SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:45 am

That's OK by me---I am just trying to say "I know by personal experience people are not always as they appear and the fakers are hard to detect at times."

It goes back to the Reaction-Formation Psychosis thing. The key to detecting a fake is that it's "too much" of a show.

I fail to see any "looking foolish" stuff in this.

William---do you know anything about psychosis or neurosis?
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:06 am

Actually, we don't know if this was a seminary student or a college student enrolled through the efforts to pump up FTE's on seminary campuses by letting people get their bachelor's degree there as well. That's really irrelevant, but the assumption that the perpertrator and victim were both future ministers may or may not be warranted.

Actually, the seminary seems totally uninvolved in this. SEBTS did not have a role in reporting the crime, as far as I can see, and I have seen no comment from the seminary on the matter.

BTW, human sin seems to know no theological boundaries. It exists just as surely among the CR crowd as among any other group in society.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby William Thornton » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:11 am

Gene Scarborough wrote:That's OK by me---I am just trying to say "I know by personal experience people are not always as they appear and the fakers are hard to detect at times."

It goes back to the Reaction-Formation Psychosis thing. The key to detecting a fake is that it's "too much" of a show.

I fail to see any "looking foolish" stuff in this.

William---do you know anything about psychosis or neurosis?


Well, Fox calls me "Dr." does that qualify me? :lol:

Gene, just keep your family out of this. It doesn't help your case.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby William Thornton » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:13 am

Dave Roberts wrote: Actually, the seminary seems totally uninvolved in this. SEBTS did not have a role in reporting the crime, as far as I can see, and I have seen no comment from the seminary on the matter.


Actually, they spoke quickly and appropriately to the matter. You can get the links in my blog A particularly sad time at Southeastern

You ought to get my blog feed, Dave, and keep up with SBC stuff better. :wink:
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:38 am

I think we all must do a careful examination of human nature which is the basis of Psychology.

All humans want to keep their ego intact and view themselves as better than others = sinless. We all know that is not true, but the more people try to appear perfect, the more they provide Satan with good tools to work with!

We are all sexual beings and that is one of our greatest things for Satan to play with. At SEBTS, he has wrought a great public scandal to allow people to say, "That's just the way the 'righteous' are!"

We have much egg on our faces with sexual matters not being addressed to keep the perverts out of the clerical collar. Normally, when churches had to recommend anyone for a student at any seminary, that was the protection of local knowledge.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:33 am

To add some fine details to the question of who the guy is, BP's article says:

Birch worked 10 years in hotel management before enrolling in the College at Southeastern, an undergraduate school that awards bachelor’s and associate degrees established in 1994. He began studies in the seminary’s master-of-divinity program in the fall of 2011, with a goal of someday earning a Ph.D. in church history.

He was among a network of Southern Baptist bloggers, representing a minority position opposed to the rising interest in Calvinism popular among his generation. Currently off-line, his blog described him as a “former Calvinist Southern Baptist” who was born again in 1995.

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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Wed Mar 21, 2012 4:29 pm

To add, here is the latest from ABP:

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (ABP) – A Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary student arrested March 17 and charged with sexual assault has been expelled and removed from student housing, officials of the school in Wake Forest, N.C., said March 21.

...Akin said he met with Birch Monday, after Birch posted a $50,000 bail. He described Birch as ashamed and repentant, and said that he asked for and received Akin’s forgiveness.

“Not only did I forgive him for what he had done,” Akin said, “but I want to let you know that Birch’s victim has already forgiven him as well.”
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Haruo » Wed Mar 21, 2012 5:23 pm

Hopefully wherever he goes from here, he will be scrutinized. Forgiveness is a great thing, but not the greatest, and it can easily be manipulated by the recidivism-inclined penitent.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Gene Scarborough » Wed Mar 21, 2012 6:07 pm

Isn't it so sweet that SEBTS is such a forgiving place---would that were true before Lolley was forced out!!!!

We can forgive the sordid activities, but can't forgive Lolley for not kissing the hind parts of CR = go figure!! :wink:
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:33 pm

http://www.bpnews.net/printerfriendly.asp?ID=37436

This is the second story about the incident in what is, perhaps, a surprisingly candid Baptist Press. It looks like the school and its administration is handling this in accordance with the scriptures, and consistent with their proclaimed faith.

Gene Scarborough wrote:Isn't it so sweet that SEBTS is such a forgiving place---would that were true before Lolley was forced out!!!!


