Parents: Do You Think Your Children Are Safe in SBC Churches? Have You Seen the New Data?

A close-up of the birth of Sun-like stars in the star-forming region of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex. NASA/ESA

“Hypocrisy demonstrates how unaccountable one is to conventional morality.” Michael Shellenberger


I was planning to discuss the sex abuse investigations at The Falls Church, Anglican, but I had no idea how many documents I needed to read. Instead of doing a half-baked post, I postponed it until Wednesday.

In the meantime, I want to draw your attention to Christa Brown’s new post in Baptist News Global: New data show SBC not really reckoning with sexual abuse. I was disturbed by the increasingly evident information that the SBC is unable and unwilling to fully develop a program needed to prevent abuse in the SBC. After reading this post, I now feel obligated to tell folks that SBC churches, in general, are not safe for children.

There are individual churches that have instituted programs to reduce the incidents of sexual abuse. This means that families need to investigate the programs in place to protect their children. Families who are not educated about the widespread abuse in the SBC may be deceived into thinking, “These pastors would never cover up or allow for the abuse of my child.”

These parents are also unaware of the lifelong results of a child/teen being molested in church. Alcohol and substance abuse, as well as suicidal behavior, is not uncommon in the abuse.

Christa pointed out the following:

  • On average, only 58% of SBC churches say they require background checks for staff and volunteers working with children and youth.
  • Only 38% of churches say their staff have been trained in reporting sexual abuse, and only 16% say their staff have been trained in caring for sexual abuse survivors.
  • SBC presidential candidate David Allen said sexual abuse cases are a “distraction,” and incoming Executive Committee President Jeff Iorg suggested the SBC’s issues with sexual abuse are a “shortcoming.”
  • The vast majority of sexual assaults are never criminally prosecuted, which means an ordinary background check will be unlikely to uncover a record of them. So, even if you’re in one of those 58% of SBC churches that claim to do background checks, you’ve little reason to feel safe. Without an institutional mechanism for record-keeping and information-sharing on credible accusations, most clergy sex abusers will be able to slip through the cracks and move on to find new prey.

There seems to be little to no funding for programs to reduce the incidence of sex abuse in the churches. Yet the SBC appears flush with money.

SBC donations were reported at $10 billion last year. Yes, that’s “billion” with a “b.”

Yet even with $10 billion a year in revenues, the SBC hasn’t managed to come up with any permanent funding plan for abuse reforms.

Despite this, the current SBC President, Bart Barber, apparently believes that the SBC is chugging along, making inroads into preventing abuse. I think these guys are elected due to their ability to obfuscate the depth of the problem. How many of you remember JD Greear’s crocodile tears over the issue?

SBC president Bart Barber says, “We are making progress.”

Did you know that the SBC leaders appear to be against allowing child sex abuse survivors to seek justice from institutions that abuse them?

the same Bart Barber who took it upon himself to authorize that awful anti-survivor amicus brief, effectively telling the elected judges of the Kentucky Supreme Court that the whole of the 13-million-member SBC is against allowing child sex abuse survivors the possibility of seeking civil justice against abuse-enabling institutions.

The SBC believes each church is autonomous unless they have a female pastor, and then the SBC can act. They claim they can act when it comes to sex abuse, but many of us see our abusive churches still in good standing with the SBC. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds. I believe that Christa is correct. The SBC doesn’t have the stomach to attempt to prevent sex abuse. Way too many men in positions of leadership understand this. The abuse shall continue until godly people care enough to act. Are there enough caring people left in the SBC? So many have left, and I predict many more will leave. Some day, in the far future, the descendants of SBC leaders will look back in dismay that their forefathers couldn’t come up with a plan to throw some money at a sex abuse database. I wonder… will the SBC still be the largest denomination?

Parents, the ball is in your court. You must ask the hard questions rregarding the safety of you kids. You must volunteer in the youth program in order to keep them secure. Don’t trust that incredible, charismatic youth leader because the kids like him. Tune in on Wednesday to learn what happened in an Anglican church.


Comments

Parents: Do You Think Your Children Are Safe in SBC Churches? Have You Seen the New Data? — 56 Comments

  1. SBC president Bart Barber says, “We are making progress.”

    Good ole Bart didn’t finish the sentence. It should say, “We are making progress in distracting members from sex abuse by stirring up a big ruckus over keeping women muzzled and leashed.”

