Southern Baptist group overhauls national conference to focus on sex abuse crisis

Houston Chronicle

April 30, 2019

By Robert Downen

Citing a sexual abuse crisis revealed in a recent Houston Chronicle investigation, the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm has overhauled its 2019 national conference in Grapevine to focus on abuse.

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission is expected to announce Tuesday that it has changed the conference’s theme to focus on “the current crisis within the SBC denomination.”

The announcement follows a February investigation by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News that found more than 700 people, mostly children, had reported being sexually abused by roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders or volunteers since 1998.

Southern Baptist leaders vowed sweeping changes in the wake of the “heartbreaking” report, titled “Abuse of Faith.”

In a statement, commission President Russell Moore said the change was spurred by a “realization” when planning seminars for the conference, which was previously focused on “courage.”

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