Sexual Abuse advocates want SBC probed by legal authorities like Catholic Church.
SNAP, a network for survivors of sexual abuse in the church, called on state Attorney Generals to investigate the Southern Baptist Convention modeled on probes into the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal.
According to a release by SNAP, “We call on every single attorney general in the U.S. to work within the strictures of their state and to launch investigations into SBC abuse within their borders. Whether an AG is empowered to launch an investigation on their own or they need a local case from a District Attorney to proceed, we hope that these elected officials will use their statutory power and some creativity to find out what really happened within the SBC.”
SNAP wants this probe of the Southern Baptist Convention modeled on the probe of the Catholic church. You may remember the probe by state leaders uncovered significant stories of abuse. In Nebraska the AG uncovered 258 cases of abuse. In Pennsylvania the state AG report detailed over 1,000 children abused by about 300 priests.
SNAP explained the 2018 probes by “by attorneys general throughout the country” used “hotlines” and even “confidential reporting systems.”
SNAP argues the same is needed to deal with the SBC, “There is no question in our mind that the same must take place with the SBC. These church leaders have long put the reputations of their convention and themselves ahead of the protection of their own communities. Releasing a few names, most of which have already been revealed publicly, is no signal that things are substantially different today. For there to be true transparency, for survivors to have a shot at justice and for children to be protected from abusers, secular law enforcement must act.”
SNAP is right that only secular legal authorities are going to provide justice for abuse victims.
They are right because it is the state that has the power to punish—as God granted the state the sword. The sword also can compel—and the SBC trustee system is so broken that messengers cannot hold the entities accountable.
Yet, the report provides no evidence the SBC was covering up sex abuse in some sort of criminal conspiracy. Yes, the SBC was stuck in attempting to preserve the status quo. This led the SBC to avoid doing common sense things like creating some type of public database.
However, bumbling over a database is not evidence of some grand conspiracy equal to what happened in the Catholic church—you will remember there some bishops often moved abusers from one location to another and did nothing either to help the victims or prevent future abuse.
SBC polity is much different. There is no hierarchy. There is no hierarchy placing pastors in new churches. Though this has been attempted in recent times as SBC Elites attempt to influence local churches into hiring their sycophants. Also, you might remember that the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) argued in an amicus brief that the SBC is a hierarchy. The ERLC apologize to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for this obvious lie; however, was this mistake a clue to where SBC Elites are trying to take the denomination?
So, what will a state AG investigation of the SBC probe?
There are areas where the state should investigate. There are allegations against IMB and with NAMB’s increasing control over some state conventions, there might be a reason to look closer at what is happening in those states with close ties to NAMB leadership. If there is a hierarchy—it’ll have to involve Alpharetta.
Also, given how SBC Elites attempted to silence reporters covering sex abuse, it shows that none of the SBC Elites are truly interested in exposing problems within the SBC.
Maybe SNAP is right. The only way to uncover what is happening in the SBC is for state AGs to get involved.
Of course, state AGs have a bad record of dealing with the SBC. Don’t forget, many state AGs joined NAMB’s failed bid to avoid accountability for what it did to Will McRaney. In fact, AGs for Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah filed this amicus brief to help NAMB in case before the Supreme Court.
Megachurches also present a problem.
These churches do not usually function with any semblance of congregational accountability. And since many of these megachurches are non-denominational or Southern Baptist with no hierarchical structure to supervise the pastors, these institutions present their own challenges for oversight. Did anyone at First Baptist Church of Woodstock hold Johnny Hunt accountable? Or even try to get to the bottom of the allegations? If Johnny Hunt is guilty or innocent, he and the alleged victim deserved some type of investigation. What happened at the church sure looks like a cover-up.
If the church refuses to handle its messes, then Caesar will come in and handle it. At this moment in history, the American church faces a perfect storm of rampant sexual dysfunction in the culture, high levels of pornography and pornographic addiction among clergy and church members, and a wicked SBC Elite who love lucre more than they fear God.
In such a situation, Caesar might be the only option if SBC messengers decline to Change the Direction of the convention.