At a recent coaches' meeting BBC's volunteer coaches were given the following documents to fill out and sign and told that it would be mandatory if they wished to continue coaching.
The first document includes the Basic Application, the Leadership Covenant, a Background Information sheet, and a Volunteer Authorization/Consent & Release form. It is obvious from the wording of the "Leadership Covenant" that it was written for use with Sunday School teachers and other workers.
The second document includes the Coaches Covenant and a sheet concerning Biblical Peacemaking.
Finally, attached was a copy of A Summary of Your Rights Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Can we assume this means there will be credit checks, too?
In this day and age I don't think anyone who's going to work with minors should object to a criminal background check, but the "loyalty oath" and checking members' giving records is too much. The latter has already been happening for some time. People have already been "called on the carpet" for not giving as much as Steve Gaines thought they should. I wonder if it's ever occurred to him that some people drop cash in the collection plate. So how does he know people aren't tithing 10%? And even if he knows how much someone gives, how does he know how much someone makes? They've got your Social Security number and a signed release to do what? Check with your bank?
Of all the red flags that were raised as I read through these documents (and they were legion), the one that stood out the most was this one:
"I waive any right that I may have to inspect references provided on my behalf."
So if a background check shows something in someone's past that is questionable, and the person questions it, he is waiving his right to ever see the information? Think about the implications of that!
Recent numbers I saw revealed that the number of Sunday School classes at BBC for 8th through 12th graders for the coming year has been reduced from 126 to 75. That's a decrease of 40% and a loss of 102 teachers (two per class). At that time they were still short 30 teachers or about 20% of the number needed. Perhaps if this is accurate, there has been a similar reduction in the number of youth participating in sports. So maybe by requiring the coaches to sign these covenants and other agreements they're weeding out the "dissenters" while reducing the staff to the actual number of coaches needed. It would certainly ensure that only the "loyal" remain.
This comment was left by "junkster" in this thread and deserves highlighting:
From the BBC Volunteer Application, last page (Volunteer Authorization/Consent & Release):
I FURTHER AUTHORIZE ALL GOVERNMENTAL, LAW ENFORCEMENT, LICENSE AND RECORD-KEEPING AGENCIES AND ANY OTHER SOURCE TO PROVIDE ALL INFORMATION REQUESTED WITH RESPECT TO MY BACKGROUND, INCLUDING CRIMINAL RECORDS, TO BELLEVUE BAPTIST CHURCH AND/OR ITS AGENT, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO PROTECT MY MINISTRY AND/OR BLUE LINE INVESTIGATION.
Note the words "record keeping agencies and any other source." Signing this form authorizes BBC to do a credit/financial check. From such checks it is easy to determine one's income, which can then be used to check tithing records (assuming donations are not given anonymously, which they usually aren't, so people can claim them as charitable donations on their tax deductions.)
But even scarier is that signing this would authorize BBC to collect background information from any source, including, in theory, your school records, traffic tickets, video rentals, library records, medical history, psychological/psychiatric history, etc. I doubt that just because I signed a church document my doctors would share my medical records with my church without checking with me first, but my point is that, legally speaking, by signing that document I'd be authorizing pretty much anything. It would not be wise or prudent to sign that sort of release, for a church or for anyone.
Sunday School teachers, staff members, ushers, choir and orchestra members, and... déjà vu, deacons... all beware. Your day is coming! Choose you this day whom you will serve!