Somehow, I guessed that Gene would keep bringing this back to Southeastern's "good ole glory days" under the pre-1979 SBC leadership. How they would have handled this is only speculation at this point, though the track record on similar incidents from those days wasn't all that good. Generally, they tended to sweep this kind of thing under the rug, use their resources to hide it, pretend it didn't go on, or use someone's power and influence to "make it go away." That goes along with "I don't remember anything like this happening when I was there in the good ole days".
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:42 pm

Sandy wrote:
Somehow, I guessed that Gene would keep bringing this back to Southeastern's "good ole glory days" under the pre-1979 SBC leadership.


And some how I knew you'd find a way to run down the pre-takeover leadership. Don't y'all ever take a breather to concentrate on current events rather than 30 year old history?
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Trying to Clarify the Speculation

Postby Dave Miller » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:25 am

Two things have bothered me in the reaction to this tragedy:

1) The speculation and rush to fill in facts that were not known (and seem now not to be true).
2) The use of this sad situation to promote personal agendas.

This is a tragedy and it is only made worse by this kind of behavior.

I have been in contact with Billy and he has given permission to me to share his story. I have not spoken to any law enforcement, nor read the charges against Billy. This is his story, and it has been consistent. I want to speak clearly, because my words have been twisted fairly egregiously by at least one blogger as he has advanced his agenda.

1) I am not a "defender" of Billy or of his actions. I am his friend. What he did was sinful and awful - and he admits this. I am grieved by his actions as is he. I do not plan to throw him under the bus, but I want to stand by him as a friend. He committed a sin, which was also a crime. But he did not reach the end of God's grace and I am not going to treat him like an outcast.
2) Billy has admitted to touching a fellow student inappropriately while that student was asleep. Not drugged. Not drunk. Not incapacitated or bound, as some have speculated here and elsewhere. Asleep.
3) He has admitted to touching the student, and to nothing else. Some have speculated about what the crime was. Billy has only confessed to touching. When the case goes to court (if it does) the facts will be legally established.
4) Billy has been broken and repentant in every communication with me.
5) Billy asked for prayer, especially for the person he hurt.

Those are the facts as Billy presents them. I am sure that this will not stop those who want to speculate from speculation or those who want to advance an agenda from advancing an agenda.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Gene Scarborough » Thu Mar 22, 2012 5:18 am

Dave---

You run the blog I used to be on. It was a waste of time for me to be there since, like Sandy, you are convinced of your righteousness. This sharing of facts different from the published story is needed and I'm going to take your word.

Do you have any idea where the "drugged roomate" part of this story got started?

Either way, your compassion is admirable and I would try to do the same even though I too do not condone using people for sexual gratification. Since the man has shared his story, has he also shared why he preferrs same-sex stuff so I know you are beginning to understand homosexuality and some of its causes?
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Re: Trying to Clarify the Speculation

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:58 am

Dave Miller wrote:Two things have bothered me in the reaction to this tragedy:

1) The speculation and rush to fill in facts that were not known (and seem now not to be true).
2) The use of this sad situation to promote personal agendas.

This is a tragedy and it is only made worse by this kind of behavior.

I have been in contact with Billy and he has given permission to me to share his story. I have not spoken to any law enforcement, nor read the charges against Billy. This is his story, and it has been consistent. I want to speak clearly, because my words have been twisted fairly egregiously by at least one blogger as he has advanced his agenda.

1) I am not a "defender" of Billy or of his actions. I am his friend. What he did was sinful and awful - and he admits this. I am grieved by his actions as is he. I do not plan to throw him under the bus, but I want to stand by him as a friend. He committed a sin, which was also a crime. But he did not reach the end of God's grace and I am not going to treat him like an outcast.
2) Billy has admitted to touching a fellow student inappropriately while that student was asleep. Not drugged. Not drunk. Not incapacitated or bound, as some have speculated here and elsewhere. Asleep.
3) He has admitted to touching the student, and to nothing else. Some have speculated about what the crime was. Billy has only confessed to touching. When the case goes to court (if it does) the facts will be legally established.
4) Billy has been broken and repentant in every communication with me.
5) Billy asked for prayer, especially for the person he hurt.

Those are the facts as Billy presents them. I am sure that this will not stop those who want to speculate from speculation or those who want to advance an agenda from advancing an agenda.


