It's truly amazing! The Layman is providing a fill in the blank form, so that we all can pile on to the suit. Let's all be busy bodies and pers...uh...prosecute a case we don't know enough about.
I guess I no longer understand how privacy in these cases is supposed to work.I was under the impression that such allegations were to remain private and that, it is an actionable offense for others to release such information, even if the accused has already done so. In our presbytery the Moderator has interpreted this to mean that the accused can't even be named in Presbytery meetings. (ie. "We have received an accusation against an minister-member.")So, am I confused about this? Or is the other side just being hypocrites again in condemning someone for supposedly defying the BoO while they do so happily?
BTW, I assume that when this actually comes to trial it will be like the trial against Janet Edwards in which even the "classical" presbyterians who lived there and who actually signed the accusations couldn't be bothered to attend the trial.So much for Matthew 18. But apparently some people can pick and choose to which situations those verses apply.
So, am I confused about this? Or is the other side just being hypocrites again...I'm guessing door number 2. You don't need to be bright or consistent to be busy. You just need to pretend outrage.
I currently serve on an investigating committee. The Presbytery Stated Clerk told the Presbytery who served on the IC. We were instructed to call the accused Minister K. If anyone found out who Minister K is it didn't come from us. And yes, I believe those against whom allegations have been made have the right to their privacy. If we don't bring charges or a couple of us become the prosecuting committee and the accused if found guilty only then can the minister's name be told and that should be at the next presbytery meeting when the person's punishment is heard.I have no idea how the Layman got the information but I'm not sure if someone who is not in the IC can talk about it. Personally I think unless the person has charges brought against him/her and s/he loses at the PJC no one should talk about it. In most cases it is gossip and I think THAT is an allegation that can and should be brought before an IC.But just to make things fun the best friend of the accused yelled at me at the last Presbytery meeting and also at the Chair of the IC. And BTW the allegations have nothing to do with sex, marriage or any of the usual charges.
Oh, and Alan that means I think your are correct. My Mom always told me that gossips had too little to do. But I am convinced that if someone is brought up on charges for gossiping - and the person has done it - at the very least that person, if found guilty should be formally rebuked before the presbytery. And if an IC member does so they should receive a rebuke as well. All of this AFTER the IC is done.See it can be good to be an anal retentive Presbyterian. In any case the rules of privacy must be followed.
I don't really understand Presbyterian polity, but at least your synods, whatever those are, have fun names.
And you should see our hats!
It truly is lucky for the BFTSs that we don't have a bunch of out-of-work ambulance chasers to keep busy by filing nuisance charges like they do. Otherwise, given their frequent and flagrant flouting of our constitution, they'd be up to their necks in paperwork.Sometimes it does slightly disappoint me that we always have to be the adults and show restraint, because it might be fun sometime to give them a taste of their own medicine once in a while. Instead I just keep hoping they'll find a more productive way to vent their sexual frustration.
Is there a different standard for confidentiality between remedial and disciplinary cases?
DaveGood question. We just had a remedial case brought against the COM of Philly Presby. The name of the person that brought the case was never mentioned and the specific reason for remedy was never announced. Of course maybe We folks in Philly are more closed mouth than folks in Wisconsin and CA.
Beyond that I will defer to Alan who served on a PJC.
I think privacy is privacy regardless of the type of accusation, but I may be wrong there.
In any event, the point of this story in the layman is not to distribute "news", it is simply a moment for the LayMEN to gloat while gleefully rubbing their hands for yet another court fight.Which they'll lose yet again.
@AlanI agree with you about privacy but I do think there are some cases in which it will be impossible to maintain. Example: in a remedial case a member of presbytery who voted against a motion that won announces that s/he was bringing a remedial case and names the vote taken. It's not what I would call good behavior but it might be done. Also when a remedial case is brought against a presbytery do the members of presbytery have a right to know the reason for the case?There are also cases of sexual misconduct for which part of the PJC decides whether the pastor should be put on paid leave. If the pastor is found not guilty the members of the congregation (and probably the presbytery too) will know s/he has been charged with sexual misconduct. While I think there are situations in which paid leave is necessary I am pretty certain that the pastor, if found not guilty, will have to seek another call as too many people will know about the charges and conclude that no matter what the PJC (or the investigating committee) ultimately decide will believe the pastor to be guilty.
There are always complicated situations, but the expectation should be that privacy is maintained whenever and wherever possible.However, I think most people would agree that among those situations is *not* an extremist right-wing fundy group that violates privacy because it wants to advertise such charges for their own political and financial gain.