Southern Baptists should be aware that the federal government is investigating your organization.
According to Fox News, the Department of Justice is investigating the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Even though the reason for the investigation is a little vague, it is alarming.
The DOJ is investigating allegations of sexual abuse against the largest Protestant denomination in America.
The statement of the SBC Executive Committee posted online:
Recently, the Committee was informed by the Department of Justice that an investigation has been launched into the Southern Baptist Convention. The investigation will also include other SBC entities. While we still grieve the past sexual abuses and make regrettable mistakes, the current leaders of the SBC are determined to rectify them and have taken steps to prevent future ones. This commitment is evident in the fact that the SBC Executive Committee has just completed an open investigation.
Guidepost Solutions, a third-party company, reported 200+ pages of abuse claims in the church in May.
The Convention responded by voting in June to allow the Convention to track pastors who have been “credibly” accused of sexual abuse.
The term “credibly charged” is defined as “pastor or denominational worker or ministry employee or volunteer who has admitted to sexual abuse in non-privileged settings has been convicted in a court of law or has had a civil judgment rendered against them
The Abuse Reform Implementation Taskforce was also created by the SBC to monitor changes in how abuse cases are handled, and to establish a victim fund.
Other potential initiatives were not included. Fox News has more:
Although thousands of Southern Baptists voted in support of the new measures by voting, several reforms requested by survivors of abuse were not implemented.
Additional measures not supported by enough members included a compensation fund for victims of abuse by church leaders, and an independent commission to oversee churches’ internal affairs.
Bruce Frank, the leader of the reform task force, stated to convention members that the steps they voted for were the “bare minimum” and that he would push for more reforms.
In federal investigations generally, some might see the DOJ as more interested in investigating entities on the Right side, while the Southern Baptist Convention isn’t exactly Democrat-dense. However, allegations of abuse in a religious organization can be very alarming. Guidepost Solutions must have made a lot of errors in producing the report.
The SBC, which has approximately 14 million members in 47,000+ churches, has pledged to cooperate fully. Here is the rest of its statement.
Each SBC entity has resolved to cooperate fully and fully with the investigation, individually and collectively. We are aware that reform efforts are far from over. These reform efforts continue as the newly-announced Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force starts its work, and each entity has increased its efforts to prevent abuse. Our demonstrated commitment to addressing the problem of sexual abuse transparently is the reason we have pledged to cooperate with the Department of Justice.
Although many things are not certain in this world, we can rest assured that we serve an All-Powerful God. He is not taken by surprise by anything, even this investigation. That is a comfort to us and we ask that you pray for us in the coming days and weeks. We ask God to give wisdom and discernment to all those involved in the investigation.