A local pastor outside Nashville, Tn, is under fire for his decision to remove a 16 year-old girl off the youth choir for becoming pregnant. Rev. Jerome Bates, who pastor’s Greater Cathedral claims he removed the child from singing in the choir because this will be her third child and he believes her presence in the choir is sending the wrong message to other youth in church.
“Three babies.. Three babies this baby will have. She doesn’t need to sing in the choir, she needs help. I want to help her. The church wants to help her” said Pastor Bates.
Esha was 14 when she gave birth to her first child. The second at 15 and now she’s 16 and pregnant again. She joined the church while pregnant with her second child and started singing 3 months later.
“We’ve done a lot to help Esha, but she has to want to help herself. What kind of message are we sending if we allow our children to make mistakes and not punish them. Other youth in church are looking at her and saying, well, it must be okay” said Pastor Bates.
But everyone is not in agreement with Pastor Bates philosophy. Morgan Hailey, a 7 year member of the church said “I love Pastor Bates, but he’s handling this wrong. This girl is lost and the choir is her path to get closer with God.”
Many members are upset with the pastor because Esha has not attended church since July 7th. They fear for her safety and are concerned she will resort to old habits.
Esha is currently living with her grandmother and said she has ‘no intentions’ to return back to church.
Brian Green, who joined the church 6 months ago, but has left and attends another church because of Pastor’s decision said “This is why people are not coming to church now. We are too judgmental. He embarrassed the girl. I wouldn’t want to come back to this church either. What harm was caused by her singing in the choir.”
Pastor Bates says he stands by his decision and prays the best for Esha. Many parents have removed their children from the choir in support of Esha’s return.