Her allegations brought down megachurch pastor Bruxy Cavey. Then the anonymous trolls came for her.
Jill Lattimore and Bruxy Cavey were friends in the days following the birth of their son, Samuel. That friendship turned into a battle.
When his wife Kate filed for divorce in 2014, Cavey, a multimillionaire pastor with a sprawling congregation in Houston, knew he was in trouble.
Cavey’s family, in contrast to most churches, has no formal affiliation with the Assemblies of God, the denomination that has long been associated with the fundamentalist side of Christianity. As a result, he didn’t have to comply with the church’s strict doctrines or standards that govern its ministry.
One of those doctrines, known as “the Bible,” includes a prohibition against same-sex marriage, and as pastor, Cavey had a particular interest in protecting it.
While the church’s official position is that homosexual behavior is incompatible with traditional marriage — or that homosexuality is a sin — the Bible, in fact, includes both gay and lesbian relationships within its pages.
If a gay couple could marry, according to evangelical theologian Robert Price, the Bible would “evolve” into a “biblical marriage.”
Cavey’s biggest problem for the church, though, was his belief that he could teach his faith without compromising its teachings. So he asked the congregation to pray for his and Kate’s relationship. Then he got on a plane. The pastor set up a meeting with his pastor, Michael Youssef, in Chicago, far away from Houston.
That’s when the church’s rules kicked in. Youssef, a youngish former Baptist preacher who had been in prison for sexually abusing his underage female congregants, told the pastor to shut up about his faith.
“If he wants to start practicing it, that’s his business,” Youssef said, according to documents. “Do what you want to do.”
The pastor refused.
Cavey called his supporters to his church in Houston