Abuse survivors demand a clergy sex offender database
The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) held its annual national meeting on Tuesday to speak about a tough topic amongst others. The main issue discussed; sex abuse by clergy and staff.
Current and former Southern Baptists, along with survivors and advocates from other denominations will be gathered at the rally called For Such a Time as This. The rally was held outside the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Center on Tuesday evening. Protestors demanded that all pastors, volunteers, and staff attended mandatory sex-abuse prevention training and to start a clergy sex offender database. In addition, they want the denomination, which only allows male pastors to respect women.
The group displayed a large foam-board “millstone” that references Jesus’s warnings about those who harm children. In Scripture, Jesus says child abusers should have a “large millstone hung around their neck” and drown in the ocean.
The imagery was used because it’s harsh so that it sends a message to the Southern Baptists that the issue of sexual abuse is critical. Rev. Ashley Easter said, “Jesus uses strong words for those who harm children, and we believe the SBC needs a reminder of Jesus’ strong words.”
The past year has had the Southern Baptist Convention dealing with the Me Too movement which has served to overthrow prominent leaders in the denomination as well as encourage a plethora of women to speak up and demand change. The previous year saw delegates pass resolutions denouncing all forms of abuse, “sexual purity” among pastors and affirming women’s dignity.
Sex abuse was a high priority issue at the 2018 national meeting in Dallas an advisory group was formed by the then-newly elected SBC President Rev. J.D. Greear to come up with recommendations on how to face the problem.