Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Baptist pastor under scrutiny

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

The Rev. Jerry Sutton, a prominent Southern Baptist pastor who lost a bid to become president of the denomination, is now facing an upheaval in the megachurch he leads, including complaints that he spent church money on his daughter's wedding.

For nearly 21 years, Sutton has served as leader of Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church, which sits just across the highway from the Grand Ole Opry. The church hosted the "Justice Sunday II" rally in 2005, where then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and others criticized judicial activism via satellite to a national audience of evangelical Christians.

But now, some Two Rivers members are accusing Sutton of failing to abide by church rules and punishing those who question his authority.

"We have a fractured fellowship. Somehow, with the Lord's help, we need to put this church back together," Harry Jester, who's been in the congregation for 32 years, said at a church meeting July 28.

One of Sutton's former administrative assistants has also said Sutton looked at pornography on his church computer and had an affair with a church staff member — charges that the church denies. The church's executive pastor, Scott Hutchings, said human resource officials at the church investigated those charges and found no evidence that Sutton had looked at porn or had an affair.

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This may turn out to be nothing more than hardball internal Southern Baptist church politics. That is, the article later observes that church staffers are spinning these allegations as coming from some sort of disgruntled faction within the congregation.


One way or the other, this is yet another example coming out of what now appears to be a veritable avalanche of gross right-wing moral hypocrisy. If the allegations are true, then Brother Sutton is a porn-consuming, embezzling, dictatorial tyrant, totally unlike their LORD Jesus Christ. If the allegations are false, then a sizable percentage of the Two Rivers congregation is willing to lie and smear in order to get their way. No matter how you look at it, traditional Christian values are being stomped on here.

Goddamned conservative church fuckers.