Jonathan Merritt, son of famous evangelical preacher and former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, James Merritt, is a well-known evangelical blogger. Jonathan is also, apparently, a deeply conflicted gay man.
Jonathan has written for many national publications, including USA Today and The Atlantic (where, recently, he proclaimed his support of Chick-fil-A). It appears that Jonathan is also a “deeply conflicted gay man,” according to Queerty, and he just got busted for sexting and messing around with gay blogger Azariah Southworth.
Southworth outed Merritt in his blog earlier this week, and Merritt responded by admitting his "inappropriate" actions to evangelist blogger Ed Stetzer. Merritt admits that he and Southworth began emailing and sexting after Merritt wrote an article saying "that Christians must love people who experience sexual brokenness." The sexting led to a meeting, and "as we were saying goodbye, we had physical contact that went beyond the bounds of friendship. I was overcome with guilt, knowing I had put myself in an unwise situation. We never saw each other again and we ceased contact after a period of time."
Merritt says he visited a Christian counselor to sort through his childhood and “sin in [his] past . . . Inappropriate texting, inappropriate actions are inappropriate no matter who the other party is. These were my decisions and no one else’s. It’s from my brokenness, that I feel I can now be transparent, honest, and authentic about these accusations. Those close to me know I have actually been planning to share the story of my brokenness for some time. Because it is part of my spiritual journey. And because it underscores the power of the Gospel to transform lives.”
Southworth himself said, "Exposing this truth of Jonathan’s sexual orientation is not an easy decision for me. I take no pleasure in doing this. As I type this my stomach is turning because I know of the backlash he will receive. I have thought about what all of this will mean for him and for me. I base my reasoning in the importance of living an authentic and honest life. We must have radical honesty in the character, intentions and identities of our leaders.”