Pastor Accused of Running Out Dems Quits
Chan Chandler, the Waynesville, North Carolina Baptist preacher who told congregants that if they voted for John Kerry they were not welcome, resigned last night.
A Baptist pastor accused of threatening to banish from his church anyone who didn’t vote for President Bush has himself chosen to depart, leaving in his wake a divided community and a cultural chasm. The Rev. Chan Chandler, 33, walked out of the church he had led for three years Tuesday night after delivering a brief statement of resignation. With him went many of the young congregants he had attracted to the modest brick church on the outskirts of this small mountain town in western North Carolina.
In leaving, Chandler did not apologize for the controversy that made him a national lightning rod the claims by some church members that they were told to leave if they voted for Democratic nominee John Kerry. “For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family,” Chandler said. “I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family.”
The dispute that engulfed East Waynesville Baptist Church in recent months would have sounded familiar to many an American congregation: Aging congregation brings in dynamic young preacher to turn things around. New pastor attracts young members who push for change in traditional ways of doing things. Battle ensues.
My guess is Chandler will take those folks and start up a new congregation.
Update: Waynesville Live has a whole lot of links and discussion on this one.