The Christian denomination has agreed to keep a list of accused sex abusers within the massive church.
On Tuesday, the Southern Baptist Convention decided to establish a way to track pastors and other church employees credibly accused of sexual abuse and start a new task force to handle further retorms within the country's largest Protestant denomination. Following an overwhelming vote this week that was sparked by a bombshell report exposing how leaders routinely mishandled abuse cases, the SBC decided that such a method to monitor pastors accused of such crimes.
According to Fox News, thousands of members of the Southern Baptist Convention voted to support the new measures addressing pastors accused of sexual abuse, but several other reforms brought forth by abuse survivors were not adopted. Such measures that were not supported by the majority include a compensation fund for victims of abusive church leaders and an independent commission for monitoring the church's internal affairs. A recent revelatory report that was 205 pages long detailed the abusers within the Christian denomination and the allegations brought against them.
More Reform Processes Urged by SBC Members
The Southern Baptist Convention's Bruce Frank, who led the task force that launched the reform process, remarked that the move to establish a list of pastors accused of sexual abuse and other measures members voted for were the "bare minimum" and that he would continue to push for more reforms within the chuch. He underscored how it was the church's job to "[protect] the sheep from the wolves."
Frank reported that the Southern Baptist Convention will now maintain a database that will track pastors accused of sexual abuse and will make sure that these SBC pastors who are allegedly abusers do not freely transfer to other churches to potentially victimize others. He added that such efforts will have a corresponding cost, but it is "not going to cost nearly as much as survivors have paid."
Victims Who Survived Sexual Abuse at the Hands of SBC Pastors Have Mixed Reactions
Survivors of sexual abuse who were present at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting said they felt honored that the members of the congregation voted to implement such changes, calling it a "healthy, healing step in the right direction." But others remain unhappy about the changes happening within SBC, with one abuse survivor and advocate Christa Brown taking to Twitter to comment that she was "not feeling it" and is instead feeling "grief." She did comment however that the changes were "better than nothing" but was still "such a low bar."
During the Southern Baptist Convention's national meeting in Anaheim, California, the Christian denomination also elected a new president, Pastor Bart Barber from Texas who holds a conservative view, WECT reported. Pastor Barber, who called for an "army of peacemakers" amidst the chaotic political battles within the SBC, defeated three other candidates. His closest rival was Tom Ascol, who denounced the increasing "weakness" in the SBC and pushed for the denomination to move further to the right.