The Southern Baptist Convention’s statement of faith calls on its members to “contend for the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.” But the nation’s largest Protestant denomination must now decide whether that includes situations in which respected men have abused their power with women.

Last week, an audio recording surfaced on which Paige Patterson, a high-profile Southern Baptist leader, says abused wives should avoid divorce, pray for their violent husbands, and “be submissive in every way that you can.” Patterson is an ordained pastor, a former SBC president and the current president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

“It depends on the level of abuse to some degree,” Patterson is heard saying on the 2000 tape.

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Written by Jonathan