Anti-gay Baptist leader sparks outrage with domestic abuse remarks
An anti-gay Southern Baptist leader is facing calls to resign after he told a woman he was “very happy” she had suffered domestic abuse because it brought her husband back to church.
A video has also surfaced in which Paige Patterson, who has been president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for 14 years, defends lusting over underage girls.
The revelations have led more than 2,000 Southern Baptist women to sign an open letter calling on Patterson’s Texas seminary to censure him.
“The Southern Baptist Convention cannot allow the biblical view of leadership to be misused in such a way that a leader with an unbiblical view of authority, womanhood, and sexuality be allowed to continue in leadership,” the letter reads.
The 75-year-old religious leader, who was an advisor to Ted Cruz during his 2016 presidential campaign, made the comments about domestic abuse in 2000, volunteering the information during a conference interview.
The preacher was approached for help by the woman, who was being regularly attacked.
He said the right course of action was to pray quietly and be “submissive in every way” – despite also warning that she could face further violence.
“I told her, I said: ‘All right, what I want you to do is, every evening I want you to get down by your bed just as he goes to sleep, get down by the bed, and when you think he’s just about asleep, you just pray and ask God to intervene, not out loud, quietly,’ he recalled.
“And I said: ‘Get ready because he may get a little more violent, you know, when he discovers this.’ And sure enough, he did.
Listen to Patterson’s comments here:
“She came to church one morning with both eyes black. And she was angry at me and at God and the world, for that matter,” he continued.
“And she said: ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said: ‘Yes ma’am, I am.’ And I said: ‘I’m sorry about that, but I’m very happy.'”
Patterson explained that his positive reaction was down to the fact that her husband had come to their church for the first time that morning.
“Remember,” he added, “when nobody else can help, God can.
“And in the meantime,” Patterson said, talking about abusive husbands, “you have to do what you can at home to be submissive in every way that you can and to elevate him.”
The Baptist leader has also sparked controversy with a video in which he tells conference attendees about a “very attractive” girl who “wasn’t more than about 16.”
The age of consent in Texas is 17.
He explains, again without being prompted, that he had defended male teenagers who said the girl was “built,” telling the boys’ mother that they were simply being “biblical” with their lewd comment.
Patterson has a long history of anti-gay rhetoric.
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In 2004, he spoke in favour of the Southern Baptist Convention splitting from the Baptist World Alliance because of same-sex marriage.
“We can no longer afford in this particular day, when the press for ‘gay marriage’ is on, to be in an alliance of any kind with denominations which support ‘gay marriage’ in any form or fashion,” he said.
His opposition to equality was still in force in 2016, when he signed a letter stating his opposition to same-sex marriage.
And in 2011, he told a baptist association that it had to leave the seminary’s property because its member churches had broken from the seminary’s position that homosexuality is a sin.