Kate Bowler: Sexual Misconduct and the American Prosperity Gospel
Victory Christian Center in Oklahoma is shaken by allegations that five of its employees failed to report the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl by another church employee on church property. Tulsa police have accused a 20-year-old man of raping the girl in the stairwell of the megachurch Aug. 13 before a church service. Police say that youth pastors John and Charica Daugherty — the son and daughter-in-law of the church’s famous founders — and three other employees waited two weeks before notifying police.
It’s hardly the first time that prosperity megachurches have been reluctant to disclose sexual misconduct within their walls: Everyone remembers Jim Bakker’s tryst with Jessica Hahn and the downfall of the Praise The Lord empire.
But ministries have stumbled for far less. And far more.
Bishop Eddie Long and his multimillion-dollar ministry has been stalled by allegations that young men in his church were coerced into sexual acts.
The Atlanta Archbishop Earl Paulk Jr. and his Cathedral of the Holy Spirit evaded decades of lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and financial impropriety until he finally resigned in 2006. (A year later Paulk revealed he had fathered a child with his brother’s wife.)
Earlier this year, Bishop Joseph Walker of the 25,000-member Mount Zion Baptist Church in Nashville was hit with multiple lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct with congregants.