Daniel Moore, shown in the photo, was the pastor of New Whiteland Baptist Church in Franklin, Indiana. He was arrested about a year ago, but to this day, the church website still lists him as “pastor.”
However, since his arrest, he has actually been attending Calvary Baptist Church, which is in nearby Greenwood, Indiana.
The two churches are both affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Now, in anticipation of Moore’s April 8th hearing, the pastor, ministers and deacons of Calvary Baptist have written a letter to the judge, apparently in the hope that it might influence the judge to impose a lesser sentence on Moore.
The letter is signed by Dr. Ernest E. James (senior pastor), Rev. Andy Rardin (minister of students), Rev. David Tripp (minister of music), an interim ministerial staff-person, and eight other men who are apparently deacons.
The letter in its entirety is set out below, and you can see the original of it on church letterhead with the court’s file-stamp here.
When Moore was first arrested, a woman in Franklin was quoted in the news report as saying, “I think it’s really scary to live across the street from a church with a reverend there that’s doing anything like that.”
But I imagine it might also be “scary” for the people of Greenwood if they realized that, despite the serious charges against Daniel Moore in Franklin and despite his guilty plea on March 4th, he was nevertheless allowed to move among them “anonymously.”
Yet, this is what the leaders of Calvary Baptist Church clearly state in their letter to the judge. They declare that, at their invitation, Daniel Moore worshipped among them “quietly, humbly and essentially anonymously.”
Weren’t the parents at Calvary Baptist entitled to at least be told?
That’s the part I think is the most “scary” of all. Twelve leaders of Calvary Baptist Church decided that they knew what was best for everyone else there, and they invited Daniel Moore to join among them “anonymously.”
Now those same twelve leaders have all signed off on a letter to the judge, expressing their support for Moore after his guilty plea on child sex charges.
Perhaps they intended their letter to be a secret. Maybe they hoped it would remain private with the judge. But don’t you think the people of Greenwood are entitled to at least know that this is what the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church chooses to do?
And how do you imagine the victim and her family might feel when they see such a letter from other Southern Baptist church officials?
One thing for sure, I don’t imagine any Southern Baptist officials have extended any support for them.
The Letter of Calvary Baptist Church officials
"Honorable Judge Loyd:
We, the staff and deacons of Calvary Baptist Church, Greenwood, Indiana, are writing regarding Daniel J. Moore, whom you have scheduled for sentencing April 8, 2010. Neither Dan nor his attorney is aware of this correspondence.
For the past ten months Dan has, at our invitation, worshipped among us. He has done this quietly, humbly and essentially anonymously as it is his desire to avoid drawing attention to himself and for his fear of embarrassment to the church.
Dan has been broken and is tearfully repentant, remorseful, regretful and ashamed. Daily, he has spent hours in Bible study, soul searching and spiritual regrowth.
We as staff and deacons stand ready and eager to help Dan in his continued healing and restoration in any way possible. We are writing to inform you of our availability as a support and accountability group for Dan both during and after his incarceration. If you desire or require any communication with us prior to your passing sentence we are certainly available for that also.
Our faith is about God’s forgiveness and restoration. It is certainly not about condoning the transgression but we are seeking to restore the person. If our responsibilities in helping Dan can in any way work hand in hand with your duties, it would be our privilege."
Update 4/2/10: Check out Ed Pettibone's victim-blaming, "two to tango" comments about this case on the BaptistLife forum. Tragically, we have seen similar comments from Ed Pettibone over the course of several years, and his ignorant mind-set is far from unusual in Baptist life.