Robert Morris over facebook likes

Alex Gontar/Shutterstock Gateway Church/Facebook (Licensed)

‘Some girls at 12 are beautiful’: Pastors online rush to defend Trump evangelical advisor who admitted ‘kissing and petting’ child

‘Some young girls at 12 years old are very beautiful and sexy.’

 

Katherine Huggins

Tech

A Texas megachurch pastor who sat on former President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisory board admitted to molesting a child—and some priests in the movement are rallying to support him.

Pastor Robert Morris admitted recently to having “inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady.”

The admission came after Cindy Clemishire publicly accused Morris of first molesting her on Christmas in 1982 when she was 12 years old. She says the abuse continued until 1987 when she told a friend and later her parents what had happened.

Clemishire says she has told the story for years and attempted to sue Morris in 2005, but refused to sign an NDA as part of a settlement.

Clemishire’s allegations were most recently shared with the Wartburg Watch.

In response to Clemishire’s story being picked up by multiple outlets, Morris released a statement admitting he was “involved in inappropriate sexual behavior with a young lady,” though he did not specify with whom or admit to her being underage.

“It was kissing and petting and not intercourse, but it was wrong,” Morris said in a statement obtained by Dallas WFAA. “In March of 1987, this situation was brought to light, and it was confessed and repented of. I submitted myself to the Elders of Shady Grove Church and the young lady’s father. They asked me to step out of ministry and receive counseling and freedom ministry, which I did. Since that time, I have walked in purity and accountability in this area.” 

Morris—who previously served as a member of then-candidate Donald Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board—has maintained the backing of the leadership of the church he founded in 2000.

“Pastor Robert has been open and forthright about a moral failure he had over 35 years ago when he was in his twenties and prior to him starting Gateway Church,” the Gateway Church elders said in a statement shared by WFAA. “He has shared publicly from the pulpit the proper Biblical steps he took in his lengthy restoration process.”

According to the Wartburg Watch, Morris’ wife, Cindy, told the then-child that she “forgave her.”

On social media forgiveness of Morris has been widely non-existent.

“Having sexual contact with a 12-year-old girl is not ‘inappropriate’ or a ‘moral failure.’ It’s a crime,” wrote one person. “It should also be immediately disqualifying to be a Christian pastor. What is wrong with these people?”

“He was in 20’s. She was 12 years old. That wasn’t inappropriate behavior,” condemned someone else. “It was … a felony. Robert Morris is a pedophile and should be in prison, not behind a pulpit in church.”

But in some corners of Facebook, Morris is finding a handful of fervent supporters, especially among pastors.

In a since-deleted post that has been shared on other platforms, a pastor of a “Christian based non-denominational church” called on people “to not judge Robert Morris because of a mistake he made over 30 years ago.”

“Some young girls at 12 years old are very beautiful and sexy,” the post continued. “They don’t understand how men are made and young men don’t understand their actions are used by the devil to ruin a future God has for them!!”

It’s unclear when the pastor may have made the statement, but her Facebook page is now full of memes calling out “bitter humans” who “twist everything you say” and “fake friends.”

And under another now-deleted post by Dallas-area church saying “Pray for Pastor Robert Morris, the entire Gateway Church family, and all involved,” one person appeared to downplay the accusation.

Replying to someone’s take that the publicity for Morris is “a small taste of the justice” the victim deserves, someone else questioned if people should be talking about it: “how is it justice now if apparently the situation is years old and he went through a process of restoration?”

Others reacted to the news by fully accepting Morris’ confession.

“If he has confessed his sin and repented, God no longer remembers his sin,” one woman wrote in response to a post about the news. “Nobody is without sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. He should apologize to the woman and pay for her therapist. He also needs a therapist.”

And the comment underneath that reads: “This preacher said he had a sex addiction in his early yrs it’s not like people didn’t kn about .He got real with his wife and God about it He is forgiven.That was 50 yrs ago.”

Another Christian fan of Morris similarly downplayed the accusation but used a biblical reference to make her point.

“I didn’t molest a child, but I didn’t have a ‘perfect sinless past’ and I know that God uses my faith and love for the kingdom of Christ to do incredible miraculous things, on behalf of the kingdom of Christ,” she wrote in one comment section, later adding: “I also heard MANY great men of God in the Bible had a really horrible past. The apostle Paul used to kill Christians. He said he was the chief of sinners! Yet, he wrote most of the epistles in the New Testament that are absolutely outstanding.”

The original poster clapped back: “All these things are a consideration, but Paul did not spend his ministry life for 25 years white washing what happened and making it sound like he had just roughed a few people up when in fact he had consented to murder.”

Update 8:35 am CT, June 20: Morris resigned on Wednesday from Gateway Church.

“The elders’ prior understanding was that Morris’s extramarital relationship, which he had discussed many times throughout his ministry, was with ‘a young lady’ and not abuse of a 12-year-old child. Even though it occurred many years before Gateway was established, as leaders of the church, we regret that we did not have the information that we now have,” the church said in a statement.


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