In the decade since Vasquez's appeal for help, more than 250 people who worked or volunteered in Southern Baptist churches have been charged with sex crimes, an investigation by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reveals.
It's not just a recent problem: In all, since 1998, roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct, the newspapers found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued, and those who confessed or resigned. More of them worked in Texas than in any other state.
They left behind more than 700 victims, many of them shunned by their churches, left to themselves to rebuild their lives. Some were urged to forgive their abusers or to get abortions.
About 220 offenders have been convicted or took plea deals, and dozens of cases are pending. They were pastors. Ministers. Youth pastors. Sunday school teachers. Deacons. Church volunteers.
Nearly 100 are still held in prisons stretching from Sacramento County, Calif., to Hillsborough County, Fla., state and federal records show. Scores of others cut deals and served no time. More than 100 are registered sex offenders. Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today...And these are just the ones we know about, from 20 years or so. This is rape and sexual assault that likely had been going on for decades earlier.
For all the goddamn Christian wingnuts yelling and screaming about Muslims, the greatest threat to our families in the United States are the goddamn Christian wingnuts.
Did you catch that last bit? Some still work in Southern Baptist churches today.
Did you catch that earlier bit, where some of the victims were forced to get abortions? The Southern Baptists are one of the biggest religious groups to rail against abortion, but by God if their own should rape a woman or young girl then hey let's just make sure that medical procedure we don't talk about that it gets done in another state where nobody will find out.
Goddamned hypocrites. No, worse, Pharisees.
How is this any better than what the Catholic Church has been doing for decades (if not centuries) covering up their own pedophiles and rapists? The Pope just had to come out recently and confess his church has been covering up the rape and sex slavery of nuns, on top of the recent revelations of what priests have been doing to children.
This isn't about God (other than perverting the Lord's work) this isn't about Faith (other than destroying it for thousands of victims) this is about Power, the power of institutional control that a church can grant to those in charge. This is about a blinded, lustful Patriarchy that views their flock not as followers but as the next meal.
There is no God in these churches the second their own politics demanded they protect the rapists and abusers instead of their children and victims.
To hell with these scandal-plagued institutions. For all that the laws of man have brought against them - charges and convictions and jail time - the churches themselves remain relatively unpunished, still standing, still seeking more converts and members (and victims for their abuses). Utterly convinced God has forgiven their sins as though THEY can judge their own corrupt selves.
To hell with them. We need our government to step up here. We need accountability.
These churches need to lose their tax-exempt status.
It is an argument cropping up across the world wherever these Church scandals have struck. A lot of nations grant tax-exempt status to churches out of respect to the idea that churches are charitable institutions, looking out for the well-being of their parishioners and their communities. They also do it as a sign of separation of Church and State, to avoid the political abuse of faith that history has shown doesn't end well for a lot of innocent people.
But these sex abuse revelations are exposing that concept as a lie. These churches are so horrified by exposure they've covered up, lied, betrayed victims, all because the threat of liability - of paying restitution to victims - drove them to cover up.
These churches love Money and Power more than they love God and People.
So if money is what they love(worship), that's where the punishment should be.
End their tax-exempt status.
Oh, they'll yell, they'll scream, they'll claim we're violating their First Amendment rights to free worship. Which won't be true. If they want to keep gathering and praying, they can do that. It's just they can't keep all the goddamned cash that rolls in when they do.
We have to recognize this truth: These churches that protected sexual predators and abused their own members are no longer churches. These organizations are now criminal conspiracies.