In an article by Alan Blinder, The New York Times recounts the legal ordeal of youth evangelist and The Basement founder Matt Pitt.
Pitt is currently in the Shelby County jail awaiting a Sept. 23 hearing on possible probation violations after being arrested in Jefferson County and charged with allegedly impersonating a peace officer. Pitt pleaded guilty to similar charges in 2012 in Shelby County and was placed on two years of probation.
The Times articlerefers to Pitt’s showmanship and message which drew thousands to his events before the arrests and chronicles only about 200 present for the last meeting of The Basement
. That meeting included a recorded message from the jailed Pitt, according to the article.
“There is a strand of American Christianity that boils the Gospel down to a story of, ‘Once I was blind, but now I see,’ ” said Thomas G. Long, a professor at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University who researches preaching told The Times. “Add a gallon and a half of emotional intensity, and that becomes very attractive to adolescents.”
Blinder reports, “Mr. Pitt’s allies have responded to widespread ridicule of the preacher with an aggressive campaign to salvage his reputation, arguing that he is the victim of a conspiracy rooted in jealousy and fostered by powerful interests in the region, including elected officials and disenchanted former supporters.”
Read the full story from The New York Times here.