Pastor at a homophobic church had an ‘affair’ with an underage boy

Pastor at a homophobic church had an ‘affair’ with an underage boy July 14, 2019
Images via YouTube

AUTHORITIES in Florence, Alabama, believe that more children may have been abused by John Martin, above, lead pastor of Lighthouse Baptist Church, and have asked possible victims to come forward with any information they may have about him.

According to this report, Martin is currently being held in the Lauderdale County jail with bail set at $60,000. He was arrested last month after confessing to four counts of sexual abuse involving one youngster.

Angie Hamilton, an assistant District Attorney in Lauderdale County, said more victims could be involved.

We have identified several potential victims. We believe other charges are forthcoming.

The 41-year-old pastor confessed to his congregation from the pulpit, after telling his wife. He called the abuse an “affair”, court records say. Before being arrested, he’d checked himself into a psychiatric unit and turned over two guns.

Martin’s victim was abused several times, at the pastor’s his home and on a road trip, and he also sent the boy explicit text messages, court records reveal.

Martin worked in other states before joining the Florence church in January 2010.

A review that appeared on the church’s Facebook page which has since been deleted

Lighthouse “is an extremely socially conservative church”, according to its website, which, along with its Facebook page, has now been taken down.

It encouraged men:

To dress in shirts and ties, while our ladies wear modest skirts and dresses.

Among its core belief is  that “God disapproves of and forbids divorce”, and it maintains a radical pro-life position.

We reject any teaching that abortions of pregnancies due to rape, incest…or the physical or mental well being of the mother are acceptable.

The church also has an extremely negative view of same-sex relationships.

We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery, and pornography are sinful perversions of God’s gift of sex.

The website also said:

We are proud to have Pastor Martin and his family with us. Since Pastor Martin came to Lighthouse, we have seen a growth that can only come from God. Pastor and his family would love for you to visit Lighthouse Baptist Church very soon!

In a YouTube account under his name, Martin posted several videos with his wife and kids. Since his arrest all videos on his “Random Things” channel have been removed.

Martin also appears to be a teacher for VIP Kids, an online portal where he teaches English to Chinese-speaking kids.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


TRENDING AT PATHEOS Nonreligious
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Lurker111

    Isn’t it about time to automate the reporting of these stories? You wouldn’t even need true artificial-intelligence software to do it. The elements of this story are all cliche.

    Alas.

  • Jim Jones

    Another nail in the coffin of this evil religion.

  • rubaxter

    It’s become expected behavior, at this point.

  • rubaxter

    Just a tote board for the week, month, year by commercial franchise/cult branch/diocese.

  • rubaxter

    If’n he’d just been smart enough to have remembered the standard operation procedure and kept his hood on at all times …

  • John Calhoun

    Please change the wording in the headline and article. Stop calling these victims “underage” They’re children.

  • Mike Panic
  • Matt G

    “God disapproves of and forbids divorce”, said Martin’s wife as she drove to meet with her lawyer to initiate divorce proceedings. Where there is conservative religion, there is sexual abuse.

  • rubaxter

    I’m guessing he’ll have no need for that brandie-new pick’em up, so she might as well take it with her.

  • Matt G

    I feel the same about pedophilia. The crime is child rape or child sodomy – let’s call it what it is.

  • Wisdom, Justice, Love

    The legal issue is whether the victims have passed puberty. “Underage” covers both. But I understand your point. Enough “political correctness” for theists.

  • Trevor Miller

    He didn’t have an “affair”, he raped a child. Get it right.

  • Delta

    Given the sheer amount of people who oppose equal rights for gay people out there, I’m going to guess no.

    I am tired of straight people trying to blame vitriolic bigotry against gay people on us.

  • Delta

    Well, when you teach children to be absolutely obedient to authority figures as a tenet of your religion, and it later comes out that you have been abusing children under your “authority,” then it makes sense that your teachings would be called into question as a result.

    Or, it SHOULD be, but as far as I can tell, the Southern Baptist Convention is too busy caring about their own reputations and the number of people in the pews to bother with what may happen to the most vulnerable people in their churches.

  • Delta

    This. The current wording makes it sound like the boy was an equal participant in it — which abusers so often try to say to get out of the consequences for their actions.

    It also, IMO, leans on homophobic stereotypes about gay men being predators.

  • Mike Panic

    That is why I speak vehemently against religion. I let them know in no uncertain terms just how much I have come to hate their god and churches.

    Post censored because I cannot say it without going afoul of the nannies https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d3dba618b966fe48fe81fd9ce311de6641da0a6d04b4163b3c7e7480e42b0648.jpg here.

  • An underage boy is a fetus. Words mean what they mean!

  • The age of the boy is required. Adolescents/teenagers are not children. If the boy did not object, he wasn’t raped.

  • Delta

    As far as I can tell, religion doesn’t create bigotry, but powerful religious organizations sure do love amplifying it.

    Not… entirely sure how this relates to your other comment though.

  • Barry Duke

    The closest I can get to ascertaining the age of the boy is that he was “in either 6th or 7th grade”, which would make him around 12 or 13. https://legalherald.com/florence-alabama-lighthouse-baptist-church-pastor-john-t-martin-charged-with-sexual-abuse/

  • Borderline adolescent, then? What gets me is the fact that in almost every case [I would say “every” case but there might be exceptions though I have yet to see one] they never give us the “kid’s” version of things. And if they do the “kid” has already been brain damaged by the cops, the social workers, the social engineers and manipulators, the “stigma” and shame being put in the kid’s head after the fact. Society makes him a “victim” whether he is one or not! They browbeat the boy, or girl, into believing he, or she, is a “victim” when the truth is, they are not! I am not excusing the man’s behavior. The very fact that he belongs to a religious cult that believes all that insane and stupid nonsense is bad enough by itself. And idiots blathering the word “pedophile/pedophilia” around like they actually know what that word means [they obviously don’t!] is not only irresponsible, it’s blatantly stupid.