    There’s a power dynamic in SBC churches with both the abusive situations and and passing “amendments” to control adult women that favors men 110%.

    I believe that at least half of the men in the SBC are angry at the abuse victims who had the courage to tell their stories……. and, of course the majority of the victims are females. It’s a good time for them to get even and do what they’ve dreamed of doing for a long time.
    (I used the word ‘victims’ for lack of a better term…….. those courageous people are heroes.)

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  2. Tom Rubino: I struggle to see how anybody with the indwelling Holy Spirit could respond in these ways.

    Struggle no more.

    If it walks, promotes, and spends money like a full of the flesh not the Spirit duck, it is just such a duck.

    What is the real mission of a pastor or a church? That would be evident in their actions, not their spin doctor slimy words. Priorities are evident in actions, such as in the money trail, security measures, and what they sweep under the rug.

    We set up an appointment with our lead pastor to discuss and suggest solutions regarding safety for children in our prominent Evangelical church. Took us months to get in to see the pastor. That day, his appointments were backed up and running late. We got into his office and after five minutes, he smiled and ended the meeting abruptly. Bye bye.

    He could not have cared less. Child safety was in no way part of his church business model.

    He went on to an illustrious national career, all the way to the top with his business model.

    Not safe for kids. But not his problem, obviously. He’s old now, and missed his chance to do significant good at the ground level.

    Wonder how this famous pastor’s business model will fare in Eternity? Like the rich man and Lazarus? Good luck with that, Pastor Dude … we tried and failed to get his attention and offer suggestions. The Pastor would have none of it.

    Who would have known that the problem of what goes on with children and youth in churches (along with domestic violence in Evangelical homes, to where even pastors murder their own wives) is way beyond anything one could ever imagine.

    The Dark Side of church is truly a bottomless black hole. And Pastor Dude remains off to the races thick in the bubble of his business model. Sad. Shameful. Dare say, Evil.

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  3. Nancy2(aka Kevlar),

    “It’s a good time for them to get even and do what they’ve dreamed of doing for a long time.”
    ++++++++++++++++

    it’s weird. in my career i encounter many parents. I end up knowing the background of the families, and know when a family is ‘christian’.

    the evangelical men are predictable:

    they are simply rude and arrogant.

    they ignore me, refuse to make eye contact, never say thank you, let alone any words at all. it’s like i’m invisible and don’t exist.

    — unless i corner one of them and make conversation.

    then he says a little as possible (especially refraining from any expression of appreciation or a compliment of any kind), again never making eye contact.

    it’s like it’s beneath them. they walk around like an alpha male mesomorph (regardless of their body shape).

    every other man is kind, gracious, appreciative, making the effort at conversation, encouraging, warm, unselfconscious, sincere…

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  4. Bridget,

    I agree. Numbers have been in a slow decline for several year. The abuse scandal took a big bite out of the funds.
    Ha. I’ll betcha those male leaders think the SBC would be much better off numerically and financially if abuse victims had kept quiet and women still had to live under Victorian era restrictions at church, in the home, and in society.

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  5. Ava Aaronson,

    You know, I have seen various manifestations of what you write throughout my life…. There has been many times when I looked at situation, run by “leading Christians”, and thought this does not “smell right”…. But heaven forbid I raise a question….

    This is why I find TWW refreshing.. most of the poster do not appear to be “self-righteous”, just trying to figure out what the h$ll is going on…. And asking, This does not seem good for the “little guy (or gal)”

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  6. Bridget,

    “…a rude awakening…”
    +++++++++++++++++

    something is very wrong with evangelical culture, in what it produces.

    values are unmoored from common sense right and wrong — indeed, i think the party line is that there is no such thing to begin with, and that ‘biblical’ is the locus of right and wrong.

    ah, the shifting sands of all the conflicting versions of ‘biblical’. the irony just kills me.

    the idol they call biblical is what is worshipped. by people easily led & beholden to entities that suck out critical thinking and fill the void with telling people what to think instead.

    the product is character mutated away from things like kindness, humility, compassion, sheer graciousness — things which those outside the bubble (whom evangelicals deem the inferior goblins of worldly world) readily embrace as normal.

    i’ll add a postscript to my earlier comment – none of the fine men who comment here would behave the way I’ve observed in others.

