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Mike Pence and #MeToo to take stage at Southern Baptist conference

Tue 12 Jun 2018
By Cara Bentley

The Vice President will address the biggest denomination of US Protestants on Wednesday in Texas.

Mr Pence will: "express appreciation to Southern Baptists for the contributions we make to the moral fabric of our nation" said Southern Baptist President Steve Gaines.

He will address the church gathering at 11am with high security being put in place at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

"It's an honor to welcome Vice President Pence," said Grant Ethridge, Chairman of the convention's Committee on Order of Business. 

"While the Southern Baptist Convention aligns itself with no political party, our program recognizes and honors local, state and national leaders in keeping with 1 Timothy 2:1–2"

Many though disagree with inviting someone so publicly political to a Christian conference. 

Another area of attention at the conference is the #MeToo movement's influence on the church, with one item on the agenda being a resolution called 'Affirming the Dignity of Women and the Holiness of Ministers'.

This comes to the fore as prominent SBC figures have been found to be involved in sexual misconduct or mishandled allegations told to them. 

It could be a pivotal moment for the church to either call out sin or respond weakly and come under criticism. 

Paige Patterson was one of the big names to fall. The President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary was recently fired for not reporting an allegation of rape in 2003 and meeting a student who made an allegation in 2015 alone so he could "break her down". 

He then withdrew from making one of the main speeches at the conference. 

A discussion on #MeToo took place on Tuesdaywith panel members saying abuse must be dealt with openly and honestly and Beth Moore, seen as a potential future President of SBC, saying: "When a church begins to work with a female victim...it doesn’t matter how wonderful the men leaders might be, there must be a female advocate in the room.”

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