Oct 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Southern Baptist committee chief resigns amid division over sex abuse review

A picture of a sign that says "End Abuse NOW!"

Protesters fighting abuse within the church gather outside a Southern Baptist Convention meeting in June 2018, Dallas, Texas. Photo: Rodger Mallison/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The president and CEO of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee resigned Thursday night amid a scandal over the denomination's handling of sexual abuse cases.

Driving the news: Ronnie Floyd's resignation comes after weeks of internal division have rocked the SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.

  • A letter — written by Russell Moore, former head of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission — revealing accusations that SBC leaders dismissed sexual abuse victims and allegations was leaked this summer.
  • Victims allege that the SBC has not done enough to investigate and prevent abuse within the denomination.

Catch up quick: Earlier this month, the Executive Committee voted to waive attorney-client privilege related to an independent investigation looking into the committee's handling of sexual abuse cases.

  • In doing so, they are allowing investigators to access legal records of conversations among committee members, per the Washington Post.
  • Of note: The investigators were hired by the Executive Committee. Some SBC pastors have criticized the move, noting that they "don’t trust the committee to oversee an investigation of itself," AP reports.

What he's saying: "The decisions made on Tuesday afternoon, October 5, in response to the 2021 Convention now place our missionary enterprise as Southern Baptists into uncertain, unknown, unprecedented and uncharted waters," Floyd said in his resignation letter, referring to the decision to waive attorney-client privilege, per the Baptist Press.

  • "Due to my personal integrity and the leadership responsibility entrusted to me, I will not and cannot any longer fulfill the duties placed upon me as the leader of the executive, fiscal, and fiduciary entity of the SBC," he added.
  • "In the midst of deep disappointment and discouragement, we have to make this decision by our own choice and do so willingly, because there is no other decision for me to make."
  • Floyd is not the first committee member to resign over the issue, according to the Tennessean.

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