The Selective Outrage of Southern Baptists
It's now been 4 months since the criminal conviction of child sex offender and former Baptist minister John Langworthy. Not a peep from Jack Graham at Prestonwood Baptist where Langworthy worked on staff for several years and confessed to sexually abusing boys there, one who came forward to Mississippi prosecutors. Not a peep either from prominent leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention like Al Mohler who are very comfortable being outspoken in decrying the actions of Penn State and Sandusky. On Nov. 10, 2011, within a few days of Sandusky's arrest (and 7 months before his trial), Mohler wrote:
When the facts became known, the firings of both Paterno and Spanier were inevitable and necessary. Both men had credible knowledge that young boys were being sexually abused, and neither did anything effective to stop it. Most crucially, neither man did what they should have done within minutes of hearing the first report — contact law enforcement immediately.Jack Graham also knew that young boys were being sexually abused, and like Paterno and Spanier, neither Jack or Neal Jeffrey "did what they should have done within minutes of hearing the first report- contact law enforcement immediately." Al Mohler, your silence speaks volumes.
Greg Belser, pastor of Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton, Mississippi, has also refused to decry Langworthy's child sex crimes. In fact, he and the elders embraced Langworthy with hugs and prayers for grace after Langworthy's public confession (VIDEO embedded below) from the pulpit on August 7, 2011. This public display of support for a convicted child predator is not only disgusting, it is continuing to place kids in the community of Clinton, Mississippi in danger today. Langworthy's wife Kathy remains on the music staff at Morrison Heights.
The elders of Morrison Heights Baptist Church took the time to put out a statement of their position on same-sex marriage in May of 2013. They have yet to put out any kind of statement regarding Langworthy's child sex crimes. He confessed to sexually abusing children in private meetings with these same elders 2 years ago. The only message from Morrison Heights has been one of love and support for Langworthy, a convicted and registered child sex offender. They continue to enable a predator. They have had no message of support for Langworthy's victims or called for anyone else harmed by him to contact the police.
In their same-sex marriage statement:
When will they speak clearly and courageously about one of their own who raped children and led them "away from God and His Word" in the most heinous of ways?Why speak on this issue?As elders of a local congregation of Christians, the spiritual care of the souls of our people is a direct charge from God. We must speak clearly and courageously when the cultural conversation would lead our people away from God and His Word.
The world is watching.
@watchkeep So glad you are bringing light to this area of darkness.I am prayerful, but not very hopeful. @prestonwood
— Boz Tchividjian (@BozT) May 23, 2013
*Update: more selective outrage about the new Boy Scout policy to allow openly gay members. Still waiting for the tweets decrying the child sex crimes of ministers of their own churches, like Langworthy, and calling for the accountability of pastors like Jack Graham who break the law by failing to report child abuse to the police.
1 of 3: Frank Page on Scouts' vote: "We are deeply saddened. ... This vote ushers in a sea-change in the credibility of the Boy Scouts ...
— baptistpress (@baptistpress) May 23, 2013
The movement to force the Boy Scouts of America to change its policy on homosexuality is evidence of a vast cultural change.
— albertmohler (@albertmohler) May 23, 2013
Perhaps Al Mohler is vocal about Penn State but silent on Langworthy's conviction, because his buddy Philip Gunn, one of the Morrison Heights Baptist Church elders, is a trustee at his seminary. Oh, and Gunn is Speaker of the House of Representatives in Mississippi. The good ole boys club has each other's back.
The Wartburg Watch covered the connection here- Phillip Gunn, SBTS, Al Mohler: Legal Right = Moral Right?
And FBC Jax Watchdogs covered it here- Seminary Trustee, Lawyer, Tells Church Leaders to Not Speak to Police about Meetings They Had with Molester
WJTV in Jackson covered it here- Email Shows Gunn's Role in Abuse Case
WJTV-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Jackson, MS
Embedded below are the crimes Langworthy pleaded guilty to on Jan. 22, 2013. I was in the courtroom that day and heard it. These are the child sex crimes committed against children ages 6-13 between 1980-84 just prior to his enrollment at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and employment at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Texas, one of the largest churches in the nation with over 30,000 members, where he continued his child sex crimes and was fired for the abuse but not reported to police as required by law since 1971. Some of the crimes took place in Langworthy's dorm room at Southern Baptist affiliated Mississippi College. One of the Prestonwood victims is detailed in the state's case against Langworthy.
The good ole boys network needs a good ole fashioned kick in the butt.
Of Questions and Cowards (guest post by my husband)