Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas reads sermon from pastor of church accused of ignoring sex abuse

An investigation highlighted church leaders' failures to heed warning signs about a youth pastor later imprisoned for crimes related to child sex trafficking.

click to enlarge Rep. Louie Gohmert praises Pastor Tommy Nelson before reading his megachurch leader's sermon. - YouTube capture / C-Span
YouTube capture / C-Span
Rep. Louie Gohmert praises Pastor Tommy Nelson before reading his megachurch leader's sermon.
Far-right Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert on Monday treated fellow U.S. House members to a 25-minute recitation of a sermon written for him by Pastor Tommy Nelson, whom he lauded as as teller of "profound truth."

For all the praise Gohmert lavished on Nelson before launching into the sermon, the East Texas Republican neglected to mention that the pastor's Denton Bible Church has been at the center of a high-profile sexual abuse case, news site OnlySky reports.

Rob Shiflet, a former youth pastor at the North Texas megachurch, last year was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for crimes related to child sex trafficking while he worked there and at another congregation.

Denton Bible Church later released the results of a third-party investigation that highlighted church leaders' multiple failures to heed warning signs about Shiflet, including concerns two youth workers raised directly to Nelson, TV station KDFW reports.

Nelson declined to give Shiflet a job as high school pastor in 2001 “because of his pattern of being alone with girls," according to the TV report. However, the church leader didn't make his concerns public or share them with other churches.


Of course, Gohmert — now riding out his last weeks in Congress — is no stranger to controversy, having drawn national ridicule for claiming climate change is just peachy because it helps plants grow, that the Alaskan pipeline pepped up the sex lives of caribou and that COVID-19 is a sham.

His nine years in the House have also proven himself to be an extraordinarily ineffective legislator, since he's succeeded in passing exactly one bill during that time, according to Texas Monthly.

But the striking irony about Gohmert's recitation of Nelson's sermon is that one of the GOP gadfly's latest obsessions is shutting down drag shows, which he accuses of sexualizing children. Earlier this year, Gohmert cosponsored a bill to ban U.S. drag shows, then followed it up with a proposal to bar foreign aid money from being used to support drag performances in other countries.

Seems like there are more dangerous places for Texas children than drag shows.

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Sanford Nowlin

Sanford Nowlin is editor-in-chief of the San Antonio Current.

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