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Pence Speaks At Southern Baptist Convention After Patterson's Removal

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Dallas this morning to address the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

Pence landed Air Force Two at Dallas Love Field Airport just after 10:00 a.m. – making his second visit to Dallas in less than six weeks. It was last month that Pence and President Donald Trump both attended the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in the city.

The Vice President was met met by several local leaders, including Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price who spent several minutes chatting him.

Once at the convention Pence was met wit a standing ovation and told the crowd, " "I am a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican. In that order."

He later made the assertion that the U.S. is in the midst of what he called "renewal and greatness." He said since the Trump administration has been in power there have been, "500 days of action, 500 days accomplishments, 500 days of promises made, and 500 days of promises kept."

The Vice President also received standing ovations when he said the summit with President Trump and Kim Jong Un will lead to the return of 5,000 MIA's from the Korean War, when he advocated for allowing the states to defund Planned Parenthood and when he mentioned the U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem.

Pence isn't the only political figure attending this year's SBC, Governor Greg Abbott opened the convention Tuesday morning.

Some 15,000 are expected to attend the convention, which has returned to Dallas for the first time in 21 years. But the event for the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. has also sparked some controversy.

It was just last month that SBC leader Paige Patterson was removed as president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth after allegations that he made abusive and demeaning comments to women.

Patterson is accused of commenting on a teenage girl's body, saying female seminarians should work to look attractive, suggesting that abused women should almost always stay with their husbands, and telling a seminary student not to report a rape to police.

Until last week Patterson had been scheduled to give the keynote sermon at the meeting – he withdrew from the event on June 8.

So far, delegates at the meeting have adopted resolutions condemning any sexual misconduct by SBC ministers, urging more action to prevent "all forms of abuse," and encouraging abuse victims to contact civil authorities to seek protection and support.

When SBC President Steve Gaines announced that Pence would be attending the conference in Dallas some of the convention's nearly 11,000 members felt the mix of politics and ministry was inappropriate. The members presented a motion that Pence's speech be replaced with a time of prayer, but it was defeated. Today the SBC is expected to consider a resolution that would bar appearances by politicians, save for local leaders, at the annual meetings.

The SBC Annual Meeting wraps up this evening.

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