BIRMINGHAM (TAB) — The Alabama pastor who seemed to be calling for the destruction of the Syrian population — and garnered a firestorm of negative feedback because of it — has clarified his comments since the original letter to the editor ran in the Jan. 21 issue of The Alabama Baptist.
In the original letter, Ted Sessoms, pastor of Arbor Springs Baptist Church, Northport, criticized Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders for what he says is coddling Syrian refugees. He suggested denominational officials should consider Old Testament passages where God gave instructions to destroy entire populations, including women, children and animals.
But in a Jan. 28 letter sent to The Alabama Baptist (TAB), Sessoms said, “I nor the church I pastor have ever advocated taking the life of anyone other than self defense. We hate no one or nation. My opposition to our Southern Baptist leaders was that they failed to protect and preserve the Christian faith that is being over-powered by the Muslim faith in this country. …
“I apologize to anyone for even a hint that we have a right to take innocent lives. Only God could make a decision of that magnitude. Our mission is to tell others about Christ which the Quran and the Muslim faith denounce that God even had a Son. I am against the Syrian refugees coming into our country simply because of terrorism. If they move into our community, we will love them and minister to them as best we can.”
TAB will provide more information and letters from other readers on this topic in the Feb. 4 print edition.