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Activists Are Outraged After SBC Abruptly Cancels Investigations into 7 Churches

Activists Are Outraged After SBC Abruptly Cancels Investigations into 7 Churches

A concerning scene is playing out in the Southern Baptist Convention.

For some background,  a few weeks ago, in light of a massive newspaper-led investigation that found widespread sexual abuse in the denomination, SBC president J.D. Greear called for investigations into 10 individual churches.

Why did he select those 10? As The Houston Chronicle explains, “all of them employed pastors or volunteers who were accused of committing sexual abuse. Four of the pastors, in fact, are still working in churches. All 10 of the cases involving those pastors were detailed in a joint investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News, ‘Abuses of Faith.’”

However, after a new decision from the SBC Executive Committee this weekend, only three of those churches will be subject to further investigation.

The SBC Executive Committee announced that “no further inquiry is warranted” into seven of the churches Greear called out and asked to be examined. One of those churches is led by Ed Young—the former president of the SBC.

The committee also responded to Greear’s call to investigate the churches accused of employing accused sex abusers: “No individual possesses the authority to declare a church to be under a convention inquiry of any kind.” And, despite calls for more transparency, the committee told Southern Baptist “to avoid publicly calling the names of churches without having documentation of criminal convictions and giving prior notice to the church.”

The statements are not sitting well with activists and victim’s rights advocates. Christa Brown called it “a Saturday night massacre of hope for any near-term change on sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention.” #MeToo leader Rachael Denhollander also spoke out on Twitter:

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore told the Houston Chronicle he “was not present for this bylaws work group meeting” this weekend, but hopes the denomination will respond with “clarity and action” at the coming annual convention. The SBC annual convention takes place later this in June. He also added that he was standing with Greear.

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