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With the Department of Justice already involved in a lengthy investigation into allegations of abuse against the Southern Baptist Convention, congregants have little patience for poor pastoral decision making.
Now, accusations of grooming behavior toward Cory Wall, youth pastor at Fairview Baptist Church in Greer, South Carolina, have spread across social media like wildfire.
Wall has been placed on administrative leave while the church investigates what exactly happened, and confirm that the pictures shared across social media are in fact authentic.
Presently, Wall is no longer listed on the church's staff page on the Fairview church website.
Fairview Baptist Church released a statement regarding the growing situation:
"Our student pastor, Cory Wall, acknowledges that he made a poor decision and a mistake by making a sticker available that was offensive to some.
"Cory has been placed on administrative leave and will not be involved in student leadership responsibilities while this situation is being investigated. There will be a thorough and comprehensive investigation. We take this matter very seriously and want to be proactive as we move forward. Our main goal is to always make our campus a safe place for anyone who attends."
The pictures and emails in question show a sticker stating, "I ❤ hot youth pastors" that was handed out during the midweek service. Within the emails, one allegedly from the youth pastor and another from the church, comments included:
We'll... That's being handled exactly like we knew it would.— Zeb Palmer (@zebpalmer) October 7, 2022
Even *IF* this was a dumb mistake, someone who shows this severe lack of judgement should never be allowed near kids. #SBCtoo
Original https://t.co/di2cfhbPnG pic.twitter.com/73JgxU1pKV
"The sticker was meant to poke fun of the 'I Love Hot Mom' culture. In hindsight, the joke was of very poor taste and a mistake on my part. I do apologize for their distribution," the reported email from Wall explained.
This behavior has caused outrage against the church in question, as well as the SBC as a whole. Accusations of inept leadership and ignoring abuse continue in the wake of the DOJ investigation going back decades.
This is another in a long line of incidents where a youth pastor was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching teenagers about the Bible and Jesus not only failed, but broke the trust of those he was supposed to have served.
James Lasher is a Copy Editor for Charisma Media
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