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  7. elastigirl: the evangelical men are predictable:

    they are simply rude and arrogant.

    they ignore me, refuse to make eye contact, never say thank you, let alone any words at all. it’s like i’m invisible and don’t exist.

    — unless i corner one of them and make conversation.

    then he says a little as possible (especially refraining from any expression of appreciation or a compliment of any kind), again never making eye contact.

    it’s like it’s beneath them. they walk around like an alpha male mesomorph (regardless of their body shape).

    every other man is kind, gracious, appreciative, making the effort at conversation, encouraging, warm, unselfconscious, sincere…

    elastigirl,
    Yes! That has been my experience also with evangelical men also! Yes, in their eyes you are deemed unworthy of being acknowledged and therefore invisible. After being yelled at, insulted and outright ignored by churchy people, I started hanging out with “The World” and found that they exhibit more fruit than the churchy people. At this point in my life, I’d rather have the fruit (so I can have an example of how to develop it in my own life!), than all the puffery of the “gifts.”

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  8. Ariel,

    i wish it were different.

    the point relevant to the topic of this post is that evangelicalism’s theology can be summed up as

    -‘the end justifies the means’
    -‘principle over people’

    a theology that gives lip service to caring about people, but with real-life consequences that fall like heavy bricks on those at the low end of its hierarchy.

    a theology which favors men and caters to their insecurity

    (which means it caters to the immature dreams of power of significance of their inner 12-year old child)
    .
    .
    …because the powerbrokers want their money

    (and because they are threatened by women, & are consciously and subconsciously seeking to edge them out more and more)
    .
    .
    and a theology that discourages the average adherent from actually thinking deeply enough to perceive this.
    .
    .
    evangelicalism’s functional theology does not value women and children.

    and really, the functional side of theology is what matters.

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  9. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): https://baptistnews.com/article/former-southwestern-administrator-indicted-for-falsifying-sexual-abuse-records/

    Thank you, Nancy2(aka Kevlar), for providing the link to the May 21, 2024, Baptist News Global post by Mark Wingfield, titled Former Southwestern administrator indicted for falsifying sexual abuse records. 🙂

    When I read through the Baptist News Global post, I was reminded (and keep in mind I have a slightly different sense of humour 🙂 ) of part of the title of Todd Wilhelm’s recent post, titled All That Glitters is Not Gold….”.

    It’s really worth reading the post Former Southwestern administrator indicted for falsifying sexual abuse records….proof that the FBI IS investigating the SBC. And that someone actually thought they could get away with lying to the FBI.

    I’m including an Internet Archive link of the post below….

    https://web.archive.org/web/20240522161316/https://baptistnews.com/article/former-southwestern-administrator-indicted-for-falsifying-sexual-abuse-records/

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  10. Ava Aaronson: Who would have known that the problem of what goes on with children and youth in churches (along with domestic violence in Evangelical homes, to where even pastors murder their own wives) is way beyond anything one could ever imagine.

    elastigirl: the evangelical men are predictable:

    they are simply rude and arrogant.

    That’s the result of having a theology of pure authoritarianism, where one group (evangelical men) are everything, and everbody else, but especially women, doesn’t count.

    When you learn from childhood that the sun shines out of your every orifice and your will must be submitted to, you never learn a mature self-awareness and perspective. So when things don’t go their way, at least some of these men turn violent – maybe because they’ve never learned another coping mechanism: thrashing their kids when they’re not “good”, beating up their wives if they have their own ideas or are planning to leave them, even overturning elections that don’t turn out “right”. (The number of Christian symbols and prayer groups in video from 1/6 was shocking)

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  11. “How many of you remember JD Greear’s crocodile tears over the issue?”

    Actually, if you look closely at that video, there are no tears. Performer-preachers like Greear can cry without tears … they must train you how to do that in seminary to effect a sermon emotional link with the pew.

