Before replying, I thought about what I might say as what he said was both true and untrue, it was both self-evident and yet false.
By this I mean, my own Denomination the Baptists, have written at length on this issue and have set out guidelines and it's all documented. In my detailed reading of the secular media, I cannot recall even one article, where this explicit Baptist documentation has been spelt out.
Why might this be so? There appears to be three reasons for this:
1 This is what is expected of denominational churches – no news in that
2 There is no scandal involved – no news in that
3 How boring a news story – The Baptists have a protocol.
But there is more to this. It's a bit like politics. Where a Government or an Opposition gets into trouble, the opposite politic doesn't need to say anything, as the media do this task for them. Moreover, it might look like kicking someone when they're down. A very un-Australian sentiment in politics and in life.
I think of former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh. Very little of what Anna Bligh did in her leadership in that last 18 months of her Government got positive media, the media did the Opposition's task for it. Anna Bligh got it good and proper! But months after losing the election big time, Anna Bligh was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer and everyone from all sides of politics publicly and genuinely wished her well.
We in Australia recognise a difference between the political / business / church / situation where the winner takes all (as it were), and that of the personal private situation and there is no better example of that, than this Anna Bligh situation.
So too the church
So too the church. Where the media does the job, pouncing on sex crimes, it's there for all to see, the courts do their work, the perpetrators get dealt with, and like any organisation, the churches need to move on, as do schools where sex crimes have been involved, or banks were corporate personnel have laundered huge amounts of money – they move on.
The public would get very bored with the Catholics and Anglicans sending out 40 media releases every day saying how wicked these sex crimes are, and woe upon woe, that they happened, and here are 40 photographs of sackcloth and ashes upon our heads. Rather, the courts deal with these things. Inevitably it means compensation under the law.
Here is another example of where the media have done the condemning after the courts had determined their verdict, a case of child sexual abuse amongst other serious crimes. (www.dailymail.co.uk)
The victims are forever victims and many of their lives left bittered and harmed, and those in authority, whether it be School Educators, Church leaders, Corporate leaders – when confronted with the reality are themselves greatly affected. The Salvation Army have gone through this last week. I have written of this in another context, of those who have had their reputation damaged through false and misleading accusations. The damage is horrific! Healing may never be fully realised. ' target='_blank'>au.christiantoday.com
So what's news worthy
What therefore is considered news worthy in the secular media? I for one look for interesting stories in the secular media that is worthy of Christian comment. The advert in Christian Today on my daily article reads: "Everyday situations and news in a Christian context". That's my philosophy in taking a secular news story and reflecting upon it in a Christian context.
What of the reverse situation? In September last year we held our Press Service International (PSI) young writer mini-conference where we had come together from across Australia and New Zealand 30 of the brightest and best. These are professional young people in their own right who subject themselves to public criticism every month with an article.
Some years ago now, the Australian newspaper ran a feature interest story on the Sports Chaplains coming together for a conference and many had feature articles on me as the Australian cricket team chaplain. Well, I thought, how about these young writers – considering some of their CV's. I contacted a major Melbourne newspaper's religious writer.
Sam Gillespie a recognised composer of classical music (Sydney), what about Nathanael Yates the 2010 Young Scientist of the Year (Perth). How about Charley Goiris, a model and actress (Melbourne). Dale Wang, an award winning scholar in ancient Greek and Latin (Christchurch).
The response from this leading Melbourne newspaper's religious writer was – "it's just another web site".
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html