Photo via Miami New Times

A church in Jacksonville, Florida is coming under fire for its controversial decision to ban children from its church services.

According to a local Jacksonville news affilate, Christ Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church has banned children from attending Sunday services because their new pastor, Darrell Gilyard, is a registered sex offender and cannot have contact with children.

In 2009 Gilyard plead guilty to lewd conduct and lewd molestation of two underage girls. While he was the pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church Gilyard molested a 15-year-old girl and sent a lewd text message to another. Under the conditions of his plea agreement, Gilyard cannot have “unsupervised contact with children under 18 years old,” and his new church has taken extraordinary steps to help Gilyard stick to the terms of his deal.

Despite the seriousness of his offense, Gilyard’s return to the pulpit was swift. After being released from jail on December 28, he resumed preaching in January, and  told reporters he hopes he can move past this incident and continue with his work.

“Somehow I will prove that life isn’t over when one has committed a crime for which he receives this heinous label,” Gilyard told a reporter, ironically through text message. “You don’t have to languish on the fringes of society.”

While I believe in forgiveness, banning children from church in order to welcome a pedofile into the fold is not only creepy, but it’s downright shameful.

What do you think? What kind of message is Gilyard’s church sending to its youth?

  • Val

    After seeing so many people defend RKelly on a previous post I am totally not surprised by this. It seems that many people will protect and defend a pedophile before they will defend children.

  • girlformerlyknownasgrace

    Devil’s adovocate: Im not too sure how this is so different from R. Kelly being invited to a funeral (although I am sure someone will).

  • Alicia

    EXTREMELY sad.

  • Anthony

    Val, I couldn’t agree with you more. Our community does not do a very good job protecting our children. Have we so much trauma being Black in America that we will sacrifice our children so that a pedophile can continue to preach in the pulpit? This man sexually assaulted children, and that church removes children, denying them the chance to worship, just to make run for a sexual abuser? I love my Black people, we we are in need of some serious therapy.

  • Lady T

    hmmm…..when the church is filled with single fat desparate women, I can definitely see how this happened.

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