Christian clergy involvement in sex scandals is nothing new
by Robert Randle
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Although Biblical teachings represent the highest of spiritual and moral principles, yet and still, the earthen vessels who disseminate these precious truths are often flawed, surrendering to weakness of the flesh, temptation and lust. Consequently, when another member of the clergy falls from grace and is ostracized by news outlets and the public is outraged and incensed by such conduct, yet, this should not be all that surprising because these things have been going on for quite some time; as in the following, according to WIKIPEDIA:
1. One of the most famous evangelist scandals involved Canadian-born Aimee Semple McPherson in the 1920s, who allegedly had an extramarital relationship and faked her own death as a cover.
2. Lonnie Frisbee was an American closeted gay Pentecostal evangelist and self-described "seeing prophet" in the late 1960s and 1970s and was involved in the rise of two worldwide denominations (Calvary Chapel and the Vineyard Movement). Both churches later disowned him because of his active homosexuality, removing him first from leadership positions, then ultimately firing him. He eventually died from AIDS in 1993.
3. Billy James Hargis was a prolific author and radio evangelist. Hargis formed American Christian College in 1971 in order to teach fundamentalist Christian principles. However, a sex scandal erupted at the College, involving claims that Hargis had had sex with male and female students. Hargis was forced out of American Christian College's presidency as a result. Further scandals erupted when members of Hargis' youth choir, the "All American Kids", accused Hargis of sexual misconduct as well. The college eventually closed down in the mid-1970s. Hargis denied the allegations publicly.
4. In 1986, evangelist Jimmy Swaggart began on-screen attacks against fellow televangelists Marvin Gorman and Jim Bakker. He uncovered Gorman's affair with a member of Gorman's congregation, and also helped expose Bakker's infidelity (which was arranged by a colleague while on an out-of-state trip). These exposures received widespread media coverage. Gorman retaliated in kind by hiring a private investigator to uncover Swaggart's own adulterous indiscretions with a prostitute. Swaggart was subsequently forced to step down from his pulpit for a year and made a tearful televised apology in February 1988 to his congregation, saying "I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God's forgiveness." Swaggart was caught again by California police three years later in 1991 with another prostitute, Rosemary Garcia, who was riding with him in his car when he was stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road. When asked why she was with Swaggart, she replied, "He asked me for sex. I mean, that's why he stopped me. That's what I do. I'm a prostitute."
5. Around that same time PTL founder Jim Bakker had an affair with Church secretary Jessica Hahn, and he ventually had to step down from heading the organization as well as getting a divorce from wife Tammie Faye Bakker.
6. Bob Moorehead, pastor of the Overlake Christian Church from the 1970s to June, 1998 was arrested in July, 1996 on a charge of indecent exposure in a public restroom in Daytona Beach, Florida. He stepped down amid allegations of molestation of adult members during baptism and wedding ceremonies that went back up to 20 years earlier.
7. Roy Clements was a prominent figure within British evangelical christianity. In 1999, he revealed he was in a homosexual relationship with another man, resigned his pastorship, and separated from his wife.
8. John Paulk (2000) is a former leader of Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conference and former chairman of the board for Exodus International North America. His claimed shedding of homosexuality is also the subject of his autobiography Not Afraid to Change. In September 2000, Paulk was found and photographed in a Washington, D.C. gay bar, and accused by opponents of flirting with male patrons at the bar. Later questioned by gay rights activist Wayne Besen, Paulk denied being in the bar despite photographic proof to the contrary. Initially, Focus on the Family’s Dr. James Dobson, sided with Paulk and supported his claims. Subsequently, Paulk, who himself had written about his habit of lying while he openly lived as a homosexual, confessed to being in the bar, but claimed he entered the establishment for reasons other than sexual pursuits. Paulk retained his Board seat for Exodus, however he did so while on probation. Paulk did not run again for chairman of the board of Exodus when his term expired.
9. Paul Crouch is the founder and president of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, or TBN, the world's largest evangelical Christian television network, as well as the former host of TBN's flagship variety show, Praise the Lord. In September 2004, the Los Angeles Times published a series of articles raising questions about the fundraising practices and financial transparency of TBN, as well as the allegations of a former ministry employee, Enoch Lonnie Ford, that he had a homosexual affair with Crouch during the 1990s. The Times spoke with several sources that claimed that other evangelists such as Benny Hinn, Jack Hayford, and Paul's son Matthew were aware that an affair had taken place. TBN denied the allegations, claiming that Ford's claims were part of an extortion scheme and that the Times was a "left-wing and anti-Christian newspaper" for publishing the articles. In 2005, Ford submitted to and passed a lie detector test on the ION Television program Lie Detector. NOTE: Of course, a pathological liar as well as others can pass a Lie Detector screening.