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  12. Nancy2(aka Kevlar): https://baptistnews.com/article/former-southwestern-administrator-indicted-for-falsifying-sexual-abuse-records/

    I suspect this behavior is widespread at leadership levels within most or all SBC entities. Apparently, protecting SBC’s reputation is more important than Christian character. Is it worth your soul to work on the side of evil (Matthew 7)? God doesn’t really need SBC to accomplish His purposes on earth; don’t the ole boys realize this?

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  13. Max: I suspect this behavior is widespread at leadership levels within most or all SBC entities. Apparently, protecting SBC’s reputation is more important than Christian character.

    It’s called Staying RESPECTABLE(TM).

    “Not out of any Heavenly Virtue, but out of Hellish Respectability.”
    — one of hte Father Brown Mysteries

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  14. Gus: hat’s the result of having a theology of pure authoritarianism, where one group (evangelical men) are everything, and everbody else, but especially women, doesn’t count.

    That’s the result of being God’s Special Pets and knowing it.
    The Rulers of Tomorrow, God’s Master Race.

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  15. elastigirl:
    elastigirl,

    i’ll crystallize it down:

    a theology that starts with “girls have cooties” (as well as all the other socially undesirables)

    …and doesn’t mature any further.

    and money.

    Just like the Alpha Male Red Pill Manosphere, Except CHRISTIAN(TM)!

    (YouTube’s Sacred Algorithm was sending me a lot of Alpha Manosphere videos for a while. When they begin with this bearded Alpha Male Steroid Mesopmorph striking a WOODEN match to light an Andrew Tate-sized cigar, you just KNOW it can only go downhill from there…)

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  16. Gus: That’s the result of having a theology of pure authoritarianism, where one group (evangelical men) are everything, and everbody else, but especially women, doesn’t count.

    And if they (evangelical men) ever achieved the kind of power they crave, it would be as brutal a dictatorship as any the world has seen.

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  17. From an interview Julie Roys recently posted with Christa Brown:

    JR: …do you have hope for reform within the SBC? or do you feel like it’s a lost cause?

    48:56 CB: I certainly don’t think that we will see meaningful reform in my lifetime. I really don’t. I just don’t think this institution is going that direction. They’ve given us no evidence on which to believe that they’re serious about this at all.

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  18. CMT:
    From an interview Julie Roys recently posted with Christa Brown:

    JR: …do you have hope for reform within the SBC? or do you feel like it’s a lost cause?

    48:56 CB: I certainly don’t think that we will see meaningful reform in my lifetime. I really don’t. I just don’t think this institution is going that direction. They’ve given us no evidence on which to believe that they’re serious about this at all.

    Sounds to me the SBC really just needs to die and end up on the ash heap of history. Pull the plug.

    To quote me in “Batman Begins”: “Gotham’s time has come. Like Constantinople or Rome before it the city has become a breeding ground for suffering and injustice. It is beyond saving and must be allowed to die. This is the most important function of the League of Shadows. It is one we’ve performed for centuries. Gotham… must be destroyed.”

    Replace Gotham with SBC and you get the idea.

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  19. CMT,

    “JR: …do you have hope for reform within the SBC? or do you feel like it’s a lost cause?”
    +++++++++++++++

    well, really, can any organized religion be counted on to do right?

    as soon as you have holy book from a supreme being that is inerrant & infallible, all it means is ‘my interpretation is inerrant and infallible’.

    history shows anything can be justified.

    the present shows that we could make a whole blog post article long-listing all the corrupt, unethical, destructive, & criminal things that christian leaders and their entourage are justifying this very day.

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  20. elastigirl: as soon as you have holy book from a supreme being that is inerrant & infallible, all it means is ‘my interpretation is inerrant and infallible’

    Yep, with everybody proclaiming ‘my’ interpretation is the only expression of truth … the one true religion! That’s why we now have 30,000 different Christian denominations and organizations on planet earth … some mere man in the past in each of those groups launched out with his interpretation of the Holy Book and others followed. Most streams of Christian faith are littered with aberrant theology trash … only the Good Lord can clean it up.

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  21. Max: Yep, with everybody proclaiming ‘my’ interpretation is the only expression of truth … the one true religion! That’s why we now have 30,000 different Christian denominations and organizations on planet earth …

    THIRTY THOUSAND One True Ways — “GAWD SAITH!”
    And the Universe cannot have two Centers — “DIE, HERETICS!”

