This disgraced Megachurch evangelical believes his transgressions should be private — so he's suing

This disgraced Megachurch evangelical believes his transgressions should be private — so he's suing
A megachurch in 2019 (Creative Commons)

Over the years, countless evangelical Religious Right fundamentalists — from Jimmy Swaggart to Jerry Falwell Jr. to Jim Bakker — have been caught up in major sex scandals.

Another is Johnny Hunt, who headed the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) before taking a leave of absence in 2010.

Religion News' Bob Smietana, in an article published on September 18, explains, "On July 25, 2010, while vacationing in Florida, Hunt had kissed and fondled another pastor's wife in what his attorneys would later call a 'brief, consensual extramarital encounter.' Then, Hunt spent more than a decade covering the incident up."

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Smietana notes that Hunt has filed a civil lawsuit against the SBC's Executive Committee and Guidepost and argues that they should not have publicly discussed his behavior — and that his privacy was invaded.

But George Freeman, executive director of the Media Law Resource Center, believes that Hunt's privacy claims in the lawsuit are flawed.

Freeman told Religion News Service, "That's life. That's not a lawsuit."

According to Smietana, "The former SBC president's defamation claim could have some merit if the allegations against him are proven false. But even then, Freeman said, Hunt, a prominent evangelical leader and speaker, would likely qualify as a public figure — making the defamation claim harder."

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Religion News' full report is available at this link.

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