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Southern Baptists Face Their #MeToo Moment

3 158 2000

NASHVILLE — Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I heard much about “the age of accountability.” Our tradition baptizes only those who confess their own faith in Christ, and the phrase describes the time when a person is mature enough to understand the difference between good and evil — and from that point onward could be, at the point of death, expected to stand before God in judgment, accountable for one’s own decisions, without the excuse of ignorance of what was right.

This week The Houston Chronicle ran a series of articles exposing, in painfully specific documentation, hundreds of sexual abusers who have worked within Southern Baptist churches over the last 20 years.

This series of articles demonstrates clearly that our tradition is well past its own age of accountability. The vital question is what we as a religious community, faced with these sins, do next.

Though many have cried out about the problem in church life, too often our tradition has thought this was a problem outside our walls. Some saw abuse, for example, within the Catholic church, and attributed it to a priestly celibacy or to a powerful church hierarchy different from American evangelicalism. Others saw the shocking abuse in the entertainment industry and considered it confirmation of what happens in communities with a lack of religiosity.

We see the same impulse at work throughout American culture when it comes to........

© The New York Times