Area college trustee under fire for telling woman to stay in abusive marriage

A member of the board of trustees at a Dayton-area college who has received national criticism for comments he made about women about 18 years ago has apologized.

Paige Patterson is president of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and serves as a trustee at Cedarville University, about 35 minutes northeast of Dayton. Patterson has come under fire for comments he made in 2000 that were not widely circulated until recently. The comments are being re-examined in light of the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse.

In a recording, Patterson told a story about a woman who came to him about abuse and he told her to pray for God to intervene, The Washington Post reports. The woman came back to him later with two black eyes, he said.

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“She said: ‘I hope you’re happy.’ And I said ‘Yes … I’m very happy,’ ” because her husband had heard her prayers and come to church for the first time the next day, according to The Post. Patterson was also heard on the recording saying that abused women should “be submissive in every way that you can.”

Since Patterson’s comments were published, Southern Baptist leaders have mobilized to denounce domestic abuse. When asked about the comments, Patterson originally doubled down on the statement. On May 4, he said he had nothing to “apologize for” because his comments were not “wrong.”

But most recently, Patterson has apologized.

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On May 14, Patterson released this statement: “I would also like to reiterate the simple truth that I utterly reject any form of abuse in demeaning or threatening talk, in physical blows, or in forced sexual acts. There is no excuse for anyone to use intemperate language or to attempt to injure another person. The Spirit of Christ is one of comfort, kindness, encouragement, truth, and grace; and that is what I desire my voice always to be.”

Patterson is one of 28 members of Cedarville’s board of trustees, according to the school’s website. The school is a private christian institution with around 3,300 students enrolled.


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