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  22. Headless Unicorn Guy: Aragorn the Conquering Messiah figure, NOT Frodo the Suffering Messiah figure.

    Of course, the only reason Aragorn (and Middle Earth) wins is due to the successful mission by Frodo. Frrm the initial meeting to Rivendell and Aragorn’s mission to distract Sauron at the Black Gate (which was not a conquering hero move – more like a suicide mission), conquering hero Aragorn doesn’t play a role in the central mission objective of the story.

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  23. CMT:
    From an interview Julie Roys recently posted with Christa Brown:

    JR: …do you have hope for reform within the SBC? or do you feel like it’s a lost cause?

    48:56 CB: I certainly don’t think that we will see meaningful reform in my lifetime. I really don’t. I just don’t think this institution is going that direction. They’ve given us no evidence on which to believe that they’re serious about this at all.

    And any attempt to show them gets the John 9:34 treatment:
    “YOU WERE BORN IN UTTER SIN, AND YOU DARE TO TEACH US?”

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  24. Max: we now have 30,000 different Christian denominations

    Each imposing exactly the same copycat false dichotomies from top down.

    Homogenised through the very same old same old TGC / Ac 29 / 9 Mks / YRR / “new reformed” / “new apostolic” / reconstructionists / dominionists / dispensationists / erastians / Manifest Destiny / gender theologians / consumeristm camp systems and their identikit clones across pretend theological fault lines.

    While denying pew goers their gifts of discretion unvetoed.

    “Evangelising” an irrelevant mini-gospel, as work of the flesh, since whatsoever is not of faith, is sin.

    Even the more tarnished of historic churches in their brief “creeds”, at one time implied infinite more belief and didn’t necessarily (officially) “take away from this Book” like now.

    “Fundamentals” as less than minimum and less than maximum.

    Curating to tickle the ears and other parts of the young and lulled and gulled.

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  25. Tina: Gus:”. (The number of Christian symbols and prayer groups in video from 1/6 was shocking)

    I noticed the same thing.

    Including the first rioter into the Senate Chamber carrying a Christian flag larger than he was?

    The Proud Boyz doing a group prayer side-hug ending “In Jesus’ Name, Amen” before going forth to sack the Capitol?

    QAnon Shaman (who really stands out in a crowd) leading rioters in prayer in the Senate Chamber in fluent Christianese (including “In Jesus’ Name, Amen”)?

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  26. Debby: https://wordandway.org/2024/03/12/the-root-rot-of-the-sbc/

    Debby,

    Thank you for the link to the Word&Way post by Brian Kaylor, March 12, 2024, titled The Root Rot of the SBC. 🙂

    From that post:

    A problem this big and systemic is going to take more than a few statements of disappointment and ignorant innocence. Politicians may claim some banks are “too big to fail,” but in this case perhaps we have something too big to repent. It would take a pretty large millstone to put around a $10-billion-a-year organization that consistently sides with predators over children. Nor does it seem like such a group would fit through the eye of that sewing needle. The SBC has been growing in this direction since Pressler and Patterson shaped it. Those two men cannot be excised without taking the whole thing apart.

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  27. So, church and ministry leaders, lock your doors. Close the garage. Make sure the oven is turned off, and your house is in order. Make policies and establish procedures that ensure a safe and Christ-honoring environment. Take the time to ask yourself the hard questions, make necessary changes, vet and train your leaders, and allow yourself to be held accountable. Let it never be said of us, or our ministries, that someone was wounded physically, mentally, spiritually, sexually, or neglectfully under our watch. Instead, let’s join with the Sovereign Protector and do everything under His power to safeguard and protect those whom we are blessed to serve and lead.

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  28. Headless Unicorn Guy: (YouTube’s Sacred Algorithm was sending me a lot of Alpha Manosphere videos for a while. When they begin with this bearded Alpha Male Steroid Mesopmorph striking a WOODEN match to light an Andrew Tate-sized cigar, you just KNOW it can only go downhill from there…)

    Almost as bad is when the video begins with the Alpha Male Steroid Mesomorph drinking coffee from a big inscribed mug with a long loud “SLUUUUUUUUUURP!” followed by an “Ahhhhhh…” The Algorithm was sending me a lot of those recently.

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