Another Church Sex Scandal: The SBC Cover-up and What You Can Do Now

Another Church Sex Scandal: The SBC Cover-up and What You Can Do Now June 6, 2022

Photo by Justin Main on Unsplash

Last month, the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) released a comprehensive report of its executive committee’s response to sexual abuse allegations. The independent firm Guidepost Solutions (the same firm responsible for the investigation of the Ravi Zacharias scandals) conducted the internal investigation and found that for over 2 decades, the SBC had been mishandling allegations and reports of abuse, molestation, and misconduct within its organization.

And even though senior leaders of the SBC refused to act, they compiled a private list of “accused ministers” in Baptist churches. This list contained the names of over 700 abusers, including a list of over 400 abusers who were affiliated with the SBC at some time. The SBC kept its own list of abusers but made no attempts to expose the abusers or hold them accountable.

The cliché defenses have been administered: “Not all churches are corrupt” “Not all pastors are like that” “There are some bad apples in the church for sure, but they’re not all like that.” We say the same thing about police departments, celebrities, congress, and even the White House. But if we are honest with ourselves, we would all readily acknowledge and admit that when it comes to systems of power, no matter what, you will find abuse, corruption, and sexual scandal of perverse magnitudes. The church has never been and will never be, any different.

Juxtapose this scandal with the fears of sexual education programs in public schools, and we have quite the atmosphere for a chaotic storm to build, don’t we? Is the remedy to burn all institutions down to the ground? It couldn’t hurt, right? But that’s not really rational, is it?

There are many people in powerful positions, and we know that those who have power don’t want to lose it. As we’ve seen with the Weinstein (#MeToo movement) and Epstein (Lolita Express, private Island) cases, those with power never have to face any real consequence. Whether the SBC takes extreme action or not, we may not know until the next convention. But you can take independent action now.

That action begins with information. For too long, humans have depended on political, religious, and social doctrines to define and designate sexual norms. Our sexual intelligence is lacking, and these power-house institutions have greatly influenced our erotic ignorance. To take power back, we equip ourselves with erotic intelligence so that we can prevent future generations from abuse and molestation.

First, we acknowledge the truth about our humanity. We are created in the Image of God. This means that how our body was designed and what our bodies can do—experience ecstasy and pleasure—is a good thing. Sex is not a sin. This must be at the forefront of our understanding. We have sex to connect and to create. This is a part of God’s plan. We must stop the story building that sex is bad or dangerous or dirty or sinful. This is not sending positive messaging to our youth, it’s scaring them. And when we are scared, we don’t make smart decisions. Information isn’t scary and knowing that we were created to have sex and make a sacred connection isn’t something we should hide from our youth or ourselves.

Secondly, we acknowledge that what we choose to do in the privacy of our own homes with our consenting (adult) partners is our business. No book or sermon can change that. If what we do in our bedrooms feels good and brings us pleasure, God ain’t mad at that. Trust me.

Third, we must acknowledge that our dependency on external systems to educate and inform us on the basic principles of sex and sexuality is contributing to the collective crisis we are facing. Consider this, so many individuals believe that politicians, celebrities, and even church leaders are all participating in a global sex trafficking enterprise. Conservatives believe all of Hollywood and every Liberal politician is a pedophile whereas Liberals generally believe that the institution of the Church is devoid of decency and running rampant with pedophilia. What if everyone is right? What if it’s the systems of power that are perpetuating this giant ring of perversion?

We all struggle with these topics of conversation because for so long, we have had redundant messaging inundating us about the consequences and dangers of sex. Sex is dirty. Sex releases demons. Having sex for pleasure goes against the will of God. These are ridiculous ideas that have been used to control people “for the greater good.” The greater good is pleasure and connection. Sex isn’t dirty, it’s sacred. And it’s sad that pastors and preachers do not know this. They have been charged to relay the Good News of God and instead they end up being the bad news reported on an evening broadcast.

Powerful preachers stand before their congregations, hiding behind pulpits and scripted sermons telling you that you are a sinner all the while they are molesting children behind closed doors. These are not the moral leaders that can help you develop erotic intelligence so that you can protect your children from perverts. Churches are no safer than Epstein’s private island.

Who can you trust? Start by trusting yourself. I recognize how difficult this idea may be, “trust myself?” Churches have convinced a lot of people that they ought not to trust in their own thoughts. (Politicians do the same.) I wonder why that is? Could it be that if you followed the faith of your heart, it might not lead you to the same doors to the same church that you have been financing all these years? Churches put a lot of time into advertising the saving of sinners and need you to return as a customer just like pharmaceutical companies. They need you to be a loyal customer who buys all their products. But if you wouldn’t support Nike for their unethical labor laws, why would you support corporations that molest your own children?

Who can you turn to? Have you considered turning to your partner or to close family members and cultivating your own conversation centered on curiosity? Be honest about your discomfort and insecurity to even engage in the conversation. It makes sense that you are. Many couples struggle to speak to one another about sex, and more so, family struggles to talk to their children about sex. But if we all begin the conversation with a little humility, we open the space for more vulnerable discussions to take place. This is how we invite intimacy building, by the way.

What are some of the questions you have about sex? Are you and your partner struggling to communicate? Are you afraid of how to speak to your kids about the inevitable “birds and bees” discussion? If you don’t feel comfortable leading a discussion about sex with your partner or family members, consider finding a sexual psychologist or therapist to include in your exploration journey. Or better yet, consider hiring an intimacy, relationship, or sex coach to help facilitate discussions and ask questions.

It’s important that you have an open dialogue about sex within your home, especially if you have children. Too many parents refuse to even say the word “sex” around their children for fear that it may influence them to seek out porn or do the thing that cannot be spoken, but that’s not actually how it works. Keeping our children as blissfully ignorant as possible has negative consequences. If you act ashamed when the topic of sex comes up, your children are going to unconsciously model that same shame. Which makes it easier for predators to convince a child to keep secrets. Information is power, isn’t it? Let’s equip our children with as much information as we can, that’s also considerate of their cognitive development, of course.

The more information children have about sex and the less they shamefully react to it, the more open and willing children will be to ask questions to their parents and not some outside source. Raising children isn’t just about teaching them math and science, religion and politics, we must also include healthy dynamics of relationality and sexuality, which includes inviting curiosity and answering difficult or unexpected questions. And remember, your child’s imagination isn’t as sexual as you would be led to believe it is. Unless and until you put context to curiosity, there isn’t a canvas for the child to picture, it’s still blank.

Erotic intelligence is cultivated first with curiosity but secondly, with courage. We must be courageous enough to seek out additional information beyond the comfortable circles of influence. We must also be courageous enough to stand up and acknowledge what is happening within our churches rather than sweep it under the rug.



If you are struggling with the topic of sex and would like additional resources and encouragement, please consider visiting my website and filling out the consultation request in the Contact section.







About Danielle M Kingstrom
Danielle is the host of the Recorded Conversations podcast. A podcast dedicated to compassionately considering all perspectives while engaging in authentic, connected dialogue. She is also an erotic embodiment advisor with Naked Tree Advising. As an advisor, Danielle assists with the development of emotional and erotic intelligence for individuals and couples. You can read more about the author here.

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