reasons for it.

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  30. Tom, Thanks for taking the time to drop by and share your insights. You ask some hard questions. You point out where there are huge lacks in understanding about these issues in the church as well as compassion for victims. People need to hear what you have to say. Keep speaking out and giving voice to what needs to be heard!

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  31. Tom,

    It was very hard to get passed your second paragraph reading of the harm and violations done to you by so many people, most likely “trusted” individuals. I really wanted to scream loudly at the insanity of it all. I don’t understand abuse.

    But to have you come here and boldly and courageously type what you wrote made me really want to consider your words – from someone who knows first-hand. Thank YOU for sharing.

    I’ve heard that 1 in 4 females and slightly less than that for males are sexually abused and I agree with you – why is something as prevalent as that not discussed in church? You are so right. We need to be encouraging our church leaders to bring this subject to the table.

    The issue regarding the Boy Scouts is very bothersome to me. I was enraged when I thought about the hypocrisy of it – – that they’d make such a stinking deal about homosexuality, meanwhile so many victims are abandoned.

    And your third issue – the lack of communication and tools to help create proper guidelines and make the church a safe place is baffling. The church needs a wake-up call. Maybe the SGM and SBC sex abuses cases will be that wake-up call.

    I hope that by reading your comment, others will be motivated to talk with their church leaders and ask what they are doing about this topic. Maybe we need to be the squeaky wheel.

    Thank you, Tom. I really appreciate your contribution here.

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  32. Julie,

    The statistics are that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually molested before age 18. 93% by someone they know and trust. Typically, their lives will be marked by guilt, shame, depression, alcohol/drug addiction, eating disorders, cutting, burning and relational difficulties, just to name a few. It isnt like an allergy that you grow out of. these behaviors follow you into adult hood and impact every aspect of your life. Survivors are skilled actors. They put on the mask of happy face and silently scream in pain inside. Society does not accept our screams out loud, unless they are in a therapists office. In our society, the victim carries more of the stigma than the predator.

    I write my comments for a couple of reasons. First, and foremost, I have been blessed with a level of healing that I never imagined possible. I take every opportunity to share what I have learned, in the hopes it helps someone else. That is the good that can come from my experiences.

    Secondly, I hope that by speaking out, more people will wake up to the epidemic destruction sexual violation does to our children and the trajectory of their lives. Maybe the more people hear about it, and that healing is possible, the less fear they will have in confronting it.

    Thanks again and keep the discussion alive in your church.
    Tom

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  33. Pam – I’m late in responding to your comment. I am so glad to hear that you will be with Amy and SNAP representatives at the SBC convention. The leaders at SBC need to see your face. They need to look deep into your eyes – the eyes of the mother of one who was harmed in church and not cared for. They need to really take a look at themselves and ask if they have responded in a Christ-like manner with regard to all of these sex abuse situations – – so many – it’s hard to keep track of them all. Pam, you are a brave mother. Your daughter, Renee, is immensely brave. This has been a long journey for you all. I hope you can feel the love and support and prayers being offered for the survivors and families. I will be thinking and praying for you guys in Houston this week all the way from the desert of WA. Please keep me posted. hugs to you!

    ~ja

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  34. Pingback: The Train Wreck That Is the Southern Baptist Denomination | Christian Pundit

  35. Pingback: SBC Developments: Brave Action, Not Vague Resolutions, Stops Crimes against Kids | Spiritual Sounding Board

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  37. Pam, I read some of the stories on SGM and just wept… how this could be happening boggles my mind… and the silence is just as grievous.

    I would caution you against trusting Peter L too much. He also has this strange inability to see a con artist if they happen to share the same theology. If you compare someone like Ergun Caner’s apology (now, granted, he didn’t abuse children, but he has fleeced a lot of people in the name of Jesus) to Mahaney’s it’s pretty much the same flavor of ketchup covering up their different, but still very public, sins. However, Lumpkins is wrongly still promoting Caner and attacking his critics, while rightly going after Mahaney. It is all very weird.

    Kind of like when Phil Johnson kind of stiffly offered Julie Anne his support for her defense against her pastor’s lawsuit and then quickly walked away, hoping no one noticed, and let his loose cannons by the names of Fred and Frank go after her.

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  38. Sheep_of_God
    I am so glad you are speaking out. God will honor you and protect you. I was attacked by a pastor at the age of 15 and my life perspective forever change. This is a problem that I have been speaking out about for almost fourth years, and still the church does not want to address it. Most leadership position in the SBC is male governor, so women do not have any say so. This is way most men do not want women as leader or to have any say so about issues in the church today. It will allow sex abusers to hide in the background. The SBC is very corrupt. If you research the history of the SBC it is as corrupt as the Catholic Church. In the southern state there is a great strong hold, and many of their followers are brainwashed. Every religion or denominate border on cult activities, so does this one. This is a social occult very strong with the church. One has to be very careful of how you mingle with in SBC. The SBC sold out to the FBI and became a government informant years ago. Most time no government agency come against them and will protect them. Please study the history of this organization. I am so glad God is waking His people up to see the truth. Glory to our Soon Coming King!

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