HILLSBORO, Ohio (ABP) – A Southern Baptist pastor in Ohio apologized for giving trick-or-treaters a religious tract that contained a cartoon depiction of a child hanging in a noose.
Kenny Cousar, pastor of Northview Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Ohio, issued a public apology on Facebook for church volunteers handing out a Chick Publications tract titled “Mean Mama” the Thursday before Halloween. The comic-book style pamphlet tells the story of an unbelieving mother who finally turns to Christ after God kills her three sons, one of whom commits suicide by hanging.
Cousar says the church has a ministry to passing out tracts with candy to children as an outreach to its community but got careless with this one, which “generated many negative comments” on the church’s Facebook page.
“Unfortunately, we did not realize that one of our tracts was not appropriate. That is our fault for not paying attention to the tract in the first place,” he said. “Our church does not endorse this type of extreme methodology that was represented in this particular tract, and we can assure you that we will not let this happen again. In our zeal to get the Gospel out, we were careless; but our church is a loving church that loves souls and wants to do all we can in our community to help as well as spread and share the Gospel message of Christ.”
The Hillsboro Times-Gazette quoted a mother who said she was shocked when her 3-year-old and 4-year-old children were issued the tracts while trick-or-treating.
“It's just awful,” said C.J. Rooks. “They're young children. It's not appropriate for a child to see, at all. Even if this issue needs discussed, it's something that a parent needs to go over with the child, not a church just throw it out there. I'm glad I got to it before my children did. I went trick-or-treating with a friend who is also a mother, and she was absolutely appalled that these were handed out."
The tract actually carried a sticker promoting New Beginning Baptist Church, a mission sponsored by Northview. Founded in 1987, Northview Baptist Church is affiliated with the Southern Hills Baptist Association, the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio and the Southern Baptist Convention, according to the church website.
Bob Allen is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.