Religion Southern Baptists Sex Abuse

FILE - In this Tuesday, June 14, 2016, file photo, Pastor Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, addresses members during the organization's annual meeting in St. Louis. In a Thursday, June 10, 2021, open letter to Floyd, president of the Executive Committee, and Mike Stone, then-chairman of the committee and now a candidate for convention president, critics sought to show top leaders were slow to address sexual abuse in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, more worried about the convention’s reputation and donations than about victims of abuse. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Releases of leaked letters and secret recordings from within the Southern Baptist Convention are intensifying as critics seek to show top leaders were slow to address sexual abuse and worried more about its reputation and donations than about victims. A former executive of the denomination’s ethics agency has posted audio clips he clandestinely recorded in internal meetings. The aim is to bolster claims that leaders of the SBC’s Executive Committee sought to slow or block policies responding to abuse by ministers and other church leaders, and that they tried to intimidate those seeking a more robust response. The committee members are defending their actions, saying the recordings reflect the normal give-and-take of policy development.

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