Proposals by victims which could potentially help stop the culture of abuse have almost universally fallen on deaf ears, according to the investigators, in part because a central tenet of the Baptist doctrine is “the idea that each church is independent and self-governing,” according to church leader August Boto. “What we’re talking about is criminal. The fact that criminal activity occurs in a church context is always the basis of grief. But it’s going to happen. And that statement does not mean that we must be resigned to it.”

Because each Baptist Church operates more or less independently of the others, any hope of enacting a universal code for dealing with future allegations of abuse is highly unrealistic.

Instead, the convention passed a non-binding resolution condemning all forms of abuse and supporting of victims.

“We call on all persons perpetrating and enabling abuse to repent and confess their sin to Jesus Christ and to church authorities and to confess their crimes to civil authorities,” the resolution said.

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