SBC Churches Singled Out for Investigation “Exonerated,” SNAP Responds
Despite being singled out for “further inquiry” into their handling of allegations of sexual abuse, Southern Baptist Convention leaders moved quickly this week to exonerate seven of those ten churches.
Baptists should be outraged that top denominational officials moved so quickly to exonerate these churches that were just in the spotlight over clergy sex abuse and cover up allegations. It is clear that, despite recent worldwide attention into cases of sexual abuse by SBC ministers, the church is still dragging its feet in moving towards change.
The SBC panel responsible for this travesty, including chairman Ken Alford, should be ashamed of rushing this investigation. As has been reported, the culture of abuse and cover-up runs deep in the SBC, so for the Executive Committee to so quickly and recklessly dismiss the serious allegations is an astonishing mis-step.
We believe that the 10 churches listed should go through the same kind of independent investigation by police and prosecutors that we demand of catholic churches who have similarly failed to respond properly to cases of sexual abuse. No institution can police itself, only independent, secular officials can get to the bottom of these cases.
Our hearts ache for victims and church-goers whose hopes for real reform in the Southern Baptist Church have again been dashed. We hope they will instead put their hopes in law enforcement officials in Texas and Tennessee and urge their attorneys general to open an investigation today.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)