by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.
The Chairman of the Deacons approached me about a rumor floating around the church during my tenure as an Arkansas Pastor from 1977-1983. The rumor: the pastor is engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with girls between the ages of 13-17. Although astonished by the deacon’s inquiry, I hurriedly and truthfully assured my deacons that there was not one iota of truth to the rumor. I then asked the deacons the source and basis of the rumor. The source of the rumor was the church’s janitor. His evidence; “feminine napkins” he often had to discard from the trash can in my office after youth choir rehearsal.
It later dawned upon me after I watched my wife shed my newborn baby’s diaper in my office trash can, that the 85 year old church janitor was apparently misconstruing the smallest pamper made with a feminine napkin. Yet the rumor continued until every girl in the youth choir (that I also accompanied and directed) was asked, had the pastor inappropriately touched her in his office or elsewhere. It was only after every single young lady (without failure) denied any inappropriate contact or even ever coming inside my office alone, that the rumor died. Had just one of those girls claimed I touched her inappropriately, I would have been in serious trouble and my pastorate and freedom would have probably come to a screeching halt.
My point is, that I know what it feels like to be falsely accused. My salvation rested in the fact that the allegation was coming exclusively from an 85 year old man rather than a 14 year old girl. There was not one teenage girl making such an allegation, let alone nine. However, if one of the girls would have made such an allegation, she deserved to be heard. Their allegations must had been taken seriously. And although, I believe in the presumption of innocent until proven guilty, I answered any and all questions from parents, church members, church deacons and leaders. And yes, I would have gladly answered questions from news reporters or law authorities if I had been asked.
Judge Moore will not answer questions from the media on this matter and that’s troubling for a man who claims innocence. Moore has literally walked away without answering questions from reporters asking probing questions on this matter.
The probability that all nine ladies are lying is highly unlikely. The 14 year old told a couple of people about the sexual assault back at the time it happened. That lends credibility to her allegation.
If the Alabama voters elect Judge Roy Moore, the message that they are sending to teenage girls is, if an older man denies an accusation, his word automatically trumps theirs and that’s tragic.
For the sake of our teenage daughters, Alabama please don’t disregard, discount and devalue the personhood and the voices of our daughters. The male and female voice should weigh equally in any matter. But with Judge Moore refusing to answer any and all questions related to this matter, we simply can’t get his account on record. Therefore, Alabama voters, you should give the benefit of the doubt to the female. History will judge you harshly if your vote is nine ladies corroborated lies on Judge Moore beginning 35 years ago. Unbelievable Alabama and you know it. Now show it.
Alabama, you are famous for being on the wrong side of history in the not too distant past. Please don’t make the same mistake on this issue and side with the oppressor rather than the oppressed.
William Dwight McKissic, Sr. is a prominent African-American Southern Baptist minister from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He is the founder and current senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas. He is a proud husband, father of four and has 12 grandchildren. You can read more from his blog at http://dwightmckissic.wordpress.com/