Dave, as I read your response, the role of SEBTS seems peripheral at best. It just was the place and the community in which this occurred. They have acknowledged this. If anything, they seem quick with their expulsion of the perpetrator. Sandy keeps insinuating that prior to the Takeover such things would have been swept under the rug and hidden. I have no stake in SEBTS, but I pastored in NC during the 1970's and 1980's and was associated with SEBTS faculty and staff on numerous occasions. I never saw any evidence of things being swept under the rug. A forgiving and redemptive spirit characterized those days, and despite what Billy may have done, I hope it will characterize the present. I also hope that there will be those from the seminary community who fulfill the command of Jesus and "visit him in prison" and encourage him toward the psychological counseling he may need.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:13 am

David Miller has mentioned agendas. So far the agendas I have seen have been to try to make this about the Takeover/CR. That's just patently unrelated to this situation.

The other possible agenda he could be referring to would be the concern that denominations need to have some way to keep track of offenders for the safety of the church. I honestly see that agenda as being related to this issue. And I don't think it is inappropriate to talk about how we deal with clergy or persons in the process of becoming clergy when they fall. Every denomination has to deal with this no matter what their polity. There has been a lot of criticism from Christa Brown and others about how the SBC has (or hasn't) dealt with these issues. I think that is a valid concern that comes up any time such a moral failure occurs. After all, no one would be talking about it if a problem didn't come up.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Mar 22, 2012 10:25 am

"Mentally incapacitated and physically helpless" - that's the description from the arrest warrant.

The accused - per Dave's relay - says the student was sleeping. It seems Birch would disagree with the description included in the warrant.

The police charged him with sexual assault.

Birch has admitted to "touching a fellow student inappropriately"

That itself is vague.

My guess - in light of Dave's claim that Billy has "ONLY confessed to.." - is that the facts will be in dispute and a jury will have to make a determination with regard to what is and is not "fact"

I don't see much agenda promoting going on though. I see Gene ranting as he often does. I honestly don't read Gene when he starts sounding utterly absurd.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby William Thornton » Fri Mar 23, 2012 6:20 am

After almost a week of reading about this on the blogs, I'm thinking that once he was arrested, he was unwise to confess any details at all to another and then give permission to put it on the blogs. The general issue of our promise for prayers and that justice be done would be sufficient.

I have respect for Dave Miller and his sense of propriety but surely Birch has a defense attorney who will give him the standard counsel not to say anything further because it cannot help him.

Unless there is some discussion left here that is profitable, I make the suggestion that we drop this. If Gene wants to start a general ihatethenewSEBTS topic, he may certainly do so.
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Dave Miller's Comment Above and a Continued Discussion

Postby Wade Burleson » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:56 am

William Thornton wrote: Unless there is some discussion left here that is profitable, I make the suggestion that we drop this.


William, I respect your moderation but would like to point out why I'm not so sure this SHOULD be dropped. Dave Miller, a person for whom I also have respect, has made an error in judgment in my opinion. Here is what Dave wrote:

Dave Miller wrote: Two things have bothered me in the reaction to this tragedy:

1) The speculation and rush to fill in facts that were not known (and seem now not to be true).
2) The use of this sad situation to promote personal agendas.

This is a tragedy and it is only made worse by this kind of behavior.


Dave Miller, I am choosing to respond here and not on my blogsite to what you have said about what "bothers" you about the response to this "sad situation." I was floored when I read your comment above and frankly, I believe your words require a sharp rebuke.

1). You seem to imply that "the rush to fill in facts" (which now seem NOT true) is a reference to my blogsite where I state that "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless" is the usual police language for a drugged state.

I have over thirty years of experience in law enforcement, and have been to multiple sexual crime sites and understand how officers report such criminal actions. Most state statutes list actions taken for personal sexual gratification on a victim that is "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless" as a second degree sexual assault, precisely what William Birch is charged with in this case. The issue is the phrase the police used in the report-- "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless." That is specific legal language. They can use the word "sleeping," but if there is a suspicion that the perpetrator for some reason believed the victim was handicapped or drugged, then "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless" is the ONLY language the police can use.

The North Carolina Statute reads in this manner:

§ 14‑27.5. Second‑degree sexual offense.
(a) A person is guilty of a sexual offense in the second degree if the person engages in a sexual act with another person:
(1) By force and against the will of the other person; or
(2) Who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally
disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
(emphasis mine).
(b) Any person who commits the offense defined in this section is guilty of a Class C felony. (1979, c. 682, s. 1; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1316, s. 7; 1981, c. 63; c. 179, s. 14; 1993, c. 539, s. 1131; 1994,
Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2002‑159, s. 2(c).)

