by Larry Smith
Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, I cannot avoid commenting on the latest piece of religious nonsense, in which a convicted sex offender has formed a church with some 200 enthusiastic congregants endorsed by a bevy of fellow pastors.
Former Pilgrim Baptist Church clergyman Randy Fraser - who committed statutory rape with a minor (who was a member of his church), and whose wife admitted on the witness stand that she and her husband had sex frequently in the church office - is now pastor of the brand new Palms of Victory Kingdom Ministry.
Fraser was sentenced in 2011 to a three-year jail term for abusing his position of trust by having sex in the church with a 16-year-old girl he was counselling. At the time, Magistrate Carolita Bethel said she didn’t believe a word Fraser said.
During a subsequent appeal against his sentence, Justice Anita Allen described Fraser as a “sexual predator” whose behaviour was “contemptible” and deserving of the "severest condemnation". On the other hand, Fraser thought his treatment was “unreasonable and unjust”.
After he was released from prison last November, Pilgrim Baptist Church trustee board chairman Renee Glinton said Fraser was unrepentant and asked, "how can you allow a sexual predator to come back and lead your church?”
Well, apparently there are many Bahamians - including clergymen - who have no qualms about that.
In perhaps the ultimate example of doublespeak ever in the Bahamas, Fraser launched his new ministry this week with the slogan “Walking Victoriously”. He was supported by Rev T G Morris, Rev Carl Rahming, Rev Philip McPhee and Bishop Walter Hanchell.
If Fraser had any conscience or remorse he would not be referring to his re-emergence in a pastoral role as a “victory”. And if the Christian Council had the slightest connection with reality they would be loudly condemning this blatant attempt to make wrong right.
Unfortunately, the Christian Council is interested only in hanging, homosexuality and gambling. They have strong black and white views on these issues, but are ambivaldent about "pastoral misjudgement".