A pastor is doing damage control after he inadvertently posted an old misogynistic sermon on YouTube without realizing what a train wreck it was. And the more he tries to hide his past, the more it’s blowing up in his face.
The pastor in question is Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church in California (a.k.a. “Christian Hogwarts“). If that name sounds familiar, it’s likely because, in 2019, he declared that God was so angry about Donald Trump‘s (first) impeachment that He would ensure Trump received a second term. It was guaranteed, Vallotton said, because “the Lord wants it.”
And then, last November, Trump lost. To my shock, Vallotton actually posted an apology online:
… I [prophesied] that he would not be impeached, and the fact that he would win another term. And I was completely wrong. I take full responsibility for being wrong.… I have always believed that when you make a public declaration, that if you get it wrong you have to make a public apology.
He got a lot of praise for that apology… but he also got a lot of backlash from his right-wing followers. Vallotton, however, stuck to his guns and said apologizing was the right thing to do.
I’m just kidding. He deleted that post, claimed there was a possibility the election results would be overturned due to fraud, and said he wanted to “wait until the official vote count is complete” before reposting the apology.
He never reposted that apology. But deleting things that make him look bad appears to be a running theme in his life.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, Vallotton posted an old sermon from 2014 on YouTube. But later that day, a TikTok user named Rachel Spears posted a compilation of excerpts from that sermon… and holy hell, Vallotton came off looking awful.
In that minute-long collection of clips, we hear Vallotton say the following:
- “Girls, I’m just going to say this to you: guys are stimulated sexually through the eyes, women through the touch.” To anyone who dares to say otherwise, he jokingly responds, “Whatever, you’re a freak.”
- “If it’s not for sale, girls, don’t advertise… If you fish with shark bait, you’re gonna catch sharks.”
- “Remember: There’s always someone with a better body than yours.”
- Speaking of a girl who attended a ministry program he ran for troubled youth, he says “My most promiscuous girl there who was letting everybody grab her on the basketball court.”
- “I’ve seen thousands of people’s virginity restored. I have hundreds of emails about girls’ hymens being restored.”
In short, we have a simplified version of sexual stimulation that many people would say is false. We have slut-shaming and dress code policing. We have him referring to his “most promiscuous girl” based on the fact that boys are grabbing her (possibly without consent). We have him comparing curvy women to bait without noting that the “sharks” in his analogy would, by definition, be predators. And we have him lying about restoring virginity, as if that’s a real thing, while claiming that a sealed hymen is a fair measure of virginity… which is just not accurate.
Spears, a Christian herself, says in that video that she posted the clips because too many young Christian women are “being fed this horseshit” and she doesn’t want them going through the sort of Purity Culture environment she experienced.
Within days of her TikTok video going up, that old sermon was taken down from YouTube. Vallotton was clearly plotting out some next steps and hoping no one else could take excerpts from his speech. In fact, in a subsequent statement, he wrote:
… Someone who I do not know created a short, 57-second video using select soundbites from that teaching, and posted the clip on social media. Understandably, anyone who saw that short video would be confused as the full context was completely missing. My team took down the original video from YouTube so that we could review it.
He’s implying that the one-minute TikTok video twists his words in a way that’s unfair, and he doesn’t want to give people the wrong idea, so he pulled the video down for the time being.
I guess he didn’t realize that there was another copy of the video online in a place that’s not accessible to the public.
Readers: I got my hands on it.
Here’s the amazing thing: It was a 33-minute speech, most of which is a long, drawn-out, made-up story meant to deliver a single conclusion: It’s worth waiting for marriage to give up your virginity. It’s only in the final few minutes, just before a closing prayer, that Vallotton attempts to sum up his message for the sake of time but ends up going into Word Vomit Mode.
Everything you see in that TikTok video? It occurs in the span of three minutes.
So here’s that three-minute clip — in context — as delivered to Bethel School of Worship students in 2014. (All you need to know is that Vallotton has just finished retelling the Be-a-Virgin story which he says he once told to a group of 37 students who had to listen to him as part of a program for troubled youth.)
Update: Vallotton is trying to remove the video once again, so I’m embedding a shortened Twitter version below:
He talks for 35 minutes. But the relevant portion takes up all of 3 minutes at the very end.
Because of Twitter limits, here it is in two minutes. pic.twitter.com/ud7RNeojpw
— Hemant Mehta (@hemantmehta) September 29, 2021
What did we learn from that? Nothing we didn’t already know from the TikTok video. Spears accurately captured the worst things he said while sparing us from his weird little boob dance.
After taking down the sermon, though, Vallotton posted a new discussion about virginity along with his wife and two Purity Culture advocates that attempts to provide more context to what he says… but ultimately confirms every suspicion we already had. He also refers to the penis as a “dinky” because he’s completely unable to talk about sex in a mature way.
It’s telling that Vallotton’s so desperate for people to hear his words in context, yet he took down the full sermon so people couldn’t judge his words for themselves. (Oh well. Problem solved! You’re welcome.)
But that’s the thing about Purity Culture: There’s no nice way to spread those Christian beliefs without falling into harmful generalizations, sexist language, and rejecting the very notion of healthy positive sex that occurs outside of marriage. People like Vallotton can’t bring themselves to admit other people have healthy and active sex lives outside of marriage, and there’s no reason to be ashamed of it. It’s abstinence or HORROR. There are no other options. Anything that occurs on the road to sex is also prohibited; it’s all temptation that must be avoided at all costs.
We know these beliefs lead to unhealthy sexual repression, a deeply misogynistic culture, and a church environment in which sexual assault victims can’t even tell anyone what happened to them because they’ll be seen as the instigators (“Well, what were you wearing?”)… and instead of acknowledging that he was just wrong seven years ago, Vallotton wants the world to know he hasn’t learned a damn thing since 2014 when it comes to these issues.