Santiago expressed sympathy for abuse survivors and his desire that survivors get all the help they need from churches and the EC.
The list of convicted and credibly accused abusers has little value, Santiago said, since the majority of those on the list were already convicted and publicly identified.
“Regarding the release of the list, I don’t think this is necessary, especially the reasons given for its release: transparency and transformation,” Santiago said. “The names of the convicted sex offenders are obviously public knowledge since it is recorded in public legal documents. Besides the local newspaper where the crime was committed published it already. Most of them are already serving their sentences and clearly being punished for their crime.”
Santiago speculated that publishing the list reopened wounds that perhaps had already healed among survivors, as well as innocent family members and relatives of abusers.
Santiago hopes the SBC will work vigilantly to prevent sexual crimes in churches and Southern Baptist institutions, and “provide written guidelines and probably a step-by-step action for the church or any institution and individuals who will be dealing with the issue of sexual offenses and abuses.
“Our fellowship always listens and follows the policies and strategies instituted by the (Southern Baptist) Convention and associations,” Santiago said. “We will continue to remind and educate our churches on this matter. Culturally, we will continue to have conversations and dialogue on how we can better handle this issue when it arises in our community.”
Santiago is pastor of Covenant Christian Church in Jacksonville, Fla.
Hre Mang, senior pastor of Falam Christian Church of Indianapolis, is executive director of the SBC Myanmar Churches Fellowship, a new fellowship seeking to represent the 128 Myanmar Southern Baptist churches.
Speaking personally and briefly, Mang encouraged preventative and responsive measures regarding sexual abuse, and promoted biblical and legal practices. Likely, he said, the fellowship will follow Southern Baptist best practices.
About 60 majority-Lao congregations are Southern Baptist, according to Houmphanh Vongsurith, president of the United Lau Southern Baptist Fellowship and pastor of First Laotian Baptist Church in Dallas.
Expressing caution in making a comment in advance of the fellowship’s studying the report as a group, Vongsurith encouraged Southern Baptists to continue spreading the Gospel.
“We are human being who are trying to do our best to serve the Lord so the world will see us as all characters of God,” Vongsurith told Baptist Press. “We read the Bible, they read us, so we must make them see Christ in us.”
This article originally appeared here.