A former officer of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee who was among the most outspoken critics of the investigation into sexual abuse in SBC churches has used Twitter to mock the hammer attack on Paul Pelosi.
Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, was violently attacked at their San Francisco home on Friday, Oct. 28. He suffered a fractured skull. David DePape has been arrested and charged with the crime, which appears to be politically motivated.
Among political conservatives, Nancy Pelosi is one of the most-hated politicians in America. Immediately after the Friday morning attack, many of her adversaries took to social media to make fun of the hammer attack three days before Halloween or to spin alternative narratives about what happened.
Elon Musk was among those spreading an unfounded story about the attack, tweeting a baseless accusation that Paul Pelosi may have been drunk and fighting with a male prostitute.
Among those using social media to mock the attack and spread baseless claims about it was Rod Martin, a Florida entrepreneur who recently was a high-profile leader on the SBC Executive Committee. There, he was a strong opponent of waiving attorney-client privilege in the convention-mandated investigation into mishandling of sexual abuse claims.
Martin resigned from the SBC Executive Committee on Oct. 27, 2021, claiming messengers to the SBC annual meeting had been “deceived” in voting for a motion that required the Executive Committee to fully open its records to the investigation.
Martin also was co-founder of the Conservative Baptist Network, a group that has been trying to push the SBC into ever-more-conservative positions. Martin recently tweeted that “leftists” have now taken over the Executive Committee.
Since Friday, two national news stories have converged almost seamlessly on Martin’s Twitter feed — the attack on Paul Pelosi and Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter, where long-established restraints on hate speech were immediately lifted.
The first and most graphic tweet by Martin is an image of a pair of men’s white underwear with a large hammer laid across them. Martin wrote above the image: “Get it now: the Paul Pelosi Halloween costume!”
The online response to his tweet was immediate and negative. People expressed shock and outrage that Martin, a well-known Christian leader, would engage in such mockery of a violent attack. In response, Martin mocked those who questioned him and blocked them from further response.
One of those expressing outrage was the Twitter user Clergy Sexual Abuse Survivor, who appealed to SBC President Bart Barber: “Please, for all that is honorable and decent, show that some pastors and religious leaders actually care for humanity, politics be damned. Condemn @RodDMartin for this cruel Tweet, now at a time while Paul Pelosi lies in a ICU bed, surrounded by his loving family.”
Barber tweeted Oct. 28: “I’m praying tonight for Paul Pelosi, and I invite Southern Baptists to join me in doing so. What happened to him is reprehensible.”
But on Oct. 31, he tweeted and then pinned to the top of his page this thought: “When I encounter Twitter personalities urging people to repent of something, the first thing I do is to go back through their feed and see whether they have ever repented of anything. If not, I generally don’t take them seriously. Matt 7:3-5.”
Meanwhile, just one day before the Pelosi attack, Martin was using Twitter to mock the results of the SBC’s sexual abuse investigation — which he tried to block as an Executive Committee member. He tweeted: “Hundreds if not thousands of churches were covering it up, don’t you know. So we were told, anyway. And yet, more than a year later, the so-called ‘reformers’ haven’t found a single church to disfellowship for violating the anti-sex abuse rules. Not even one.”
Here is a sampling of Martin’s recent tweets and some of the responses: