Southern Baptists to Investigate Churches Linked With Sex-abuse

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The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News took an unprecedented look at sexual misconduct across the Southern Baptist denomination investigating into hundreds of cases of sexual abuse in churches. After the investigation, a report was published which helped in providing a picture of the extent of the abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention, something that the nation's largest Protestant denomination has failed to do for years. This report is believed to be the biggest report on sexual abuse among Southern Baptists in the movement's history with allegations against 380 church leaders who were convicted or took plea deals.

During the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee gathering, which took place in Nashville, Tennessee, just couple of days after release of the report; the Convention's President J.D. Greear stated that the committee should immediately investigate 10 churches named in a report detailing sexual abuse among clergy, including 2nd Baptist in Houston – one of the largest churches in the Convention. This type of investigation is necessary especially because the report showed that there are no usable mechanisms that can prevent those with some kind of predatory behavior to find jobs at churches and that church leaders sometimes fail to alert law enforcement about complaints.

According to Religion News Service, Greear said that If any churches were found to have covered up abuse and refused to mend their ways, then the convention should consider removing them from the denomination — a process known as “disfellowshipping.” “We must take bold and decisive steps to send an unequivocal message: Churches that have a wanton disregard for sexual abuse and for caring for the survivors are not in good fellowship with this convention.”

Although he stated that the Convention has to take steps to investigate churches that are under allegations of sexual misconduct, which is a positive thing to do, he also made some comments on homosexuality in his speech stating that the Convention's position on homosexuality is clear. “We need to be honest with ourselves,” he said, as Religion News Service reports. “If news stories had listed a number of our churches who were alleged to have changed their position on homosexuality, or performed gay weddings or adopted odious racial policies, we would rightly begin to ask questions and potentially take steps to cease cooperation, because our position on this issue is clear,” he said. “We must take seriously that our position on abuse is clear too.”

It seems that the Southern Baptist Convention's President is comparing homosexuality with abuse, forgetting that sexual abuse is a crime, and that it is a very serious crime which should not be taken lightly. From his speech it seems that the Convention has more strict rules and clear position against homosexuality than against sexual abuse — and this is something that should also be changed in future.

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