10. Ted Haggard (2006) was the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado and was the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) from 2003 until November 2006. In 2006 it was alleged that Haggard had been regularly visiting a male prostitute who also provided him with methamphetamine. Haggard admitted his wrongdoing and resigned as pastor of New Life church and as president of the NAE. In January 2009, Haggard admitted to a second homosexual relationship with a male church member on CNN-TV and other national media, and when asked, would not directly answer a question about his other possible homosexual relationships.
11. Paul Barnes is the founder and former senior minister of the evangelical church Grace Chapel in Douglas County, Colorado. He confessed his homosexual activity to the church board, and his resignation was accepted on December 7, 2006. He started the church in his basement and watched it reach a membership of 2,100 in his 28 years of leadership. This scandal was notable because it was similar to Ted Haggard's (above), it occurred in the same state (Colorado) and around the same time (late 2006).
12. Lonnie In 2006, Latham, the senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church and a member of the powerful Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee, was arrested for "offering to engage in an act of lewdness" with a male undercover police officer.
13. Earl Paulk (2007) was the founder and head pastor of Chapel Hill Harvester Church in Decatur, Georgia from 1960 until the 1990s. A number of women from the congregation came forward during the 1990s claiming that Paulk had sexual relations with them. Some of these claims have subsequently been proven correct.
14. Coy Privette (2007) is a Baptist pastor, conservative activist, and politician in the U.S. state of North Carolina. Privette was president of the Christian Action League and a prominent figure in North Carolina moral battles. In 2007, Privette resigned as president of North Carolina's Christian Action League and from the Board of Directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, following revelations on July 19 that he had been charged with six counts of aiding and abetting prostitution.
15. Joe Barron (2008), one of the 40 ministers at Prestonwood Baptist Church, one of the largest churches in the United States with 26,000 members, was arrested on May 15, 2008 for solicitation of a minor after driving from the Dallas area to Bryan, Texas, in order to allegedly engage in sexual relations with what he thought to be a 13 year-old girl he had met online. The "girl" turned out to be an undercover law enforcement official.
16. Penn Bullock and Brandon K. Thorp of the Miami New Times reported on May 4, 2010, that on April 13, 2010, George Alan Rekers, a far-right Christian leader was encountered and photographed at Miami International Airport returning from an extended overseas trip with a twenty-year-old "rent boy", or gay male prostitute, known as "Lucien" (later identified as Jo-Vanni Roman). Given his opinion on homosexuals and homosexual behavior, the scandal surrounds Rekers' decision to employ a homosexual escort as a traveling companion, and how that runs contrary to Rekers' public stances on such issues. Rekers claimed that Lucien was there to help carry Rekers' luggage as Rekers had allegedly had recent surgery, yet Rekers was seen carrying his own luggage when he and Lucien were spotted at the airport. On his blog, Rekers denied having sex with the man. In subsequent interviews, Roman said Rekers had paid him to provide nude massages daily, which included genital touching.
17. In 2002, Bernard Francis Law, Cardinal and Archbishop of a Boston, MA Archdiocese covered up allegations about pedophile priests in his parish.
18. In September 2010 several civil complaints were filed against Eddie L. Long by men that stated Mr. Long used his position as the church leader to entice or coerce the men into consensual sexual relationships in exchange for money, travel and goods. At a press event on September 26, 2010 Mr. Long stated he would fight the civil complaints in court and would not comment on the allegations.
COMMENTARY: Regarding the egregious allegations against pastor Eddie Long, “SILENCE IS NOT GOLDEN” and whether his attorney advises it or not, he should vigorously deny these baseless charges; assuming they are untrue. As a matter of common sense, it is not appropriate to give gifts and pay for clothing and travel for young males who are not your children or relatives, without arousing suspicion that something “JUST AIN’T QUITE RIGHT.” There are others, past and present, such as Civil Rights icon MLK, who was the target of FBI surveillance, and who methodically gathered incriminating evidence of sexual impropriety under the orders of Director J. Edgar Hoover; and “The Dreamer’s” successor, Rev. Jesse Jackson, had an illicit affair and fathered a ‘love-child’ between 1997 and 1999. Elijah Mohammad, founder of the Nation of Islam fathered several children from teenage females at the mosque and then there was the scandal of Rev. Henry J. Lyons.
I wonder what Pastor T.D. Jakes of “The Potter’s House” In Dallas, TX has to say about this latest blemish on the pulpit/altar? Be that as it may, it is unlikely that such behavior could occur without some other member in the Church not being aware of these things going on because they don’t just happen in a vacuum. It is also hard to keep a “SECRET” to yourself because almost everyone is almost bursting to tell another person their private business; and who doesn’t enjoy hearing a little juicy gossip every now and then, especially if it is all about someone else?
So, what is the responsibility of a Christian upon learning about a fellow believer who is not living according to the law of “holiness” required of those saved by ‘grace’? The following Scriptures are offered for consideration:
Galatians 6: 1
Brethren, if a man is overtaken (caught) in a trespass (sin), you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
James 5: 19-20
Brethren, if any among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
NOTE: See also 1 Corinthians 5: 11; 2 Thessalonians 3: 6.
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