You all can thank Dementia for this one. :-)
The Rev. Lonnie Latham, an outspoken opponent of homosexuality and a national figure in the Southern Baptist Convention, was arrested Tuesday in Oklahoma City and charged with propositioning a male undercover police officer.
“I was set up,” he protested while leaving jail. “I was in the area pastoring to police.”
Latham was in the parking lot of the Habana Inn, an area not known for police officers but rather for male prostitutes who flag down cars, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker told the Associated Press.
Becker said Latham asked an undercover officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex.
Police arrested the pastor and impounded his 2005 Mercedes. He was charged with a misdemeanor count of offering to engage in an act of lewdness and was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.
Latham could be sentenced to a year in jail. He also faces a $2,500 fine.
Latham will also face a puzzled congregation at South Tulsa Baptist Church, where he is the senior pastor.
Latham, a member of the Southern Baptists’ executive committee, has spoken out against same-sex marriage and has supported a Southern Baptist convention directive aimed at converting gays into heterosexuals. Southern Baptists are urged to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual “if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their ‘sinful, destructive lifestyle.’ ”
The Rev. Robyn Murphy, a spokeswoman for Soulforce, an organization devoted to changing the hearts and minds of religious leaders who engage in anti-gay campaigns, was sympathetic to Latham.
“The anti-gay bias has now claimed another victim,” Murphy said. “Now he will be ridiculed for being gay.”
“What he needs some is some sanity and grace, and that’s the message he should have been spreading all along,” she said. “We wish him well, and we wish he didn’t have to be outed in this fashion.”