I know the Southern Baptist Church doesn’t have the same level of hierarchy as other denominations, but when the Convention decided that women couldn’t be ministers, that was the end of it. Baptist churches can have women ministers, but then they don’t get to be Southern Baptist.
Let me tell you, this will happen. Maybe not a database, but the SBC is going to have to figure out some way to deal with this more effectively than just saying “La, la, la, we can’t hear you.” The first reason is because there are a ton of victims out there, who are hurting and who needed their God’s love to come through the Church and instead got told, in so many words, to just keep quiet. That kind of evil cannot stand. We saw that with the Catholic Church. This stuff comes out, eventually, and the people too cowardly to do anything about it get to go down in history as just that, cowards.
But the second reason is the reason that I imagine things will finally start to happen. Right now, because the Church has its head up its ass, there is no recourse for the innocent minister. If you’re accused of something, those rumors follow you around, because people don’t know for sure. If congregations can trust that, when an accusation is made, that the proper investigations are made and the truth discovered, then people who are falsely accused have protection and people who are properly accused meet justice.
There may be a third thing that begins to come into play as well. In most states, there are certain professionals–teachers, ministers, and the like–who are legally required to report abuse if they suspect it (as Ulrich points out in her original story). If the church can’t figure out a way to clean up its own messes, the law will have to step in to do it, which means that anybody who knows a pastor is sexually abusive and stays quiet will have legal as well as spiritual problems.
My favorite part about Ulrich’s post over at Pith is when the bigwigs are all “Our congregations are too stupid to use computers.” You’d think that’d be a deal breaker for most people–that once they learned their Church hierarchy thought they were idiots, they’d either find new churches or rework the hierarchy. But people are strange.
Edited to add: Actually, this post appears to have no question. I did have a question, but I can’t remember what it was.