It took three weeks of scheduled meetings, at least three law firms, dozens of statements, hours of closed-door briefings, and extensive back-and-forth debates across boardooms, social media, and Zoom calls for the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee (EC) to agree to the terms of a third-party investigation into its response to abuse. But on Tuesday, it did.
The EC voted 44–31 on in favor of waiving attorney-client privilege in the investigation, after a half dozen members resigned and several switched their position in favor of the waiver. For a moment, it felt like the conclusion of a long and heated process, though the decision is only the start of a long investigative process.
EC chairman Rolland Slade, who oversaw the proceedings, expressed his relief after the tally was announced. Then he remarked, “I want to express sorrow over the conduct we have displayed as Southern Baptists.”
For the EC—the denominational body tasked with Southern Baptist business outside the annual meeting—the debate pitted the desire to open fully to the investigation against concerns that such transparency would threaten its financial solvency, insurance coverage, and other fiduciary duties to protect the entity.
The Southern Baptist Executive Committee voted today to waive attorney-client privilege in an upcoming investigation into its abuse response.
The committee had been at an impasse on the issue for weeks, with pressure mounting from leaders and pastors. https://t.co/ZIQCEjq6qy
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) October 5, 2021