Do the math for your church.
Her opinion piece in ABP earlier this year: Opinion: Don't call it an affair. Call it abuse of power
I join her in condemning this and in calling it serious clergy misconduct and an abuse of power.
But at the recent Cooperative Baptist Fellowship meeting in June she added a not insignificant detail. Emphasis is mine:
Garland and Baylor’s study, funded by the Ford Foundation, surveyed 3,559 respondents in 17 Christian and Jewish congregations. She found statistical consistency in abuse across the board. The one anomaly that surfaced – which she had never published until speaking at this meeting – was that the incidence of clergy abuse appeared to be three times as frequent in black congregations. She didn’t publish that information for fear it would become the focal point in coverage of her findings, or that other congregations and denominations would excuse themselves by comparison.
I give her the benefit of the doubt that the researcher’s judgment might find sufficient reasons not to publish information that was discovered by the study; however, were I a member of a black congregation I would certainly want some focus on why this “anomaly” exists and would desire that it be publicized widely. That women in black churches are abused by clergy at three times the rate of women in other churches is appalling.
She offers speculation as to why this is so:
She offered as possible explanation that black churches typically have smaller staffs who have heavier loads; a higher proportion of members are female and there are fewer eligible men in the church.
Exactly how is it that “smaller staffs” make a difference? More opportunity for unsupervised counseling and liason?
Garland now appears to be tiptoeing into these racial waters. It would certainly be groundbreaking to pursue this.
For the record: the stories most of us white pastors have heard for years about our predecessors, collegues, and other clergy are not to be ignored or excused.