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Women of Faith: The #ChurchToo movement shines a light on sex abuse in evangelicalism

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Ashley Easter and Jules Woodson
Ashley Easter, left, and Jules Woodson are two of the women advocating for tangible change in the Southern Baptist Convention as the church grapples with how to deal with sexual abuse by ministers.
Courtesy of Ashley Easter

The largest Protestant denomination in America is reckoning this week with its own #MeToo moment. Early this year, the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News reported that hundreds of ministers in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) have been credibly accused of sexual abuse and misconduct over the past 20 years. Many simply moved churches after they were accused, leaving more than 700 victims without recourse to justice. 

Southern Baptist women and their supporters who say church officials have been too slow to act on the years of coverups are planning a rally outside the denomination's annual meeting this week to demand concrete changes — including the creation of an offender database and sexual abuse victim training for seminary students. But they also link the failure of SBC leaders to take action against the abusers to what they see as a "low view of women" in the denomination, saying it has contributed to "a culture that is friendly to abusers."

As part of our continuing Women of Faith series, MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with two leaders of the movement to reform the SBC about the growing discontent with the role of women in theologically conservative factions of the church. 

  Guests:

• Ashley Easter, a writer, speaker, abuse victim advocate and organizer of the For Such A Time As This Rally

• Jules Woodson, sexual assault survivor and advocate

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.