There is a recent North Carolina Court of Appeals case from 2011 (see here: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/nc-court-of- ... 57291.html) that specifically defines "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless," a case which law enforcement officials in North Carolina will be very aware of when filing charges of "second degree sexual assault."

I could illustrate how it is YOU who is rushing to a judgment of "truth" on behalf of the perpetrator. For example, how do you know that the victim was not taking sleeping medicine, and the perpetrator knew (or thought he knew) that the victim had taken sleeping medicine and was now in a drugged state? What if the perpetrator knew (or thought he knew) that some kind of allergy medicine or other prescription drug that causes the victim to be drousy and "mentally incapacitated and physically helpless"? Dave, how do you know that the victim had not suspected some kind of abusive behavior by the "perpretator" in preceding weeks while he was in such a mentally incapacitated and physically helpless state? How do you know the victim chose on Friday night, March 26, 2012 to NOT take his medicine and this is WHY the perpetrator was caught? I don't know that the above examples are true--and neither do you. But YOU are the one saying in your comment, based on the words of the perpetrator, that certain facts "seem not to be true." You don't know what is true and what is not true. What we KNOW is the police report. To accept the statement from the perpetrator of a felony act that the victim was "only" sleeping and people should be ashamed for rushing into judgments is to discount the language in the police report that makes it clear there is reason to believe the perpetrator thought the victim was in a "mentally incapacited and in a physically helpless state" --langauge that is much stricter than "sleeping." Maybe the victim was "just sleeping." But you are the one who seems to be rushing to accept the word of the perpetrator. In my experience, one of the reasons criminals continue in their behavior is because "friends and family" rush to judgment that what the perpetrator says is true. Dave, I would pause ... and pause ... and pause ... before you ever publicly state that something "seems now true" when you have had no contact with police, the victim or the District Attorney.

2). You are "bothered" by the use of this sad situation to promote a "personal agenda."

If you could be more specific, I would not be so strong in my condemnation of your comment. Whose personal agenda? What personal agenda? The victims? Mine? Whose? Without further information, I can only assume you mean the "personal agenda" is my desire for a sexual abuse data base for the Southern Baptist Convention. If you are "bothered" by my desire to protect victims and future victims from sexual perpetrators who use the cover of ministry to satisfy their sexual lusts by violating the sexual boundaries of innocent victims, then I can't help that you are bothered. I can only "bother" you further. I'm not sure why you think it is "my agenda." It's not my agenda; it is the agenda of abuse victims. There is a problem in the Southern Baptist Convention. I would be more than happy to send you letters and emails that I have received from dozens of women and men who were sexually molested or abused by their Southern Baptist pastor, youth minister or some other Southern Baptist staff member, and it LOOKS as if the Southern Baptist Convention and us pastors care nothing for the victims, but only "protecting our friends."

3). You did not mention one time in your comment that you were "bothered" that a Southern Baptist seminary student was sexually abused in the privacy of his dormitory.

You did not mention one time in your comment that the sexual felony in the seminary dorm room "bothered" you. It only makes you "sad." I am "bothered" that a seminary student is sexually violated "against his will." I read where someone said, "But the student William Birch touched while he was sleeping was a man in his twenties and is 6'1" and over 200 pounds." That statement made me want to puke. It sounds as if we are justifying the second degree sexual felony because the perpetrator is alleging that it was not "rape" or "sodomy" only touching. Well by George, just touch for a season and see if anybody wakes up, and if they don't, then let's go further! David Miller, before you defend a perpetrator and declares what "bothers" you is "a rush to judgment" or a "personal agenda," I would suggest you come with me to a second degree sexual crime scene. Or, maybe, you ought to read up a little on things: http://pc.brooklyn.cuny.edu/sexaslt.htm.

4). You seem to have lost your perspective on the difference between love for your brother and justice.

I have already made several phone calls trying to find out how to reach William Birch to help him financially and to help him find a new job. I want William Birch to find healing and forgiveness and I want his future to be bright. But I also want William Birch to carry the label of sexual offender for the rest of his life. I want him listed, identified and known as a sexual offender. That is the consequence of this particular criminal offense. I do also agree with William Thornton. William Birch's attorney will be livid he "confessed" to anything. I think what you will find, however, that what you wish to push off as an innocent and curious touching of the private parts of another human being is a far, far more serious matter than your comment at Baptist Life conveys you understand.

