ONTD Political

Children barred from Florida church where sex offender preaches

7:42 pm - 02/28/2012
TW: child sex abuse

Darrell Gilyard, a convicted child molester, has been allowed to preach again, but his services have been deemed "adults only"

Florida church has caused outrage by turning away children from its popular Sunday services to cater to a pastor who is a registered sex offender.

The decision to allow convicted child molester Darrell Gilyard into the pulpit has angered neighbouring pastors and members of the congregation of the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist church in Jacksonville.

Gilyard, 49, is allowed no contact with minors under the terms of his release from a three-year jail sentence for abusing a 15-year-old girl at another church in 2009. As a result church leaders have made his services "adults only".

Parishioners claim security guards hired by the church have begun refusing admission to families with children, including a woman who tried to attend on Sunday with a two-year-old boy.

Instead, they say, children are directed to remain "off site" while Gilyard is preaching, and they accuse the church of dismantling its playground to keep them away.

Since Gilyard was hired last month, soon after his December release from jail, the church in Northside, one of Jacksonville's poorest, mostly black neighbourhoods, has become the scene of angry exchanges between protesters and his supporters.

A group of demonstrators calling itself the New Black Panther party clashed with churchgoers and promised to protest each time Gilyard led a service.

"We came because the children who we should be teaching and preaching cannot come out today," said Mikhail Muhammad, the group's leader.

"The black ministers in the city of Jacksonville ought to be ashamed of themselves. How can you say you're a follower of Christ but you won't stand up and speak out against this injustice?"

Despite the protests, the church appears to have benefited from Gilyard's notoriety. His first service in January drew an estimated 150 people, up from a regular attendance of only five to 10, with dozens attending the most recent service on Sunday.

Deacon Paul S Newman, chairman of the church ministry, said: "He was down on the ground, and the church was down on the ground, and we both needed to get up."

But fellow Baptist leaders have denounced Gilyard's appointment, saying he needs to apologise to his victims and the community before being allowed to preach to others.

"We love Mr Gilyard as a human being and have no personal animosity, but he is a very wicked sinner who has committed hideous crimes against women and children," said Pastor George Harvey of the nearby Mount Charity Baptist Church.

"Any minister who has done such evil should not be restored to the pulpit until his repentance is as notorious as his sin."

Before his conviction on two counts of molesting minors, Gilyard was a shining star in the Baptist community, having spent 14 years preaching to thousands at Jacksonville's Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

One mentor hailed him as one of the "most brilliant men in the pulpit" and he was also once praised by the noted evangelical Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority movement, in his video The Darrell Gilyard Story, which chronicled his rise from a teenage orphan living on the streets.

But Gilyard, once a protege of Pastor Jerry Vines, a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention, was no stranger to controversy. He was formerly pastor of a church in Texas, but left in 1991 following allegations of sexual misconduct.

When charged with sex crimes in Florida in 2008, Rev Vines issued a statement saying that he had previously forgiven Gilyard for his problems in Texas but could no longer stand by him.

"I extended forgiveness and mercy to him and evidently he trampled upon them," Rev Vines wrote at the time.

"No minister, if guilty of sexual improprieties, especially with underage children, should ever be allowed to stand behind the sacred desk again. Let the truth be found and let justice be done."

In 2004, Gilyard admitted that he had fathered a child with a woman who had accused him of raping her during a counselling session, according to court records. Gilyard has not been charged with rape.

Gilyard's public comments have been few and he has refused to speak directly with journalists, slamming a door on a television crew that confronted him at the hotel where he resides near Jacksonville International Airport.

But in a statement sent by text message to the Florida Times Union newspaper this month he remained defiant.

"Somehow I will prove that life isn't over when one has committed a crime for which he receives this heinous label," he wrote. "You don't have to languish on the fringes of society."

In earlier comments he described his church comeback as "refreshing and invigorating" but revealed that he had initially declined the offer of work because he knew that it might create controversy.

"I was scared to death," he admitted, adding that his probation officer had cleared him to work there and that he was a man reformed. "I'm happy to have that dark part of my life over," he told the paper last month.

Nobody from the church was available for comment Tuesday and a call to Gilyard's lawyer was not immediately returned.

Roger Oldham, spokesman for the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has more than 16 million members in the US, said it was not empowered to step into the dispute.

"We have taken a strong position on the protection of children and believe it to be of paramount importance in a local church setting but have no authority over the actions of any individual church," he said.


source
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chaya 29th-Feb-2012 02:12 am (UTC)
You know there is some out-of-work preacher reading this, after a long day of trying to find a placement, going, "Really, motherfuckers? This guy?"

