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Sex abuse victims urge Alabama Baptist Convention to take action
A support group for clergy molestation victims is urging the Alabama Baptist Convention to take action to help ‘protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded,’ especially in light of a what they consider a good sex abuse policy recently enacted by another Alabama Baptist organization.
The ABC, the state’s largest Baptist body, is holding its annual meeting this week in Mobile.
Last month, the smaller Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship adopted a policy that allows individuals to report abuse to a review committee and that will keep records on clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. [“Alabama CBF passes policy regarding clergy sexual abuse,” http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=9659 ]
“Compared with the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s positive action, the Alabama Baptist Convention’s non-action stands in stark contrast,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP National Director. “How tragic that the Alabama Baptist Convention continues to stand on the sidelines and make excuses for why it can’t better protect kids against clergy child molesters.”
At its annual meeting in Mobile, the Alabama Baptist Convention merely proposes a non-binding resolution stating their views on child abuse. [“State Baptist Convention to address child abuse,” http://www.al.com/living/press-register/index.ssf?/base/living/1194690093257760.xml&coll=3 ]
“Make no mistake about it: a resolution is nothing but talk and it won’t protect kids,” said Christa Brown of Austin, Texas, SNAP’s Baptist Outreach Director.
Both Baptist groups profess the autonomy of local churches. Yet, the Southern Baptist- affiliated Alabama Baptist Convention makes excuses for its non-action, SNAP says, while the Alabama Baptist Cooperative Fellowship takes action.
“Kids will be safer in a faith community whose leaders at least try to stop abuse,” Clohessy said, “rather than in a faith community whose leaders pretend to be powerless and wash their hands of the problem.”
“We urge the Alabama Baptist Convention to study the policy of the Alabama Baptist Cooperative Fellowship and to take similar steps to protect kids in Southern Baptist churches,” said Brown
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests