There have been suggestions, and indeed motions made at the annual meeting, that the SBC should maintain a database of people convicted, or credibly accused,
of sexual abuse or pedophilia .. or anything along those lines. There have been arguments on why they should, and reasons given why they shouldn't, do that.
Up until now, I've been a supporter of the SBC acting as a "clearing house" for such information. But as of this week, owing to a case right here, among people I have met and know, I'm not in favor of the SBC entertaining that idea. Here's why:
A case hit the news media this week, of a retired school teacher who had admitted molesting many children in the course of his teaching career. It's severe enough that I've seen articles in the national media, in newspapers in New York City and San Francisco, and even in a London-based news outlet. It's big news here, I guarantee you, moreso since the alleged (and apparently confessed) perpetrator's father is involved in local politics. And, further, faithful members of a local Southern Baptist Church.
I don't see any need to name names, here, to prove my point.
Here's the catch: back in 1992-1993, he was accused of this same thing. The school board held a "Termination Hearing" about it, looked into the matter, but decided there was not enough evidence to terminate his employment. Hence he was placed back in the classroom.
The local prosecutor presented the matter to a Grand Jury, who heard all the evidence from everywhere they could find it. I understand they were thorough in their job, but in the end, the Grand Jury refused to indict the teacher.
The local newspaper also reports that, in 1992, the accused was also a "30-year old youth minister" at their local Baptist church!
There are many, many details I won't go into, here, about how far-reaching the effects of this are .. and may well grow to be .. but you have the framework of the case: a teacher who was accused of molestation, whom the Grand Jury wouldn't indict and the School Board wouldn't terminate.
THE QUESTION IS: What if the SBC had already compiled a database of people convicted of, or credibly accused of, such predatory actions?
True, he was not primarily a church employee ... but I cannot imagine how a church could have used the information of the accusations to deny a position to him, without huge exposure to the SBC and to the church itself!
People have talked about this for 4 years that I know of, but now that I've bumped into a real life case, involving people I know, I've been forced to face the real issues with no hypothetical curtain behind which to hide.
Somehow, we keep thinking there ought to be a "nice" solution to all sins. Certainly forgiveness is the remedy for sin, and we know how that's attained, but as far as "good answers" for the results here, of our sin, sometimes there just aren't any.
Which further raises the specter that there may such far-reaching consequences of every sin. That every sin we commit is just as ugly, and just as damaging .. somewhere, sometime .. as the actions of the accused in this case. If that's true, then there are no "good answers" for us, either.
No wonder they call it "mercy". We surely don't deserve it.