“What I did was wrong and caused hurt to the victims and survivors who felt that their experience had been trivialized and dismissed. And I grieve that, I apologize for that, it was wrong. I would never make such a comment again.”
(Robert Downan – Houston Chronicle) A leading Southern Baptist figure on Thursday apologized for supporting a religious leader who was accused of helping conceal sexual abuses at his former church, and for making a joke that he said downplayed the severity of the allegations.
In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Al Mohler said for the first time publicly that he regrets his embrace of C.J. Mahaney, the former leader of the non-Southern Baptist group Sovereign Grace Ministries, now known as Sovereign Grace Churches.
Mahaney and his former organization were sued in 2012 by 11 people alleging that their abuses were concealed by leaders, at least one of whom was later convicted.
Mahaney has long denied the accusations, and the lawsuit was later dismissed because of the statute of limitations. Despite the high-profile and well-publicized scandal, Mohler and others continued to welcome Mahaney at religious conferences, and at one point released a statement in which they called him a “friend” with “personal integrity.”
“I believe in retrospect I erred in being part of a statement supportive of (Mahaney) and rather dismissive of the charges,” Mohler said. “And I regret that action, which I think was taken without due regard to the claims made by the victims and survivors at the time, and frankly without an adequate knowledge on my part, for which I’m responsible.”
Abuse of Faith – Houston Chronicle report