The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest evangelical denomination, is headed for a showdown over its treatment of women that could not only have far-reaching ramifications for the church but also influence the broader secular #MeToo movement.
At its annual meeting next week in Dallas, delegates called “messengers” will decide whether to approve a resolution acknowledging that, throughout the church’s history, male leaders and members of the church “wronged women, abused women, silenced women, objectified women.”
“The #MeToo moment has come to American evangelicals,” Albert Mohler, president of the flagship Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote last month. “And I am called to deal with it as a Christian, as a minister of the Gospel, as a seminary and college president, and as a public leader.”
The convention is meeting in the wake of several widely publicized scandals in which prominent Southern Baptist leaders have been accused of or have admitted inappropriate behavior toward women.
“Many women have experienced horrific abuses within the power structures of our Christian world,” Beth Moore, a prominent evangelical teacher in Houston, wrote in an open letter last month.
Most recently, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in nearby Fort Worth fired Paige Patterson, a pre-eminent figure in the denomination’s conservative resurgence in recent decades, who had been its president since 2003.
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