Bart Barber, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said the financial cost of a new abuse hotline for the SBC is “worth it.”
“The cost of doing nothing” outweighs “the cost of doing something,” he said.
“For all of my adult life, there have been occasions where sexual abuse took place, and the (Southern Baptist) Convention was sued, and we’ve been paying that expense,” Barber said in a video posted on Twitter earlier this month.
The cost of doing something.— Bart Barber (@bartbarber) January 17, 2023
The cost of doing nothing. pic.twitter.com/rpyAWUXWro
“The only way to make the expense go away is to make the abuse go away. And I firmly believe that anything that we can do to prevent sexual abuse in our churches, anything that we can do to aid survivors and help them is money well spent and reduces our expenses in the long run.”
The SBC launched the hotline in May 2022 after a report from Guidepost Solutions revealed SBC leadership mishandled sexual abuse allegations for some 20 years.
Guidepost Solutions manages the hotline.
“The goal of the SBC Hotline is to gather reports of current or former allegations of sexual abuse in a trauma-informed, safe atmosphere for survivors so as to inform the SBC about any past or current issues and allegations which demand action,” reads the hotline website.
But critics have questioned how much the service costs, The Christian Post reports.
Barber said in a tweet that the cost varies based on call volume.
“And of course, the first few months of the hotline came when we’d never had anything like that before, and because we’d never had anything like that before, there’s a backlog of people waiting to call in,” he said.
“I think according to God’s economy, and according to the way that accountants look at the economy, it’s a good investment for Southern Baptist[s] to do everything that we can, even if it costs some money to do it, everything that we can to assist our local churches to prevent abuse and to comfort those and provide support for those who are survivors of abuse,” he added.
The SBC is still working on reforms to help with sexual abuse allegations in the church. In December 2022, the Abuse Reform Implementation Task Force updated the SBC, saying they were working to help “churches prevent sexual abuse and minister well to abuse survivors.”
The group is creating a “Ministry Check” database that keeps track of church leaders who have previously been accused of sexual abuse.
“While the task is more difficult than anticipated, our team is united by a Christ-honoring passion to help churches prevent sexual abuse and minister well to abuse survivors,” said ARITF Chairman Marshall Blalock. “We understand the urgency of what we have been called to do, and that drives us every day.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Kunakorn Rassadornyindee
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.