Patterson's 'Evil' Comments

February 22, 2008

Sexual abuse by ministers is probably once of the worst scandals and tragedies in churches in recent years. Although Catholics have been hit the hardest, Protestants are not immune to predator ministers. Sadly, it seems that many denominational leaders are turning a blind eye to the problem, thus making basically the same error as some Catholic bishops did. However, perhaps the worst response yet by a denominational official is the attack that Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson made on advocates speaking out for victims. Patterson called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest "evil-doers" and "just as reprehensible as sex criminals." Such rhetoric is completely unacceptable! To attack those who are working to bring justice and healing suggests that he is completely unfit to serve as a denominational or moral leader. The only evil ones are those who commit such evil acts (including a former protégé Patterson was defending). Such comments are completely un-Christlike and suggest a tragic lack of love and compassion.

SNAP's founder and president Barbara Blaine responded, "While not every church official likes us, none has ever before called us 'evil' or claimed we were as bad as child predators." SNAP is calling on Patterson to apologize, which they say would be "a sign of wisdom, maturity and humility." Hopefully, Patterson will do the right thing and not only apologize but also work to prevent future victims. If not, he should not be considered a moral leader or be in charge of an institution that is training the next generation of ministers. His values, as represented in the attack on SNAP, are not those that should be passed on. Jesus spoke strongly against those who would hurt the "little ones." Patterson needs to stop such hateful rhetoric or else he might find himself also snagged by the metaphorical milestone of those he defends.