The Imperfect Church
There was a link on facebook to a tasteful story last week. The incident took place last September. The first page of google does not report, with one exception, what has happened in the last year. As some people say, G-d is in the details. This is one story where it may be the devil in the details.
First, here is a TV station report on the initial incident. The link has a video report, including an interview with the pastor’s son.
A gay Gibson County couple said they were assaulted when they tried to attend church services at the Grace Fellowship Church in Fruitland last Wednesday. “I went over to take the keys out of the ignition and all the sudden I hear someone say ‘sick’em,’” said Gibson County resident, Jerry Pittman Jr. Pittman said the attacked was prompted by the pastor of the church, Jerry Pittman, his father.
“My uncle and two other deacons came over to the car per my dad’s request. My uncle smash me in the door as the other deacon knocked my boyfriend back so he couldn’t help me, punching him in his face and his chest. The other deacon came and hit me through my car window in my back,” said Pittman. He said bystanders did not offer assistance. He said the deacon yelled derogatory homosexual slurs, even after officers arrived. He said the officers never intervened to stop the deacons from yelling the slurs. Pittman said neither he nor Lee were allowed to press charges while at the church.
“If I was on the scene I would not have allowed that. The deputy should not have allowed it if he did,” said Gibson County Sheriff Chuck Arnold. “I haven’t talk to him but that would be out of character for my deputy to say unless they were causing a problem themselves.”
Friday, the couple filed assault charges against Deacons Billy Sims and Eugene McCoy. Pittman pressed additional charges against his father and Deacon Patrick Flatt. Pastor Pittman’s attorney contacted ABC 7 Eyewitness News by phone and said she had no comment and demanded we not contact the pastor. All parties are due in court October 4.
At first glance, that looks pretty gnarly. When you read the comments, the waters start to get muddy.
I’m openly gay and from this area. I received the following info from pro-gay confidants in the area.
There’s a lot more to this story than it appears in this story. The son and bf had been attending the church for 2 yrs without incident. Things got ugly between father and son when the son reported to his stepmother than his father was cheating on her. Divorce proceedings ensued (significant that, in the event the church folded, the church property reverted to the father’s name and would be part of the divorce) and the son still showed up for services on the morning in question. It couldn’t be proven that the father yelled ‘sick em’, but it became clear that, when the elders approached the son/bf to tell them to leave, the son lashed out first. Unfortunately for him this makes it self-defense in the eyes of the law and he killed his own case. Regardless, it’s also pretty clear that the elders used seriously un-Christian words – fag etc – against them in this incident, so shame on them. Can only speculate about the son’s motivation for showing up where he knew he was no longer welcome, but it’s not likely his main purpose was to worship.
This church and its founder/members are notoriously low class people. In the words of my mother when we discussed this, “What do you expect from trash?”
The story does not end there. WBBJ has another report, Gibson County Pastor Charged With Stealing. It seems as though the estranged wife of Mr. Pittman heard he was stealing from her employer. He was arrested on the charges. Chamblee54 does not know what happened to either case.
Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.