Died: Disgraced Southern Baptist Leader Paul Pressler

The Texas judge behind the political strategy for the “conservative resurgence” molested and assaulted teenage boys, according to allegations eight men made in court.

The things that Paul Pressler did in private changed the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) radically and irreversibly.

In private, in a French café in New Orleans in 1967, Pressler planned the takeover of the largest Protestant group in America with Baptist college president Paige Patterson. He came up with the political strategy for the “conservative resurgence.”

In private, in an airport hotel in Atlanta in 1978, Pressler and Patterson gathered a group of ministers and established an informal network. They instructed those men to organize messengers to go to the SBC’s annual meeting and elect a president committed to using the position’s appointive powers to wrest control of the convention away from convention leaders considered too liberal, too bureaucratic, and insufficiently committed to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

When a reporter with the Baptist Standard asked the Texas appeals court judge at the time if he was meeting with groups of clergy as part of a hardball campaign to elect the next SBC president, Pressler adamantly denied it. Then he questioned what would even count as a “meeting,” given the many possible ways you could define that word.

Then he allowed he was, in fact, doing some things in private.

In private, in a sauna at a Houston country club in the late 1970s, Pressler touched a young man’s penis, according to sworn testimony given in a lawsuit that was settled last year.

And in private, around the same time, Pressler started to molest and rape a 14-year-old, telling the teenager he taught in his Southern Baptist youth group that he was “special” and their “relationship” was special but needed to be kept secret because “no …

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