Preacher: Protest Attendance Uncertain
Galveston Daily News,
March 9, 1999
Box 628, Galveston, TX 77553
By Carter Thompson, The Daily News
GALVESTON -- A planned demonstration against the opening of a gay resort
is off to a slow start locally, said the Baptist pastor who is organizing it. Pastor Ken
Barber, who argues that all homosexuals are child molesters and sinners beyond salvation,
said island religious leaders had not answered his phone calls to protest in front of
Hollywood at Galveston in April.
Barber said the demonstration would begin on April 9, the day before the hotel is set
to open. He said he hoped the demonstrations would continue indefinitely and spread to
"A lot of the preachers think Im too radical," Barber said, sitting in
the converted living room where he leads services at Grace Baptist Church.
Bob Wilkins, one of the seawall hotels owners, said Barber - who articulated his
views in a column published in Saturdays Daily News - is wrong and is sending a
dangerous message of ignorance.
"Its ludicrous," he said. "That is the only word I can say. I
think statistics show 90 percent of child molestations come from heterosexuals."
A call to violence?
Wilkins and others have said that Barbers column concludes with what sounds like
a call for violence. Barber quotes Romans 1:32, which says people "who knowing the
judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the
same, but have pleasure in them that do them."
"Its frightening," said Wilkins. "Its the same argument with
abortion clinics and the doctors who perform abortions. Hopefully, hes not that
Barber, who calls homosexuals "the bottom rung of the ladder," said he
wasnt calling for violence against them.
"God will kill them," he said. "AIDS will kill them. Their own sin will
"I would never advocate killing a homosexual," he said. "I pray for
Wilkins said he and co-owner Sherman Houck had received support from the community
since Barber made his views public.
"It warmed our hearts," Wilkins said. "Not only have people called but
have made a point to go out of their way and stopped by."
Grace Baptist Church, a three-story house at 3701 Church St., is a work in progress,
Barber said. A rag-tag mix of carpet remnants covers the floor, and the congregation sits
in stadium seats bolted to the floor.
A narrow, creaky staircase leads to the two floors upstairs, where Barber said the
church housed individuals trying to get back onto their feet. Now, there are four people
staying at the church.
"Its not as bad as it appears," he said. "Its in better
shape than when we got it.
"We dont care if we have a big church," he said, showing off a room on
the top floor furnished with a bare mattress and tattered couch. "Our main focus is
our street ministry, helping the homeless and prison ministry."
Barber, 42, started the church as a mission of Houstons Grace Baptist Church in
1992. Barber left in 1995 after suffering a jolt of electricity while working on the
house, he said. He returned last year, Barber said.
He said the congregation was small. The day after the column appeared, 12 people showed
up for Sunday services. The week before, the number was 20, Barber said.
A small congregation
He said he expected to muster about 20 people for the protest.
The majority of the protesters may come from outside Galveston County. Pastor Aubrey
Vaughn of Grace Baptist Church in Houston said he hopes to bring down 20 people, with an
outside chance at 50.
Vaughn said the number of protesters would swell if W.N. Otwell, who heads a ministry
in Nacogdoches, turned out. Vaughn said Otwell was considering an invitation.
Otwell earned public notoriety when he set up a trailer near Fort Davis to support the
Republic of Texas separatist group in its standoff with law enforcement authorities, The
Associated Press reported. Otwell also is reported to be a supporter of the Branch
Davidians, and told the Associated Press the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building
was retribution for the standoff at the Waco cult compound.
Otwell also has backed racial segregation, has said women should not work and in the
1980s warned of an impending invasion of the United States by Mexico.
Barber said he had spoken to other religious leaders, but he declined to mention their
names. Others are looking into whether anything can be done legally to stop the hotel from
opening, he said.
Barber said he came to God in 1981 as he contemplated tying his socks together to make
a noose or slashing his wrists while jailed in Brazoria County on a charge of aggravated
He and his partner had robbed a woman who Barber now says escaped from them by the
grace of God.
"Our plan was to kidnap her and rape her, use her for a while and kill her so she
couldnt talk," Barber said.
A changed man
Barber got a light sentence, which he said was because authorities could see he was a
One year after he committed his crime, Barber was free. He chose to study the Bible
alone rather than attend the seminary.
Barber said he once was a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, but left. He said
he was discouraged by the conventions liberal stances, including allowing women to
preach, and by its support of Baylor University, which he said supports abortion.
Pastor Ken Barbers Editorial
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