Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pastor Bernie Johnson wants forgiveness

Christa Brown write the blog, Stop Baptist Pedophiles. I think highly of her work, highly enough in fact that I list her blog on my recommended reading list in the sidebar. Christa posted on Pastor Bernie Johnson, a Baptist minister of music convicted of indecent exposure. He was caught on video masturbating while sexually harassing a female coworker. Pastor Johnson wrote Christa asking  that she take down her post. Christa refused, and for good reasons too. Bernie Johnson should not be working in a church because what he did was base and profane and should be enough of a behavioral indicator to keep him from working in any position of influence.

“Bernie Johnson allegedly exposed himself, openly masturbated and fondled a co-worker on the church property during his tenure as a staff member of First Baptist Church of Hamshire. The co-worker at the Hamshire church, Charline Hargraves, initiated the charges…. Her charges were substantiated by the evidence caught on videotape of the minister committing sexual acts on the church property."

Bernie Johnson wants to move on, but Christa stand in his way. Her post is the number 1 hit on the name Bernie Johnson (soon to be number two, sorry!). Bernie Johnson pleads,

I can’t make you do anything. I can only ask that you delete all the material on me so that my family and I can move on without further pain to anyone. When will enough be enough? 7 years, 14 years, 50 years? I am most grateful to the Lord God Almighty that His grace is ever present, His mercy is rich and new every morning, and that He does have a place for me in ministry now and in heaven later.

Bernie Johnson may deserve forgiveness, but I would expect forgiveness to come from his victim. As far as I can tell, he as not been granted forgiveness and is unlikely to given his spinning of his conviction in his favor. But let’s say he is forgiven, then what? Do we forget what he has done? Or do hold a public mirror up so others see the real story behind the good face he is trying to establish for himself. I say keep the story up, let him prove himself by keeping out of trouble for the rest of his life. And just to be clear, if he wants to work as a minister, Christa’s post is the first thing his new church should see. If he’s not willing to live with that, then perhaps he should seek employment as a gardener.

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