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Baptist Leader Loses Job Over Black-Eye Story

Paige Patterson is no longer president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2018 7:56 AM CDT
A Southern Baptist church is seen in this stock photo.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson is out, though not entirely. The president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary—described as one of the biggest seminaries in the world—no longer has that title, with the seminary's trustees announcing Wednesday that after a meeting that the Baptist Standard reports went until 3am, they decided to "move in the direction of new leadership." But Patterson will remain a paid president emeritus and can retire on campus grounds as "theologian-in-residence," per a statement. What got the ball rolling: A tape of a 2000 interview Patterson gave that was posted online on April 28 and spurred thousands of Southern Baptist women to call for his ouster.

The Washington Post reports the board's move will "likely come as a relief" to those women. In the tape, Patterson recounts counseling a woman whose husband was abusing her to pray for the man. She subsequently returned to him with black eyes. "She said: 'I hope you're happy.' And I said 'Yes … I’m very happy,'" because her husband had gone to church for the first time in the wake of the beating. Other comments made headlines, with a new story emerging Tuesday as the trustees met: The Post reported on a woman who says she went to Patterson after a 2003 rape and was advised by him not to report it and to forgive her alleged attacker; instead, the woman was placed on two years' probation by the seminary. The trustees' statement noted "evidence exists that Dr. Patterson has complied with reporting laws regarding assault and abuse." (Read more Southern Baptist stories.)

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