A Jacksonville, Fla., Baptist church has banned children from Sunday services so that its new pastor, a confessed, convicted and known child abuser and rapist who’s legally barred from being anywhere near kids, can preach the word from its pulpit.
Yes—you read that correctly: Darrell Gilyard, who pleaded guilty to charges of lewd conduct and lewd molestation after admitting to molesting a 15-year-old and sending a racy text message to another while he preached at Shiloh Baptist Church, is tossing up praises from the pulpit of the Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church, where they’d prefer to keep kids out of the pews over denying their pulpit to a registered sex offender who also admitted to raping a woman during a church counseling session.
And if that confuses you as much as it confuses me, let me just go on ahead and jack you all the way up with this: Ever since Gilyard started preaching at Christ Tabernacle, attendance, which started at just 10 members when he took the job in January (just weeks after he was released from a three-year prison bid) has skyrocketed to between 150 and 200. And church members are supporting this man and arguing in court that minors should be allowed in the sanctuary while Gilyard is preaching because they’ll be accompanied by parents and other adults—thus safe from a convicted child molester and rapist.
Again, I hit you with the electronic side-eye and raise you a Long Blank Stare AND Dead Fish Eyes. In an age where the entire Catholic church stays under fire for countless cases in which churches are accused of allowing rampant sexual molestation of children by their priests, and Jerry Sandusky can go for years allegedly raping little boys despite that Penn State University officials, coaches and workers were told he was doing it, are there really good church folk still willing to put children in reach of a man who admitted to molesting children and raping women under his pastoral care? Really? I mean, I’m all for forgiving and turning the other cheek and all that good Christian stuff, but does God really require us to be deaf, blind and dumb when it comes to putting our children in the care of “men of the cloth” who admit they sexually abuse women and children?
I tell you this much: Darrell Gilyard must be a helluva pastor that the members of Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church insist on going so hard on his behalf—booting babies so he can give adults spiritual instruction. But I’d be doggone if my butt was anywhere in those pews to find out just what’s so special about a convicted sex offender’s preaching—especially if his actions led a court to decide it’s not safe for my kids to be there with me. How about you?