Source: Religion News Service
By Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) — Southern Baptists hope to take steps at their upcoming annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., to address continuing reports of sexual abuse in their denomination.
Leaders of the nation’s largest — but declining — Protestant denomination will consider an amendment that would allow the Southern Baptist Convention to remove from its ranks a church that covers up abuse. The SBC may also set up an official “Credentials Committee” to review complaints about how abuse allegations are handled at member churches.
If the new committee — announced last week — is approved by both the Executive Committee of the SBC and messengers, or delegates, top officials say it will provide a new and more coordinated way for the denomination to monitor abuse claims.
“We recognized that our current structures were insufficient in responding to reports of abuse, and we needed a better system to address allegations of sexual abuse,” SBC President J.D. Greear told Religion News Service. “This new standing committee will work with many state conventions and local associations in an effort to have all of the various spheres speaking a more similar language. There are many important steps in front of us, so this isn’t a panacea, but it’s an important piece of the puzzle.”