DC: The Southern Baptist Convention is the second-largest Christian denomination in the U.S., with over 47,000 churches each year sending millions of meals to disaster zones, thousands of missionaries and trained volunteers around the country and world. Despite all the good the SBC spreads globally, however, a darkness has tainted the church.
Victims who said they suffered abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) say church leaders often responded with silence, shame and cover-up, compounding and enabling further abuse.
An investigative report from the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-Newsrevealed 380 SBC ministers and volunteers have faced credible accusations from more than 700 victims over the past 20 years.
The revelation of the scale of alleged abuse within SBC churches forced the leaders of the convention to grapple with the broken policies, beliefs and negligence that enabled the crisis, but some victims say worse than initial physical and sexual abuse they suffered were the ineffective and, at times, callous responses from their church leaders when they first told their local ministers of their plight.
While churches in the SBC vary wildly in local church structure, policy and theological focus, due largely to the denomination’s belief in local church autonomy, victims who spoke with The Daily Caller News Foundation recounted SBC abuse cases from various parts of the country that stretched over decades and bore striking similarities with one another concerning their church leaders’ responses to their allegations. read more