Out of respect for you and your ministry, I am only posting this comment on Baptist Life where the ubiquitous Google search engine cannot reach. However, depending on your response, I reserve the right to blog the essence of what I have written here. My simple goal is to remind you that no personal agenda and no rush to judgment should EVER bother you more than a second degree sexual assault, and if you continue to make comments like the one above I would be more than happy to take this matter up with you in a more public forum.
Last edited by Wade Burleson on Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:58 am

I would still like someone to respond to how they know these things were swept under the rug pre-takeover. That seems to me the most gratuitous and blantant character assassination without citing any form of evidence. What think you, William?
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:10 am

I commend Wade for a very clear and accurate statement.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby William Thornton » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:22 am

Dave Roberts wrote:I would still like someone to respond to how they know these things were swept under the rug pre-takeover. That seems to me the most gratuitous and blantant character assassination without citing any form of evidence. What think you, William?


I ignore all the discussion about this relative to the CR, Dave. It is a worthless exercise. I'll say what I said before with an addendum or two:

This is a newsworthy item, sufficiently so for even Baptist Press to report it.

SEBTS seems to me to have responded appropriately and in a timely manner.

Since Birch was known in blogging circles, it is not surprising that this found its way quickly onto the blogs and with greater personal interest and detail that if he was not known. If the case is not closed quickly with some plea by the accused, some bloggers may find their words and communications used in the case.

Since Wade Burleson proposed an SBC database of convicted and confessed sexual abusers, I am not surprised that he seized on this as an example of one who would be included in such a database and thereby made known to all SBC churches who pay attention to such things when calling staff. This is certainly an agenda, although I see nothing wrong with his use of the case in this manner. The database proposal is worth its own discussion. I'm not sure of the profit in discussing (speculating?) about the details of this case. An assault occurred. There has been a confession. The man would go in the database on this basis, for good reason.

I suggested this be dropped. I didn't move to lock the topic. If Wade and Dave want to discuss their discussion of the matter, I have no objection to it being done here.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:16 am

A really great, clear comment from Wade.

Like I said a few times earlier, the arrest warrant stated "MENTALLY CAPACITATED AND PHYSICALLY HELPLESS"

That's been repeatedly demonstrated to be specific legal language. I asked my brother-in-law, a police officer in Killeen-Fort Hood about that phrasing. He said that the language clearly means that the officer believed that the victim was not simply sleeping.

I noticed on Wade's blog that numerous individuals were trying to downplay this sexual assault as "inappropriate touching." I wish Dave were outraged that some who claim to have spoken with Birch are trying to characterize felony assault as something merely inappropriate.

"Touching" just doesn't sound bad to most - that's why predators often try to characterize their actions in this manner. But most who understand what "touching" actually often involves in the case of sexual predators, knows that "touching" is actually "sexual assault" - the crime Birch was charged with.

Why is anyone taking Birch's word or suggesting even that we might be able to trust Birch's word?

Also, I understand the sin is a sin is a sin point. We're all sinners, etc. But I think it's problematic when we describe a sex crime as a "moral failure." In our society, most people who hear of a sex-related "moral failure" are going to think about a man cheating on his wife.

There has to be stronger language used than a "moral failure" for a sexual assault. Honestly, I think when non-evangelicals hear that type of language used, they question whether folks really understand the seriousness of the matter.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Neil Heath » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:26 pm

In reply to Wade's comment that he posted here so Google's search engine couldn't reach it--one of the registered users that shows up in my list of who's online is "Google [bot]".

It's one of several bots that do indeed crawl these pages, so it may be that your post will show up on search results.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Haruo » Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:46 pm

Neil Heath wrote:In reply to Wade's comment that he posted here so Google's search engine couldn't reach it--one of the registered users that shows up in my list of who's online is "Google [bot]".

It's one of several bots that do indeed crawl these pages, so it may be that your post will show up on search results.

Good point, and good question. I note that this thread has been going for several days, yet so far a search for "SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault" yields no hits at Google. So I'm not sure what their bot, or Yahoo's, collects here. Or maybe they just run around aimlessly.
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Re: SBC Blogger Charged w/ Sexual Assault

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:57 pm

I know you can find BaptistLife.com posts via Google Searches but it really takes some digging (from my experience)

The same is generally true for comments left on blog posts.

Blog posts themselves, of course, are going to pop up in Google searches and Google alerts.
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