The short version of this story is that a Southern Baptist pastor was arrested for sexually assaulting a minor.
The longer version of this story is somehow even more disturbing.
A couple of months ago, Texas was considering a ban on abortions that would have subjected women — not just doctors — to the death penalty. Because that’s what it means to be “pro-life” in Texas.
A Republican state legislator, Jeff Leach, said he couldn’t support the “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act” because he felt only doctors should be punished, and the bill eventually died. Jack Graham, the pastor of a Houston megachurch, even praised Leach (who happened to be a member of his congregation) for his “courageous” decision.
But that exchange infuriated Stephen Bratton, the pastor at Grace Family Baptist Church, who had publicly testified in defense of the bill. He soon penned a lengthy rebuke of Graham for supporting a man who had prevented the passage of an anti-abortion bill — in a red state, no less — and for allowing supposed “murder” to continue unabated.
… You have used the power of the pulpit and your influence as one who is supposed to speak for the LORD to effectively endorse the murder of another 55,000 children in Texas in the next year and 110,000 over the coming two years before our legislature meets again.
Because you are not ignorant of the Word of God, you are held more accountable for your actions. You have been given much influence through the pulpit and your leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention. Much will be required from you as you stand before the Lord. Your endorsement of the shelving of HB 896 is essentially authorizing the deaths of approximately 110,000 pre-born children in this State, and you will be held accountable before God for those deaths.
Because you have endorsed this position, you have removed justice from the equation thereby giving sinful men and women no reason to discontinue the act of murder.
See, everyone? Unlike Graham, Bratton cared about children — pre-born and presumably otherwise. As a pastor, he understood the influence he had. He also understood the importance of moral integrity because he would one day stand before the Lord.
In hindsight, that was quite a statement coming from Bratton, because a month after he wrote that public denunciation against Graham, he confessed to his fellow church leaders that he had repeatedly raped an underage relative.
No wonder he wanted to protect the unborn. In a few years, they could become his victims.
The pastors at his church immediately told law enforcement, and on Friday, Bratton, the father of seven, was arrested.
Bratton is accused of abusing the child from 2013 to 2015 with inappropriate touching that escalated to “sexual intercourse multiple times a day or several times a week,” [Senior Deputy Thomas] Gilliland said.
There are no other known victims, according to church leaders.
All of this happened just as the Southern Baptist Convention had its annual gathering, with the focus being the prevention of sexual abuse within the member churches.
Grace Family Baptist Church released its own statement on Saturday saying Bratton is “no longer in a position of leadership at the church and is no longer receiving a salary.” They added that he was “excommunicated by the church” the week after he confessed his crimes to the pastors, meaning they’ve washed their hands clean of him.
All things considered, the church appeared to handle everything properly. They told authorities as soon as they knew something and they have fully cooperated in the investigation. They’ve made it clear Bratton will have nothing to do with them in the future. All that’s left is to make sure there are no victims — or anyone who had any knowledge of the abuse — in the church itself. (Even though Bratton abused a relative, it’s not clear if his authority in the church had anything to do with it.)
A little soul-searching might be useful, too. How was Bratton able to keep this hidden for so long with no one in the church knowing anything about it? Maybe they should focus on getting their own house in order before passing judgment on women who choose to have abortions.
In any case, consider the hypocrisy of how Bratton wanted women to be put to death for wanting control over their own bodies, all while he was literally raping a child “multiple times a day.” When women make what they feel is a responsible choice, Bratton wants them killed. Now he’s on the verge of pleading guilty to child sex abuse. Will he ask for leniency?
Bratton was released from custody after posting a $50,000 bond.
(Thanks to everyone for the link)