What’s the Real Reason the DOJ Is Investigating the Southern Baptist Convention?
On Friday, the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention announced that it was under investigation by the Department of Justice for sexual abuse allegations. As of Friday night, the DOJ had not provided any information, but the SBC had released the following statement:
Our commitment to cooperate with the Department of Justice is born from our demonstrated commitment to transparently address the scourge of sexual abuse…While we continue to grieve and lament past mistakes related to sexual abuse, current leaders across the SBC have demonstrated a firm conviction to address those issues of the past and are implementing measures to ensure they are never repeated in the future,” the statement said. “The fact that the SBC Executive Committee recently completed a fully transparent investigation is evidence of this commitment. While so many things in the world are uncertain, we can be certain that we serve a mighty God. Nothing, including this investigation, takes Him by surprise. We take comfort in that and humbly ask you be in prayer in the days and weeks ahead. Specifically, we ask God to grant wisdom and discernment to each person dealing with the investigation.
If you follow religion in the news, you know there is no doubt that the SBC has mishandled the problem of abuse, to put it extremely mildly. Consider:
- In August of last year, Hannah Kate Williams filed suit against multiple Baptist entities, including the SBC executive committee, for the failure to investigate allegations of abuse at the hands of her pastor, who was also her father, no less.
- The Rev. Willy Rice, who was the pastor of Calvary Church in Clearwater, Fla., ordained a man who as a public school teacher had a history of sexual misconduct. Rice had been in the running for SBC president.
- In May of this year, Johnny Hunt, a former SBC president, was accused of sexual assault during an incident in July 2010 in which he was accused of sexually assaulting a pastor’s wife.
- In June of this year, Joe Knott, a member of the SBC’s Executive Committee had the unmitigated gall to state, “I am terrified that we are breaching our long-standing position of being a voluntary association of independent churches, when we start telling churches that they should do this or do that to protect children or women… I guarantee you women and children are going to be victimized no matter how much — and that is going to make us potentially targets of great class-action lawsuits, which could be the end of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
- In April of last year, Tracy Darin Turner resigned his position as pastor at his South Carolina Church and was later arrested for criminal sexual conduct with a child under 16.
Those are but just a few incidents. Clearly, the SBC has plenty to answer for. But then again, so does the Catholic Church. And as many people will be happy to tell you, this has been an issue in the Mormon Church for some time, and according to them, the stories are legion. Yet no federal investigations have been launched into either of those entities. I can clearly remember a time in my youth when I wriggled free of a particularly aggressive Episcopal priest who very much wanted to remove my pants. Will there be an investigation into the Episcopal Church?
For that matter, on several occasions, I have highlighted problems with sex offenders in the public school system. You can read about just a few of them here, here, here, and, here. Is anyone looking into this problem in our public schools? Wait, the DOJ was very much concerned about sex in the public schools. And if I recall, the DOJ was painting parents as terrorists for objecting to the sexualization of their children. Let us not forget the incredibly botched investigation of Larry Nassar, former team doctor of the United States women’s national gymnastics team. If “botched” is indeed the right word. For that matter, will we ever get a list of people who took the redeye on the Lolita Express to Jeffrey Epstein’s pleasure dome?
And there is where rubber and road collide. You see, Leftists, no person of conscience can look at what happened in the SBC and not be angered and want to see something done. Despite what your media has told you, conservatives are interested in justice. Everyone will agree that justice needs to be done. The victims with their wounds cry out for it and deserve it. But justice, it seems, flows only in one direction currently.
The SBC needs to be held accountable, and people need to be prosecuted. But many should be held accountable in other areas of American life but will not be. The issue is that, be it Hillary Clinton’s server issues versus the Mar-a-Lago raid or the destruction of American cities during the Summer of Floyd versus the January 6 drama, justice does not seem to be applied equally, particularly when it comes to the current administration. Whether it deserves it or not, the SBC has a reputation for being full of conservative Trump supporters. And the very real issue of the abhorrent way it has handled abuse within its ranks, combined with said reputation, essentially makes it a soft target.
What we tend to forget, and what I can, unfortunately, tell you from personal experience, is that predators tend to go where the prey is. And that is true in churches and schools alike. But sadly enough, our government is more interested in finding inroads to destroying its opponents than in actually delivering on promises to victims.
Several times over recent days, I’ve found myself thinking about an interview I did years ago. It was during the first term of the Obama administration and was with a bona fide member of the Hitler Youth. The man said something that gave me the chills then and resonates even more so now. He said, “This is exactly how it started in Germany!”
While there is no doubt that crimes were committed and apparently covered up by the SBC, the Department of Justice seems to be very selective in how it is performing its duties. Whether it is sending a message or securing a future for our political elites, the application of justice is becoming more fluid every day.
If one is opposed to evil, one must not oppose it only when it is politically or financially expedient. One must also fight the evil within its ranks and those of its supporters and allies. The SBC is learning that lesson now. I fear our government will never learn it.