Everything about this is awful. Also I'm weirded out by the comment in the article about how black ministers should be ashamed about this. Just black ones? White Christian church figures are exempt from sex crime related shame as they've got nothing to do with it, ever?
anjak_j 29th-Feb-2012 02:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, that comment about how black ministers should be ashamed made me side-eye this too. Because what the fuck has skin colour got to do with it? EVERY minister should be speaking out about this bullshit.
schexyschteve 29th-Feb-2012 02:16 am (UTC)


WHAT WAS YOUR THOUGHT PROCESS ON THAT DECISION, CHURCH LEADERS?
floweranza 29th-Feb-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
Hockey gifs really are endlessly handy.
spyral_path 29th-Feb-2012 02:22 am (UTC)
Not enough WTF in the world for this.
How the hell does a man who left one church after being acused of rape and admitting to fathering the acuser's child and then isconvicted of molesting children at a second church get hired by a third church? What were they thinking; I hope it wasn't that the negative publicity would boost attendance, which is what it looks like has happened.
executivehpfan 29th-Feb-2012 02:24 am (UTC)
Oh for fuck's sake. This is ridiculous.
nicosian 29th-Feb-2012 02:24 am (UTC)
I keep waiting for stories of this "morality" that preachers and church supporters hammer on, and how they have this magical extra special awesome lead on it, but frankly, I think any spiritual leader that isn't as rotten as a dead raccoon in the blazing heat on the roadside...is probably as rare as it gets.

Barring that I'd sure just like to see them OWN up to the fact they harbor sleazeballs like this and apologize over and over while leaving emotional and physical destruction in their wakes.

But not holding my breath. This however, might be good for the kids. They won't get exposed to at least one kiddyfiddling priest. Its a start. maybe more services should be adult only. *SNARK*

( I have fam who are ardent churchpologists and their take on compassion/good is just...gobsmackingly awful. the things they've said to me leave me astounded.)
armless_phelan 29th-Feb-2012 02:27 am (UTC)
What in the actual fuck. Shit like this is why I'm an atheist. Well, that and the lack of a higher power.
floweranza 29th-Feb-2012 02:32 am (UTC)
awkward_story 29th-Feb-2012 03:45 am (UTC)
MTE, Tazer.
vivid_corners 29th-Feb-2012 02:33 am (UTC)
"Despite the protests, the church appears to have benefited from Gilyard's notoriety. His first service in January drew an estimated 150 people, up from a regular attendance of only five to 10, with dozens attending the most recent service on Sunday."

Who decides to go to church specifically to sit through a sex offenders sermon?? I didn't know these people existed D:
qable 29th-Feb-2012 04:18 am (UTC)
That's the line that made me stop and stare. That's a sharp increase in attendance. Are rapists and child molesters that appealing?
cuterabbit33 29th-Feb-2012 02:34 am (UTC)
What the fuck.

I'm going to bed, and when I wake up, this better be part of some kind of dream and not actually be happening, because fuck. This is beyond awful. How can anyone think this is the right decision?
kikkyo 2nd-Mar-2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
Lol, I'm thinking the same thing right now, just want to walk away and come back later hoping I only dreamed it up. Only then it would be a question of 'wtf self, are you really this disgusting?!' *sigh*

What is wrong with people?
fuzzycthulhu 29th-Feb-2012 02:39 am (UTC)
I got about 1/4 of the way through this article, and I realized that I do not have the required amount of liquor in my system to deal with this amount of fuckery.
elobelia 29th-Feb-2012 05:38 am (UTC)
Do you know how hard it is to be a member of the community when you don't drink alcohol? It sucks, royally. Let me tell you guys, it's so hard being dry.
anjak_j 29th-Feb-2012 02:39 am (UTC)
I wish my first reaction was "What the actual FUCK?!?!"

However, "Oh lookit, another organised Christian church puts protecting child-molesting perverts first..." is a lot closer.
teleens_journal 29th-Feb-2012 04:46 pm (UTC)
This.
lickety_split OP29th-Feb-2012 02:44 am (UTC)
This needs a cut, por favor.
eacole72 Re: OP29th-Feb-2012 02:47 am (UTC)
Done. Sorry about that. I thought I'd gotten it the first go-round..
evewithanapple 29th-Feb-2012 02:45 am (UTC)
"Somehow I will prove that life isn't over when one has committed a crime for which he receives this heinous label," he wrote. "You don't have to languish on the fringes of society."

