“Me Too” mud is being recklessly flung in the face of institutions and individuals today in an all-out attempt to permanently taint them in the eyes of the public. A simple public accusation is all it takes for the public’s swift condemnation. Now, this is not to say that there are no valid accusations deserving serious consideration amidst the current avalanche of allegations. It is to say, however, that tons of today’s accusing tongues are “set on fire of hell,” due to the fact that they are doing the devil’s bidding, who is himself the archetypical accuser of all accusers (James 3:6; Revelation 12:10). When you witness the spectacle of unsubstantiated accusations being slanderously slung all over America today, especially among our leaders in our nation’s capital, you may rest assured of who is pulling the chain on all these mudslinging tongues. After all, the word “devil” literally means “slanderer.”
The sexual abuse scandal of the Roman Catholic Church has been proven to be anything but scurrilous. Accusations made by those preyed upon by predatory priests have been confirmed, and the Catholic Church subsequently forced to confess its own culpability in the perpetuation of these parochial sex crimes. While the mainstream media has reveled in reporting it, it has suspiciously downplayed the fact that most victims were young altar boys who were sexually abused by homosexual priests. Obviously, today’s press is careful not to cast any aspersions upon homosexual pedophiles, lest it provoke the ire of our politically correct culture and of the militant LGBT community. At the same time, however, today’s mainstream media has no qualms about casting aspersions upon Catholic priests, in an attempt to taint the whole of Christendom by doing so.
Evangelicals’ favorite cable news network, Fox News, recently came out with a hit job on the largest protestant denomination in America, the Southern Baptist Convention. According to the hit piece, Southern Baptist pulpits and pews, like the Roman Catholic priesthood, are permeated with sexual predators. This “bombshell” article, as Fox News characterizes it, is based on an investigation conducted by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News on the number of sexual abuse allegations that have been leveled against “Southern Baptist ministers and volunteers” over the last twenty years. According to the findings of the investigation, there have been 380 allegations from more than 700 victims. In addition, the majority of the allegations, around 220, have resulted in sex crime convictions or plea deals. Now, I do not question the findings of this investigation, nor do I excuse in any way this reprehensible blight on Southern Baptist churches. What I do take exception to is the obvious intent of Fox News and others to portray the Southern Baptist Convention as equally culpable for sexual abuse allegations within its independent and autonomous churches as the Roman Catholic Church is for sexual abuse allegations within its presided over parishes.
Local Southern Baptist churches are self-governed. They call, without denominational interference, their own pastors and staff, as well as enlist their own volunteers. Any allegations made against them are made to the local church, which is responsible for dealing with them. There is no Southern Baptist headquarters or hierarchy to which allegations are to be referred. On the other hand, Catholic parishes are governed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, which appoints all priests to its parishes and to whom all priests are answerable. Therefore, to taint the Southern Baptist Convention as equally culpable for sexual abuse allegations made against clergy and laity in one of its 47,000 autonomous churches as the Roman Catholic Church is for sexual abuse allegations made against its appointed priests in parishes under its absolute authority is both misleading and prejudicial.
You may think that taking the time to pen this lengthy post on a perceived hit piece on Southern Baptists by Fox News is really much ado about nothing. Likewise, you may conclude that it’s nothing more than sour grapes on my part, since I am a Southern Baptist minister. Yet, you would be wrong on both accounts. As a Southern Baptist, I am well aware of the shortcomings of our convention, which are presently becoming more pronounced than ever. In addition, I readily admit that much of what is being done by Southern Baptists today is not worth a Chinese nickel in a Japanese bazaar. Still, I felt compelled to pen this post because it does point to something profound, not superficial. It divulges something most detrimental to today’s evangelicals, due to the fact that it is going largely undetected by them.
According to the Bible, we are inhabitants of a world that is at enmity with God. Of course, this means that the world is also at enmity with us, the people or children of God. There are, once again, according to the Scripture, only two kinds of people in the world—the saints and the ain’ts! Believers are friends of God and unbelievers are foes of God. In fact, the Bible empathically states that friendship with the world is enmity with God and all lovers of God will be hated by the world. In light of these clear Scriptural truths, why is it that today’s evangelicals see themselves as bosom buddies with so-called conservative politicians and cable news networks, despite the fact that they are unbelieving, if not in profession, at least in practice?
Here’s a glaring Biblical truth being overlooked by the vast majority of present-day professing Christians: We have no dependable and devoted friends outside of our Christian faith. It’s not, as Helen Reddy portrayed it, a mother who should be singing to her child, “You and Me Against the World,” but Christians who should be singing this song to one another. Fox News is not our friend, neither is the GOP. For their sakes; that is, for TV ratings and poll numbers, both of these Benedict Arnolds will betray us in a heartbeat, since they are totally indifferent to doing anything for Christ’s sake, which, by the way, is what you and I have been divinely commissioned to do.
Remember, our Lord taught us to expect to be treated as He was treated. We too will be fiercely accosted and falsely accused. We will find, as Christ warned, foes within our own families and among our supposed friends. Was it not with a kiss that Christ Himself was betrayed in the house of His friends? Oh beware my brothers and sisters in Christ, whenever you see Fox News or the GOP pucker up.