Listen: Southern Baptist Convention, Rachel Denhellender And Larry Nassar discussed on All Things Considered
"Well, there's so much going on out there. I don't know where to start. Let's see if you're an Anaheim hills right now, the westbound ninety one Lakeview avenue year behind a crash that's blocking the left lane near backed up from imperial highway also in Baldwin park eastbound tan before Baldwin park boulevard. We have a crash at the motorcycle and another one in the carpool lane that has you backed up from the six five. Thanks, always look fog near the coast early tonight spreading inland with lows in the sixties at five thirty five from NPR news. This is all things considered. I'm Audie Cornish and Mary Louise Kelley in Birmingham. Alabama this week southern Baptist. Convention leaders are gathered for their annual meeting a meeting that this year is dominated by one issue, how to address sexual abuse at their churches earlier this year reports emerged that nearly four hundred male southern Baptist church leaders have been accused of sexual abuse over the last two decades, yesterday, SBC pastors voted to change. It's constitution making it easier to kick out churches that do not. Take us claim seriously. And the SBC has launched new guidelines for church leaders wrestling with the issue among those who have helped shape those guidelines is Rachel Denhellender. She's a lawyer and an author and a survivor of sexual abuse. You may remember her name from the Larry Nassar case, he's the former head doctor of the US women's Olympic gymnastics team. He was sentenced last year to up to one hundred seventy five years in prison for sexual misconduct and Rachel Denhellender was the first to come forward and file a criminal complaint against him. She joins me now Rachel. Good to speak with you again. It's great to be here. Let me start with your reaction to this big vote in Birmingham this week to change the constitution of the southern Baptist convention. What do you think? You know, I'm encouraged by the step it makes it easier to deal with churches, that have enabled or covered up sexual abuse that being said it is a framework, only a framework, only what do you mean? Well, it creates a new committee by which these claims can be vetted. What we don't know yet is, who is going to be on that committee. What questions the committee will be asking as they consider, whether or not churches are in violation of ESPN standards on sexual abuse. And so it really remains to be seen. What is built on that framework touch me about the culture? I'm thinking of some reporting that our religion correspondent Tom gjelten has been doing this week. He's been interviewing southern Baptist women, and they describe a culture that is resistant to change has that been your experiences. You've interacted with church leaders in the truth is, I think there's a quite significant divide. Many of the leaders that I have interacted with our very committed to change. They recognize an understand the damage of. Sexual abuse. They are broken over, what is taking place that being said, there are certainly a faction within the SPCA that remains resistant to change, and that most importantly, does not really understand some of the theological misinterpretations that so often lead church leaders soon, this handle abuse misunderstanding concepts of forgiveness and grace and dealing with abuse in the church, instead of relying on outside experts to handle, both the investigation in the counseling dynamics, what made you want to take this on. You know, there, there are a lot of reasons he had the issue of abuse, is, obviously something that is very personal to me. I have I have lived the damage I have seen the damage. In addition to that, I do come from a Christian perspective, faith perspective. And so, in many ways, this is part of my community, and your most able to make change in the communities that you hold closest to you. You reminded me of something you told me last year I interviewed you from the court as Larry Nassar was being sentenced, and you started talking about your kids. And you told me you want your son to grow into a man who is a protector and defender, and you want your daughters to grow into warriors, and I remember being struck by how this fight with something if felt like you needed to do for you, but also for the next generation to fill those steaks, as you work with, with the southern Baptist convention on this think by large, that's the motivation for all the survivor community to protect the next generation to do what we can to ensure that this does not happen to another child, and that if it does the help and support is there for them in ways that it wasn't for us. It was you coming forward that helped open the floodgates in that case with Larry Nassar, do you believe there are other abuse cases in the southern Baptist church that have yet to come to light, absolutely survivors living silence for so long in one of the reasons that they do the main reason they do is because they watch how society talks about abuse, and they watch how our culture treats abuse victims. And that's one of the primary things we need to change. We have to let them know that they're safe when they come forward before they're going to be able to speak up, our cultural and societal response to those survivors, who have spoken up is really going to set the tone for whether or not others, feel free to come forward. And may I ask is someone who's prominently working on those within the church while obviously, wanting to respect the anonymity of people coming forward to women come to you and tell you their stories. They do all the time. And oftentimes I am the first disclosure. And I consider that an absolute privilege to be trusted with their stories. It's not something I ever take for granted. Attorney and advocate. Rachel Denhellender talking there about the southern Baptist convention and her work to put in place. New guidelines for how the church handles, sexual abuse, Rachel Denhellender. Thank you. Thank you. Federal land managers are proposing rule changes to a landmark environmental law. They wanna fast track forest management projects like thinning and prescribed burning that they say are critical to reducing wildfire risks. Environmentalists are calling it a back door move to increase logging, which they say, we'll do little to reduce the risk NPR's Kirk siegler reports after last fall's deadly campfire. The Trump administration has been trying to speed up forest management projects in the name of preventing these big mega-fires now the forest service is proposing revisions to its national environmental Policy Act, or Niba regulations for the first time in more than a decade, the change could limit reviews and public input on."