Southern Baptists approve amendments dealing with sexual abuse, racism


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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) — Southern Baptists, faced in recent months with hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse in its ranks, have overwhelmingly adopted changes to governing documents that will bring greater visibility to their desire to disaffiliate with churches that do not handle instances of abuse properly.

A new standing “Credentials Committee” also will consider whether churches are not “in friendly cooperation” for that and other reasons, including involvement in “discriminatory behavior on the basis of ethnicity.”

They also voted Tuesday (June 11) at their annual meeting to amend the constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention so that it will make explicit that churches that mishandle cases of abuse or racial discrimination are not welcome.