When you commit a crime like this and show no remorse? YES YOU FUCKING DO.
tabaqui 29th-Feb-2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
HELL yes. Jayzus.
baked_goldfish 29th-Feb-2012 02:47 am (UTC)
But. What?
astridmyrna 29th-Feb-2012 02:49 am (UTC)
So, as I'm reading this, I'm thinking "Well, this'll probably be one of the top ten ways a church destroys itself" and then I read this:
Despite the protests, the church appears to have benefited from Gilyard's notoriety. His first service in January drew an estimated 150 people, up from a regular attendance of only five to 10, with dozens attending the most recent service on Sunday.
bettalaylow 29th-Feb-2012 04:44 am (UTC)
Like who is made up of this 150? How does this conversation "oh that preacher that just got out of jail for molestation is preaching today let me head over right now"
effervescent 29th-Feb-2012 02:53 am (UTC)
This is disgusting. If this was my church I'd leave and never go back. Shit like this is why people who have been abused don't come forward.
tigerdreams 29th-Feb-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
While I don't really support the religious indoctrination of children, I can't help feeling like this is horribly backwards. If you need to keep a sex offender away from minors, you remove the sex offender, NOT the minors.

"Somehow I will prove that life isn't over when one has committed a crime for which he receives this heinous label," he wrote.

Oh come on. The crime you committed doesn't have a "heinous label" because of some great societal prejudice. You raped someone too young to consent, over whom you had authority. You did something heinous. That's why you have a heinous label attached to you. Don't try to pass it off like you're all ~oppressed~ and ~unjustly persecuted~, you fuck.

Edited at 2012-02-29 02:56 am (UTC)
elobelia 29th-Feb-2012 05:39 am (UTC)
DON'T LABEL ME, BRO. JUST BECAUSE I MOLESTED THAT CHILD DON'T CALL ME A CHILD MOLESTER.
lickety_split 29th-Feb-2012 02:55 am (UTC)
"We love Mr Gilyard as a human being and have no personal animosity, but he is a very wicked sinner who has committed hideous crimes against women and children," said Pastor George Harvey of the nearby Mount Charity Baptist Church.

LOL I love how hard the first half of his sentence is trying to be Christ-like and Godly, but it just completely falls apart after the comma.
lickety_split 29th-Feb-2012 02:57 am (UTC)
...Although I completely understand why.

"I'm happy to have that dark part of my life over," he told the paper last month.

WTF is this statement?
erunamiryene 29th-Feb-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
So I'm very, very confused.

They WANT kids to be able to go to hear this fucking rapist preach?
effervescent 29th-Feb-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
No, I think this is the point of the article:

The decision to allow convicted child molester Darrell Gilyard into the pulpit has angered neighbouring pastors and members of the congregation of the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist church in Jacksonville.

They're angry that he's there at all AND that kids are being barred from the church because he is.
masakochan 29th-Feb-2012 03:12 am (UTC)
"I'm happy to have that dark part of my life over," he told the paper last month.

.................WHUT.

kishmet 29th-Feb-2012 03:15 am (UTC)
People receive that 'heinous label' because THEY HAVE CHOSEN TO COMMIT HEINOUS ACTS. This isn't some injustice the universe randomly perpetrated on him wtf
ohmiya_sg 29th-Feb-2012 03:18 am (UTC)
naa_tualle 29th-Feb-2012 10:00 am (UTC)
What is that gif from?
sankaku_atama 29th-Feb-2012 04:00 pm (UTC)
Did we learn nothing from the whole Somer Thompson case, Jacksonville?

The cynic in me automatically went to "no, Jacksonville didn't."
Hell, the guy upped attendance like some sort of rubberneckers' convention. That doesn't really scream 'lesson learned' to me.

I'm sorry this is pretty much right in your back yard.
celtic_thistle 29th-Feb-2012 03:46 am (UTC)
What in the ACTUAL FUCK. Who's actually going to see this sack of shit? Listen to him speak? And he's, of course, acting like this victim in all this. Ugh. Ugh.
bettalaylow 29th-Feb-2012 04:41 am (UTC)
Some of these churches are such full of shit and most these "preachers" are just scoundrels. How many black preachers drive off in a luxury car yet preach to a congregation that's barely makes it by financially? I wish more black people would stop following some of these ass clowns.
xerox78 29th-Feb-2012 05:11 am (UTC)
The church down the block used to be the voting precinct for my area. The preacher who heads it is always talking about contributing to society and raising up black people, yet about six years ago, he quit letting his church be used as a precinct -- because he didn't like people coming in and getting his floors dirty. Now our precinct is in a small room with four voting machines and one doorway in a building with no parking lot, so everyone has to park on the street.
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