by Jim Powers
"To the members of the survivor community, we are grieved by the findings of this investigation. We are committed to doing all we can to prevent future instances of sexual abuse in churches, to improve our response and our care, to remove reporting roadblocks."
The quote above is part of a statement released by the Southern Baptist Convention following a damning report released Sunday by a third-party firm tasked with investigating the way the SBC over decades intimidated sexual abuse victims, pushed back on attempts to reform the convention and mishandled allegations of sexual abuse within the convention.
Sadly, the failure of the leadership of the SBC is the result of decades of hubris and a hard-right swing that accelerated during the 1980s and 1990s, resulting in that leadership becoming increasingly more misogynistic and paternalistic. They are only engaged in this weak mea culpa because they got caught.
The report, commissioned by messengers to the convention last year, concluded that the cover up was primarily driven by leadership and staff’s engagement in avoiding any potential liability for the SBC. Leadership also argued that there was no way to create a database of staff or pastors accused of sexual abuse to warn other congregations about these people because the Convention has no direct control over member churches, while at the same time maintaining such a database in secret.
I’m not going to go into the sordid details here. You can read the story on CNN, Washington Post, and other media outlets. But I think the point I want to stress here is that we should not put our faith in political or religious leaders, or anyone else for that matter. They are flawed human beings just like us. I’ll just leave you with this.
Psalm 146 - KJV
3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God,
6 the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them-- the LORD, who remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,
8 the LORD gives sight to the blind, the LORD lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves the righteous.
9 The LORD watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the LORD.