Please read this post by Wade Burleson, who has for a long time courageously stood up against the powermongering of Paige Patterson. I have only a short clip… it’s a long article but the whole is valuable reading. Wade Burleson calls on the SBC folks to clear Paige off the seminary’s campus. Burleson’s article has within a confession by Rick Patrick that is a sign that one man is doing the right thing.
The recent controversy surrounding Paige Patterson’s counsel to an abused woman to go back to her abusive husband and submit to him, trusting God rather reporting the abuse to authorities, had opened a deep wound in this woman’s heart.
In 2003, she was an M.Div student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She told us that one night, she was sexually and brutally attacked. Screaming and fighting the attacker means its nonconsensual.
I was determined not to ask specifics of the attack, so it was only hours later after several follow-up emails that the full scope of the sexual assault was clear. When my wife finally understood what had actually happened, she struggled to comprehend President Paige Patterson’s response to the assault.
The rape victim reported the assault to Dr. Alan Mosely (see Washington Post article). Dr. Mosely worked in an administration that required all matters like this to be directed to the President’s Office. Why? Listen to Paige Patterson’s own words from a message he preached in 2013:
- Patterson suggested women who have had “a problem in your home” should not bring their case to a judge because it could get in the way of that judge becoming a Christian.
- “Settle it within the church of God,” he said. “And if you suffer for it, and if you were misused, and if you were abused, and if you’re not represented properly, it’s okay. You can trust it to the God who judges justly.”
- He then prayed, “Lord, may we make up our minds that we won’t take our troubles to the press, we won’t take our troubles to the government, we won’t take our troubles anywhere except to the people of God and beyond that to the Lord Jesus.”Within an hour of reporting the assault, Paige Patterson contacted the woman and asked her to “come to my office.” If you’ve ever been in Paige Patterson’s office, you know that there are a lot of trophy game, dead animals that are displayed. As the rape victim recounted to us her story, I had a visual in my mind of this 23-year-old walking into the den of death.
I asked her, “Did anybody go with you?
“No,” she told my wife and me over the speakerphone, “I went by myself.”
When the rape victim arrived, Paige Patterson introduced the traumatized woman to three men in the office, men Patterson introduced as “my proteges.”
I am reserving details about that interrogation until I am able to speak with the other men in the room. What I can say is that this woman, after being traumatized to reveal every sordid detail of the assault to four men, was told by Dr. Paige Patterson not to go to legal authorities.
I believed her story immediately.
Another fearless one, Jonathan Merritt, has a thought experiment: What if it had been Tim Cook of Apple? His answer ought to haunt Southwestern:
Cook would have been terminated immediately. He would not have received compensation or honorary titles or a plush retirement residence in Silicon Valley. Let this sink in: America’s most prominent tech company has a stronger ethical compass when it comes to the dignity of women than America’s largest Protestant denomination.
But this is, of course, not a statement on the moral fortitude of the tech industry. The same would be true for an advertising executive on Madison Avenue, a hedge fund manager on Wall Street, a prominent actor in Hollywood or a politician inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C.
Which is to say that many of the secular communities in America that Southern Baptists have painted as evil possess more moral courage than they do. Consider that for a moment and it will tell you all you need to know about the current state of America’s largest Protestant denomination.