First published on Christian Sexual Wholeness
The biggest sexual abuse scandal in the western Churches historically has been in the Roman Catholic Church. A Church which made itself out to be morally superior to all others and which has also enjoyed considerable political power for centuries. In the early 21st century a pillar of the Christian Conservative political movement in the USA is engulfed in a scandal of its own. The Southern Baptist Convention is being found to have engaged in practices very similar to the Catholics in having minimised and covered up instances of abuse within its ranks, shielding perpetrators from the law, and denying justice to victims.
In 2 Corinthians 6:14 we are enjoined by Paul that we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. There can be multiple ways of applying this to our daily lives as believers. One obvious context is in marriage; another is in business. The application for Christians seeking to align themselves with a cause, such as a political party, is also very important. Another applicable scripture, from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (ch 5 v 9), reads “Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough?”. Clearly this is a reference to the risk that just opening a door a little to a particular belief or ideology risks that it will soon get into everything and take over everything in its path.
I am constantly enjoined by conservative Christian friends we should all support Donald Trump because he is allegedly God’s chosen man in America. They are all unable to tell me why God has not chosen a ruler anywhere else in the world or why it is that God fearing Republican presidents are replaced by godless Democrat ones every 8 years. Dig deeper into these beliefs and they are largely based on the idea that America will rule the world and are God’s chosen instrument and what have you. The Bible does not mention America and the book they chose to interpret to base their beliefs on, Revelation, is hotly disputed by scholars, many of whom believe it was written around events at the time when John penned it, rather than an unknown length of time into the distant future. Ultimately the Christian Right in America have above all else an ungodly thirst for political power and therefore have hitched their wagons to successive Republican administrations despite the above admonitions and having their fingers and credibility burnt on a number of occasions.
Hence to return this post to the context of the Southern Baptist Convention – the sexual abuse scandals have come about because of the quest of its leadership to attain political power and status over a period of decades, by aligning themselves with conservative political causes especially after the American Revolution (supporting slavery and segregation) and becoming the dominant force in the SBC introducing ultra conservative theology (complementarianism) on the role and leadership of women in their churches, allowing their member churches to cover up and conceal the extent of the sexual abuse scandals largely because they perceive themselves to be morally superior and protected by the political establishment of their day.