As we posted earlier in the week, Paige Patterson, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and current president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is under fire after audio from 2000 resurfaced in which he gave awful advice to women married to abusive men.
He said that divorce wasn’t an option, that their first response should be prayer, that they should be aware that the violence may get worse but keep praying anyway, etc. He also put the onus on wives to change their husbands’ behavior.
It was a despicable thing to say. And what’s scary is that it wasn’t a gaffe. He totally meant it. He’s not a lone wolf, either. He was just reiterating the beliefs of Southern Baptists and other Christians who believe a woman should always be submissive to her husband.
He didn’t really apologize after all this went public. He issued a statement describing himself as a victim, and saying he would always counsel women to go to the authorities… though he insisted divorce was still not an option.
And now it’s getting worse.
First, Patterson gave an interview to the Washington Post‘s Sarah Pulliam Bailey in which he refused to apologize for those old comments because he can’t “apologize for what I didn’t do wrong.” He also referred to being “falsely accused” without elaborating.
Second, check out this tweet:
I've had many friends asking me about this, because they know I am a current student at Southwestern. I believe it is my moral obligation to give a public response. This is the best article I have read, and I agree with it fully. https://t.co/TPfhk3lqzA via @edstetzer
— Nathan Montgomery (@montynem) May 1, 2018
That’s from Nathan Montgomery, a Ph.D. student at Patterson’s Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, commenting on the controversy involving his school’s leader by linking to an article critical of Patterson.
For that tweet, Patterson fired Montgomery from his $40,000-a-year catering manager job at the school as well as revoked his $7,000-a-year tuition break.
[Montgomery], who recorded the meeting where he was fired, was told that his tweet did not exhibit loyalty to the seminary and that it did not reflect the institutional voice.
“Public disagreement does not align with Scripture,” a document outlining Montgomery’s termination states.
Atheists often joke about how certain Christian schools don’t welcome critical thinking. They require you to accept Creationism, require you to reject the existence of transgender people, etc. Well, here’s proof that they won’t even accept valid criticism coming from other Christians. How pathetic is Paige Patterson? A student of his dared to tweet criticism of his actions, and Patterson took revenge.
He didn’t even get a chance to pray by his bedside before taking the abuse…
The Washington Post notes that this firing essentially came out of nowhere:
Patterson said in the interview that Montgomery had “a long history,” but declined to provide specifics. The document that lists reasons for Montgomery’s termination cited just one previous incident, which Montgomery said was a misunderstanding over catering for Patterson’s wife. He said he has never been given any warnings.
To his credit, Montgomery is taking this all in stride.
I’m not a victim. I’m just a guy who followed his conscience and agreed with the gracious, nuanced perspective of my brother in Christ @edstetzer. Pray for me as I appeal this decision directly to @kevinueckert and the Board of Trustees. https://t.co/d9krC4NFPZ
— Nathan Montgomery (@montynem) May 5, 2018
So he’s appealing to the Board of Trustees… but the Board is already in Patterson’s back pocket so why would they side with Montgomery? Again: Patterson is a problem but he’s not alone. The entire orchard is rotten; it’s not just one bad apple.
There’s something seriously wrong with everyone who remains in this denomination.
If Patterson is still considered a respectable leader, there’s a problem with all of the followers.
His actions also cast a horrible light on graduates of his Seminary, since it’s clear they didn’t receive a real education. How can your diploma be worth anything if questioning authority isn’t even allowed at the school? They didn’t pay for an education; they paid for a man to thank God when women were beaten but stayed in their relationships, give a sermon containing sexual innuendo when referencing a girl who “wasn’t more than about 16,” and punish a fellow student for questioning his purity.
This guy’s a misogynistic bully, not a man worthy of respect.
When will Southern Baptist leaders ever get the courage to admit that?