Monday, May 6, 2013

Association expels church with accused pedophile pastor

A Southern Baptist association in Missouri has dropped from its membership a church whose pastor is to stand trial for sex crimes with minor females. The charges include six felonies involving two different women who were minors when the incidents allegedly occurred.

Bob Allen of Associated Baptist Press has the story:

Association drops church with accused pastor

Headlines notwithstanding, the Lamine Baptist Association dropped the church for "non-compliance with the association’s constitution and bylaws" without mention of the sex charges.

The pastor was acquitted of similar charges in 2011 and the current charges are for forcible rape, statutory rape, sexual abuse and sodomy that are alleged to have occurred in 1998, 1999 and 2005.

Our cherished and closely guarded doctrine of autonomy, each level of Baptist life is independent and cannot be ordered to do anything, means that a local church may have an accused sexual predator as pastor if they wish, and this church, inexplicably, so wishes.

Southern Baptist pastors are fired for the most trivial of reasons and one would think that if a church's pastor is indicted for such serious felonies, he would not last long in the pulpit.

Think again in this case. The church stands by her man.

Indeed, one of the earlier crimes for which the pastor was acquitted was a statutory rape charge. It turned out that the victim was 17, the age of consent in Missouri, and that no crime occurred. 

The church is comfortable with their pastor having crime free sex with a 17 year-girl?


Sure, the law presumes innocence until guilt is proven in a court of law. But, if a church volunteer worker or staff member is accused of sexual crimes with minors, at the very least such an individual would ordinarily be suspended from their duties and prohibited from contact with minors until the charges are resolved.

I'm not sure how one can pastor a church without contact with  minors, but the church is untroubled by such things, one member claiming that the pastor is "wonderful" with children in the church.

Wonderful indeed.

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