Southern Baptists takes steps to address future sex abuse allegations

Reporter: Breana Ross
Published:

Leaders with the Southern Baptist Church met this week in order to vote on how to prevent future sexual abuse in the church.

The vote comes after a 300-page report detailing the mishandling of multiple sexual abuse allegations.

The report details stories of sexual abuse and stonewalling in the Southern Baptist Convention for decades.

David Pittman is one of the survivors who said that’s what’s happening to him.

“I was told, unceremoniously, ‘be quiet. Go away. There’s nothin’ we can do for you.’ But we would like to pray for ya,” said Pittman, who serves as director of Together We Heal, a nonprofit that helps to provide guidance on dealing with the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.

But now, the report is impossible to ignore. It led Southern Baptist Convention Leaders to try to take action.

“We need to fix what we’ve done. Repent of what we’ve done. We need to apologize. We need to be grateful for what the report has exposed so that we can correct it,” said Southern Baptist Convention Chairman Pastor Rollande Slade.

At the national meeting on Tuesday, leaders voted to create a website to track pastors and church staff accused of sex abuse and agreed to start a task force to work on other reforms.

Critics said that’s not enough.

Pastor David Action leads New Hope Church in Cape Coral, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Acton said the vote is a step in the right direction.

“This is as much as I think we could have hoped for this time but I think this year is very telling,” Acton said.

And though none of the stories in the report happened in Southwest Florida, Pastor Acton said he will tell his congregation it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep this abuse from happening.

“We must protect the least of these, the weakest, the children, the people that don’t have a voice of their own,” Acton said.

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