James Robert “J.R” Smith was the pastor of Morning Star House of Prayer in West Virginia last year when he was charged with repeatedly sexually molesting a boy from the time he was 9 until he was 15. The details of the charges were “too graphic for publication.” As happens all too often with religious figures, his “flock” refused to believe their leader was really capable of such a thing.
Behold the power of cognitive dissonance!
In a post on Smith’s Facebook page around the time the boy bravely came forward, other members rallied to express their love and support:
Looking at his Facebook profile, life seemed to carry on normally for the young pastor for a while. Smith fervently praised God, got married and continued to preach. It wasn’t until the local news got a hold of the story that things started to fall apart. Although his profile still listed him as a full time pastor, he also became a professional truck driver.
Showing an enormous amount of class, the family members who went with Smith to turn himself in attempted to attack the reporters on the scene, yelling
if you ruin my brother’s life, I will kill you, *****.
At this point you might want to give the church members the benefit of the doubt and say maybe they didn’t know until it was on the news. However, at least one member was willing to go on camera for WCHSTV and state:
That is what happens to a man or a woman that is a person of God, and you don’t fool with God’s people because it will come back and haunt you.
History repeats itself: Smith is charged again while family members and “good Christian” followers continue to blindly defend him.
Smith posted bond, and was arrested in Indiana this past Tuesday on a second charge of sexually abusing a young boy. Thankfully, he is being held without bond this time.
Yesterday, when the pastor’s brother, Shawn Smith, took to Facebook to admonish “the lies,” friends and supporters again rallied around him.
WARNING: Some of these posts contain very graphic language.
Even before these charges came to light, I can’t help but wonder why things in the Robert Smith’s Facebook profile didn’t set off red flags with his congregation. Didn’t anyone think something might be off when their “Godly leader” does things like post selfies of his bare abs (I’ll spare you the screenshots) and angry, incoherent rants such as this:
At this point, we can only hope justice is finally served and this
pastor predator is kept away from society as we collectively wonder in disgust how the power of denial — in yet another case of sexual abuse by a well-loved “man of God” — can keep these so-called “Christians” so blind to the truth.
Featured Image via Facebook.