In 2019, a six month investigation by reporters from the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express exposed a sex abuse scandal of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), known as the world’s largest Baptist denomination, the largest Protestant denomination, the second largest Christian denomination in the U.S. Church membership is predominantly white. The investigation was titled “Abuse of Faith.” Last June, SBC delegates requested a report on the investigation from the investigative firm Guidepost Solutions. Guideposts report is close to 300 pages and revealed a pattern of SBC leaders disregarding reports of abuse and ignoring recommendations for reform by survivors. Other revelations:
- survivors who accused church leaders, ministers, workers and volunteers were dismissed, belittled or silenced by church leadership
- church leaders maintained a confidential list of more than seven hundred offenders
- church leaders ignored warnings that predators were targeting their membership
- former SBC president Johnny Hunt is one the leaders accused of sexual assault
History documents that the SBC was founded in 1845 to protect the institution of ‘chattel slavery.’ Leaders proclaimed that such a racial caste system was ordained by God and revealed by scripture. Sexual purity rhetoric was also established to protect the status quo and was especially prominent in the years following the Civil War.
On May 26, church leaders released the secret list of accused sexual abusers (www.sbc.net) Survivors can call or someone on their behalf can call a hotline, 202-864-5578, or email, SBChotline@guidepostsolutions.com to report allegations. Care options and an advocate will also be provided, according to SBC.
Guidepost Solutions made the following recommendations:
- SBC should create an online database of abusers and an entity to respond to allegations
- SBC should limit non-disclosure agreements since the agreements hinders abuse survivors from speaking out
- SBC should provide compensation for abuse survivors.
The Southern Baptist Convention is expected to address the report and its recommendations at its annual convention June 12-15 in Anaheim, Ca.