Sexual abuse within the church is back in the news but this time it's not the Catholic Church but the Baptist Church.

The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News in an expansive investigation named 220 Southern Baptist pastors, ministers, deacons, volunteers, Sunday school teachers and others who were found guilty of sexually abusing churchgoers involving more than 700 victims the report found.

More than 250 have been charged. And roughly 380 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have faced allegations of sexual misconduct the report found. That includes those who were convicted, credibly accused and successfully sued.

The news outlets’ yearlong investigation also found that three dozen pastors and workers who have been suspected of being predators continue to work for Baptist churches.

Also in an report by The Fort Worth Star-Telegram discovered a pattern of abuse and cover-up fueled by patriarchal theology in independent fundamental Baptist churches.

The report, published by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram identified 412 abuse allegations in 187 independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches and institutions across 40 states and Canada, with some cases reaching as far back as the 1970s.

Sexual abuse within the church is not just a Catholic problem nor is it a problem just in Texas but yes even here in your hometown and your local church and church leaders and members should be on the frontlines to make their church a safe place for everyone. Making sure that victims are the primary concern and not circling the wagons to protect the church or the abuser.

The church is no longer the moral authority in our country and the rampant sexual abuse and domestic violence occurring within the church that has and does go unchecked is a contributing factor.

I regularly see Christians demonstrating in front of Planned Parenthood calling out abortion as a sin but I have never seen Christians demonstrating in front of churches calling out sexual abuse and domestic violence within the church as a sin. It's time that Christians step up and shine a light on the stench within their church exposing sexual abuse and domestic violence while rescuing those that are the victims of this ungodliness.

TOM MOULSE

VINTON

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