A religious-right leader who rejoiced over the murder of a Kansas abortion provider four years ago has acknowledged an extramarital affair and has stepped down from his position as head of a San Antonio ministry.
In a post on his Vision Forum Ministries website, Doug Phillips says he had been acting “in a destructive manner hypocritical of life messages I hold dear”:
“There has been serious sin in my life for which God has graciously brought me to repentance. I have confessed my sin to my wife and family, my local church, and the board of Vision Forum Ministries. I engaged in a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman. While we did not ‘know’ each other in a Biblical sense, it was nevertheless inappropriately romantic and affectionate.”
We don’t rejoice in the human failings of this man or the pain those failings have caused his family. In fact, we applaud his choice to step down and focus on healing the relationship with his family.
But we do rejoice that Phillips won’t be in a position, at least for a while, to send out repulsive statements like when he pronounced his judgment on George R. Tiller, an abortion provider who was shot to death in 2009 in his own church:
“‘Tiller the Killer’ is dead. Who will mourn for this man? . . . It is not a tragedy that Tiller will never be a killer again. Will anyone argue that it is a tragedy that the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will never again be dishonored by this church-going Sweeney Todd of the medical profession?”
Nor will he be publicly complaining about the “intellectual and moral bankruptcy” of people who accept the science of evolution and see no conflict between science and faith.
It’s unclear whether Phillips plans to return to his post at Vision Forum Ministries in the future.