In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, the senior pastor of a thriving evangelical megachurch in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit.The hypocrisy of this repeating story is becoming laughable. But it also speaks to the honesty of these guys.
A month ago, the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Douglas County preached to his 2,100-member congregation about integrity and grace in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard drugs-and-gay-sex scandal.
Now, the 54-year-old Barnes joins Haggard as a fallen evangelical minister who preached that homosexuality was a sin but grappled with a hidden life.
You'll note that neither Haggard nor Barnes actually came out voluntarily and admitted their sexual orientation. They had to be threatened.
Palmer said the church got an anonymous call last week from a person concerned for the welfare of Barnes and the church. The caller had overheard a conversation in which someone mentioned "blowing the whistle" on evangelical preachers engaged in homosexuality, including Barnes, Palmer said.And, well, if he's preaching that homosexuality is a sin and then makes an annual affirmation to the church elders that he is living by his own teachings, both publicly and privately, that would make him... a liar. Just as Ted Haggard is.
Palmer met with Barnes, who confessed. At an emergency meeting Thursday, a board of elders accepted Barnes' resignation after he admitted "sexual infidelity," violating the church's code of conduct. Church leaders also must affirm annually that they are "living the moral and ethical teachings of Scripture in my public and private life."
Shouldn't the fundamentalist followers of these lying hypocrites consider that the supposed special connection to some supreme deity for which they were spreading the word is just as mythical or as false as the lives they were leading?
And, apparently, it's not going to end with Barnes.
One prominent local evangelical leader, Denver Seminary president Craig Williford, predicted additional pastors would fall in the wake of the Haggard scandal.I suspect they are far from "done" for if there is anything which comes to the fore here it is the pattern of dishonest condemnation of a segment of society in an effort to hide their own social behaviour. In the words of William Shakespeare (Hamlet): "The lady doth protest too much, methinks."
"When one person gets caught or confesses, it's almost like others get a new courage
to face this dark side of their private lives," Williford said. "Not only that, but the person who is complicit with the pastor will come forward. We may not be done."
Had it not been for the dishonesty and the negative social connotation which these characters visited on, not just one, but several social groups, the fact that their private engagements should so impact the rest of their lives might be considered a tragedy.
It isn't. These clowns have brought this on themselves. Most people could not care less about the sexual orientation of Barnes or Haggard. It is the misrepresentation of facts which they understood and could have corrected which offends the average onlooker. It is abuse of their privileged platform and they deserve to suffer what they have wrought on others. That is the fundamentalist Christian way, isn't it? An eye for an eye.
It should serve as a warning to all who would suffer these fools and their kind. It seems the louder, more vitriolic and demanding the strident voice from the pulpit becomes, the likelihood increases that it is intended to serve as camouflage for the speaker's truth.
I leaves one to wonder when and how many others will fall from the rosta of the fundamentalist Christian movement whilst revealing their failure to live up to church dogma while they set out to destroy the lives of "non-believers" or "sinners".
It will be interesting to see what this guy is trying to hide.