SBC’s fund-raising email misleads about support for most #SBCtoo survivors
In a new fund-raising email, the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission suggests that it “stands with” clergy abuse victims, a claim that is misleading and insensitive.
Specifically, the email states that “through your support…we are able to stand with people like Susan and equip them to make their voices heard,” and it attaches video of #SBCtoo survivor Susan Codone, who praises the ERLC for the support it has given her. https://vimeo.com/379402328
In response, SNAP points out a disappointing disparity. While the ERLC has indeed stood with & used its financial resources to make Susan’s voice heard (and to serve its own public relations purposes), it has simultaneously ignored and suppressed the voices of many hundreds more #SBCtoo survivors who have received zero support from the SBC.
As David Clohessy, SNAP’s St. Louis leader states, “It’s cruel and Orwellian for any Southern Baptist official to fundraise with the claim that he’s ‘equipping’ clergy abuse victims to speak up when nearly all church officials continue to subtly silence them.”
SNAP board member and #SBCtoo survivor Christa Brown responds: “I wish that every clergy abuse survivor could receive the sort of support Susan has received, but that’s just not reality when the vast majority of #SBCtoo survivors receive no support at all.”
It is also important to note that the SBC has never named Susan’s clergy perpetrators. This is something that most clergy abuse survivors feel is critical – i.e., to have their clergy perpetrators publicly named by the faith group so as to protect others from the harm they suffered and so as to reach out to any other possible victims. Even retired and deceased perpetrators should be named. Retired clergy may still have access to children in other contexts, and deceased clergy should still be named for the sake of institutional transparency and outreach to others who may believe they are all alone in what was done to them.
For the majority of #SBCtoo survivors who seek something more than words and prayers – i.e., who seek from SBC officials some measure of accountability for clergy sex abusers and enablers – the SBC as yet provides no safe place for even making a report. Nor does it have any established transparent process for institutionally doing anything at all about clergy who have been credibly-accused.
It should not be forgotten that, just 2 years ago, the ERLC responded via email to a person seeking to report a clergy “pedophile” by stating that “engaging in this matter is not in the scope of our role, authority or ability.” https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/fort-worth/article214373769.html
Christa Brown states: “Until the ERLC will publicly disclaim that statement and explain exactly how it would respond differently today, and until it can demonstrate a transparent process for actually doing something about reported clergy predators, #SBCtoo survivors who share their stories with the ERLC are likely to feel betrayed all over again.”
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009); David Clohessy, St. Louis SNAP leader (email@example.com); Christa Brown, SNAP board member (firstname.lastname@example.org)