Call for reforms

The Baptist Union in the USA faces hundreds of abuse allegations against pastors and volunteers. Members of largest Protestant church in U.S. call for reforms.

The information service "Religion News Service" quoted the president of the Baptist Union, J.D. Greear, saying it is now time for "profound change". Abuse is not only a sin, but also a crime, he said. Greear called for prayers for the 700 abuse victims and the "many other victims" who are not yet known.

In the information service "Baptist Press", Baptist counselor Dale Johnson demanded on Tuesday (local time) that churches should in principle report sexual abuse to the police in the future.

Never before there was greater crisis

Former church president James Merritt says on Twitter short message service that never before has the church faced a major crisis. The Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News newspapers had reported over the weekend on numerous allegations of abuse in the 15-million-member Baptist Union.

In the past two decades, he said, 380 pastors and church workers have been credibly accused. The newspaper articles reported incidents in which church officials had not taken allegations seriously and had covered up for accused persons.

The founder of abuse charity Grace, Boz Tchividjian, said church leaders must examine whether they have contributed to the emergence of a culture that "ignores, marginalizes or demonizes" victims. On the NPR radio station, Tchividjian complained that children don't stand a chance when they accuse someone in a leadership position.

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