Leaked letter reveals allegations that Southern Baptist leaders mishandled sex abuse claims

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A letter obtained by the Washington Post outlines new allegations that Southern Baptist Convention leaders mishandled sexual abuse claims.

The state of play: The letter, written by Russell Moore, former head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, claims that institutional leaders bullied a sexual abuse victim.

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  • Moore specifically names people in the SBC's Executive Committee who he says intimidated any person who spoke out about abuses in the church.

  • He also details how some institutional leaders exonerated churches with credible allegations of negligence of sexual abuse victims, which he says put the lives of "vulnerable children and others" affiliated with the church at risk.

The big picture: The SBC, the country's largest evangelical Christian denomination, is facing debates "over issues such as sex abuse, racism and the role of women, as well as significant Southern Baptist support for former president Donald Trump," the Post writes.

These controversies have caused several people to leave the church.

Between the lines: The letter is dated May 31, just days after Moore announced he would resign from his position in the convention. At the time, Moore revealed he was leaving to join magazine Christianity Today.

What they're saying: "You and I both heard, in closed door meetings, sexual abuse survivors spoken of in terms of ‘Potiphar’s wife’ and other spurious biblical analogies," Moore writes in the letter, directed at J.D. Greer, SBC president.

  • "The conversations in these closed door meetings were far worse than anything Southern Baptists knew — or the outside world could report."

  • "...[T]his comes on the heels of a track-record of the Executive Committee staff and others referring to victims as 'crazy' and, at least in one case, as worse than the sexual predators themselves."

  • Of note: "In the ancient biblical story, Potiphar’s wife tries to seduce Joseph and falsely accuses him of having assaulted her," the Post writes.

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