How bad is the abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention? An investigation earlier this year by the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News exposed the predatory behavior of so many Baptist leaders that the SBC itself vowed to make things right. They even identified ten SBC churches themselves that required additional scrutiny.
One of those was Bolivar Baptist Church in Sanger, Texas. Its pastor, Dale “Dickie” Amyx, admitted to raping and later impregnating a teen girl in the 1970s. While a civil case was settled out of court in 2008, he was still preaching sermons as if he had never committed a crime.
When faced with the prospect of further investigations by the SBC, Bolivar Baptist Church made a simple decision: Rather than face more scrutiny, they would leave the SBC altogether. Amyx insists that decision, made back in May, has nothing to do with his predatory behavior.
Amyx, reached Wednesday in the foyer of his church, told the Denton Record-Chronicle why the church left the convention. He said the reasoning was independent of the moves the SBC was making to hold the church accountable. He said the church left so it could be a more independent Baptist church.
He said the church hadn’t been sending money to the SBC or sharing the the convention’s literature or teachings with Bolivar Baptist churchgoers for many years…
“The past is the past,” Amyx said when asked directly about the accusations detailed by Vasquez and the investigation. “That’s where it should have stayed.”
That sort of comment is precisely why people should be worried about religious organizations trying to police themselves. It’s far too easy to wiggle out of an investigation. Even the SBC won’t say if the inquiry had occurred before the church chose to leave. Which means Amyx is likely going to remain a preacher without any consequences for his actions and now with even less oversight than before.
(Screenshot via Google Maps. Thanks to Megan for the link)