Evangelicals decry ‘silence’ on sexual abuse

More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition decrying the “silence” and “inattention” of evangelical leaders to sexual abuse … Continued

More than 1,200 people have signed an online petition decrying the “silence” and “inattention” of evangelical leaders to sexual abuse in their churches.

The statement was prompted by recent child abuse allegations against Sovereign Grace Ministries, an umbrella group of 80 Reformed evangelical churches based in Louisville, Ky.

“Recent allegations of sexual abuse and cover-up within a well known international ministry and subsequent public statements by several evangelical leaders have angered and distressed many, both inside and outside of the Church,” reads the three-page statement spearheaded by GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment).

“These events expose the troubling reality that, far too often, the Church’s instincts are no different than from those of many other institutions, responding to such allegations by moving to protect her structures rather than her children.”

In May, a judge dismissed many of the charges against Sovereign Grace, but lawyers for the victims appealed the verdict. Board members of Sovereign Grace have said they “abhor sexual abuse of any kind” and said they have not found evidence of a cover-up.

Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian, the executive director of GRACE and a Liberty University law professor, said Christians should be able to work together to protect children and care for victims despite theological differences.

Tchividjian, a grandson of evangelist Billy Graham, previously criticized leaders who spoke out in support of C.J. Mahaney, who had been named as a defendant in the SGM suit.

Signatories on the statement, which was released on July 17 but has attracted additional signers, include Tim Clinton, president of the American Association of Christian Counselors; Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan; Paul Young, author of “The Shack”; and Jonathan Merritt, evangelical writer and senior columnist for Religion News Service.

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About

Adelle M. Banks | Religion News Service Adelle M. Banks is a production editor and national correspondent at RNS.
  • leibowde84

    It is becoming all too obvious that Church leaders see their religious organizations as being more important than the well-being of children. It seems as though that they think it commendable to protect the name of their Churches when tainted with allegations of this kind.

    This makes me wanna throw up, and reminds me of how dangerous powerful organized religions can be. Any person, no matter what their position, is morally required to report every ALLEGATION of child abuse to the PROPER AUTHORITIES. Anyone who fails to do this is spitting in the face of God.

  • Rongoklunk

    Is there any religious group that doesn’t sexually abuse children? How can they do that when they believe God is watching them? I just don’t get it. Won’t God send them to Hell for their disgusting behavior? Or does God have better things to do than worry about kids being diddled by priests? Then again – God behaves exactly as if he doesn’t exist. Maybe that’s because he doesn’t actually exist? I mean god is either lazy and couldn’t give a damn, or he’s just a figment of the imagination. As nobody ever saw a god, and as the ancients invented thousands of gods – the simplest explanation is he’s imaginary, like all the others.

  • FrankLaFerriere

    Ummm let’s see. The Roman Catholics? Check. The Baptists? Check. The Episcopalians? Check. The Jehovah Witnesses? Check. The Mormons? Check. The Evangelicals? Check. Even the Jews synagogues? Check. Nope. I cannot think of one christian or religious denomination that does NOT HAVE A MASSIVE problem with abusing children.

    It is time to put a complete stop to this crap.

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