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Southern Baptist Convention: What’s wrong with the proposed sexual abuse amendment to the SBC constitution

[ – 3/8/19]

The Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee has proposed an amendment to the SBC constitution that would allow for churches to be disfellowshipped when they are determined to have “evidenced indifference in addressing sexual abuse.”

Sounds good, right?

But take a closer look.

The amendment sets forth four examples of conduct the committee can consider as evidence of church indifference:

(a) employing a convicted sex offender,
(b) allowing a convicted sex offender to work as a volunteer in contact with minors,
(c) continuing to employ a person who unlawfully concealed from law enforcement information regarding the sexual abuse of any person by an employee or volunteer of the church, or
(d) willfully disregarding compliance with mandatory child abuse reporting laws.


Read more about how this church denomination might deal with registrants


Join the discussion

  1. Don’t tread on me

    Satan has done a very fine job of dividing and conquering the church. Bans of LGBTQ and sex offenders has now officially judged and condemned even those that have repent. I always liked the bumper sticker “Jesus is coming and boy is he pissed”

  2. Concerned Registrant

    If you look at the 4 restrictions, they are NOT unreasonable. (a) concerns “employment” of a convicted sex offender — does not restrict attendance or membership. (b) concerns working as a volunteer in contact with children — not volunteering in the many forms of adult ministry; (d) concerns the church covering up a “current” act of misconduct that has not been reported to authorities; and (c) concerns the continuing employment of persons who cover up the potential criminal sexual misconduct of others. (c and d) are interrelated.

    Regarding (b): In my opinion, any registrant who would put him or herself in a ministry to children is acting unwisely. Such a person is placing themselves in a position where accusation alone implies guilt.

    • R M

      @Concerned Registrant:
      (a) employing a convicted sex offender,
      (b) allowing a convicted sex offender to work as a volunteer in contact with minors,
      (c) continuing to employ a person who unlawfully concealed from law enforcement information regarding the sexual abuse of any person by an employee or volunteer of the church, or
      (d) willfully disregarding compliance with mandatory child abuse reporting laws.

      Are you nuts? They ALL assume a registrant will commit another sex offense and btw, not all sex offenses involve children and NONE of them support the so called bible of morality.

    • Will Allen

      They are unreasonable because they say “$EX”. They should have policies regarding anyone convicted of any significant crime. Once they say “$EX” we know people are surely pandering to stupidity, PCness, and group-think. And I’ll always say to them that I don’t give a flip what you are *supposedly* trying to do, F you.

  3. TS

    I am not going to defend the SBC, but when one looks at these, they are insurance issues, optics issues, hypocritical people issues, and what could be seen as potential liability issues (where an assessment needs to be take place before IMO).

    Yes, Jesus would be pissed given all things considered in doctrine, but in this fallen world, man has made laws that need to be followed as stated in Romans in addition to what the business side of the world says for those who work with churches. Does that make it right? No, not necessarily. These four could be revised a bit to more specific instead of blanket statements.

    @Concerned Reg – regarding your (b) qualifier, that is a blanket statement that can actually apply to any human where a complaint or accusation could be a killer, not just for a registrant (who may be seen as a step closer in the eyes of others due to the moniker, but would be unjust if their cause for registration is not with a minor, real or virtual).

  4. concerned registrant

    TS — I think you and I are in agreement. Of course, these are decisions geared towards protection against liability due to the current hysteria. I also am not defending their decisions, only stating that they are not unreasonable. They are not stating that a convicted sex offender cannot attend church or serve in any capacity in a church.
    And my (b) qualifier, as I stated, was my opinion. Sorry if I was vague. I thought it was understood that my statement was meant regarding someone with a sex offense on their record. To me, anyone with a sex offense conviction (of any kind, but especially related to a minor), would be foolish to put themselves in a position where an unfounded accusation would be regarded as truth, whether that person would commit another offense or not.
    Someone else here mentioned a church established by sex offenders that forbids anyone attending under the age of 18. Why do you suppose they have that restriction? They are avoiding the “appearance” of evil.

    • RegistrantNotAnOffender

      I mentioned the 18 and up church and it has more to do with giving those with restrictions on being around minors a safe place to worship. I agree someone should avoid the appearance of evil but I don’t believe we have to avoid churches with young people. Nothing wrong with worshipping with your loved ones.

      • Concerned Registrant (the Original)

        Again, you and I are also in agreement. I mentioned the “no one under 18” church to demonstrate that they recognize the dangers, and for the comfort to worship for those with offenses with children (or even if the offense was not child-related), they have the rule. The age restriction is a policy they have set, and I am okay with their decision. That may be exactly the kind of church that some need to attend. Personally, I think it is better to be part of a church with all ages of attendees. That is the kind of church I attend, but I only participate in adult ministries, which keeps me plenty occupied. When people have asked me to get involved with a function or Sunday school involving children, I simply thank them for the offer but that is not the ministry for which God has prepared me. I attend worship,, teach an adult Sunday school class, and am involved in an adult discipleship program during the week. Depending upon the church, it is totally possible to be fully engaged, fully blessed, and fully accepted and respected, without putting yourself in an unwise situation.

  5. Bob

    United States v. Hernandez, 209 F. Supp. 3d 542 (E.D.N.Y. 2016) (holding that a condition prohibiting a person convicted of possessing child pornography from attending a church service was unconstitutional as applied under the First Amendment).

    • AJ

      Just so we’re all clear, US v Hernandez prevented the *Government* from barring someone. There is absolutely nothing illegal about a private entity (here, a church) barring someone who is not part of a protected class (race, religion, age, ethnicity, etc.). Criminality is not a protected class and can be blanket banned. This is the exact same logic and reasoning behind the Packingham decision: NC couldn’t ban him, but social media (i.e. FB) can–for now. 😉

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