Durant pastor blames mass shootings, disasters on gay marriage
A Durant pastor is under fire for his choice of words during his prayer before the state Senate on Thursday.
Bill Ledbetter has been the pastor of Fairview Baptist Church in Durant for the past 12 years, and has been the Durant Police Chaplain for the past 6.
Senator Josh Brecheen nominated Ledbetter to lead the prayer on the floor of the Oklahoma Satte Senate Thursday.
But what he said is stirring up controversy.
During the prayer he said, "Do we really believe that we can redefine marriage from the Word of God to something in our own mind and there not be a response?"
Pastor Ledbetter also hinted that immorality in our laws along with gay marriage was to blame for recent hurricanes and school shootings.
Speaking to us by phone Friday, he says he used Thursday's prayer to search for answers as to why all these tragedies have happened.
"I'm not standing on a mountain proclaiming something, I merely spoke the scriptures and asked the questions, 'Could God be speaking to us in this season?'" Ledbetter said.
One senator chose to walk out.
Others, like Mike Schulz say they didn't think it was hateful, but should be addressed.
"It is something that we are having discussions about. I've had a talk with the minority leader as well about how we move forward from here and try to maintain the decorum of the Senate," said Senator Mike Schulz (R) President Pro Tempore.
"I would have probably got up and walked out, too. I don't feel like that gay marriage or gay people had anything to do with it. They didn't tell him to go out and tell him to do it. There was no gayness involved in it," said Carla Watts, who lives just a few feet away from the church.
She admits she has in fact walked out on Ledbetter before during one of his sermons.
"Breaks my heart to hear that he did that but that is the kind of pastor that he is. He should have prayed for the families, he should have prayed for the loss of the families and he should have left gay people out of it because they were probably praying for the people who passed away too," said Watts.
Ledbetter says he did not mean to offend anyone.
"You can not shirk your duty. My role as a pastor is to proclaim God's wonderful word, his love, his truth. But sometimes that truth is not always accepted," Ledbetter said.