OXBOW — A pastor of 35 years is no longer authorized to provide ministerial services for Presbyterian churches in the north country, its commission has ruled.
The move comes after he called Chinese people “Chinks,” wrote “Allah sucks” and said during a recent sermon that the greatest beneficiaries of slavery are descendants of it.
Keith E. Kilgore, who has been a part-time pastor at Oxbow Presbyterian Church, is no longer authorized to preach there, or at any church that falls under the oversight of the Northern New York Presbytery, said the Rev. David Bennett, a resource presbyter.
The decision comes after women who used to attend the church routinely as children, but who since attend less frequently, filed a complaint about Mr. Kilgore to the presbytery, which wasn’t the first complaint about the pastor, Mr. Bennett said. But the most recent behavior was different. During a sermon Mr. Kilgore gave at the church June 14, he said those who benefited the most from slavery are descendants of it.
And Mr. Kilgore’s behavior on Facebook, which he said he thought was private, was factored in as well.
On May 8, Mr. Kilgore posted on his Facebook page, “We wouldn’t be in this mess if the Chinks would have kept Kosher.” On May 19, commenting on a report that said Nigerians were being killed by “Muslim Militants, he posted “The Prophet Muhammad SUCKS and so does his mood god Allah. Pray for our Brothers and Sisters in Nigeria.”
On Feb. 29, Mr. Kilgore either posted or shared a post that reads “Get the Marxists out of office by the ballot now or you’re going to have to get them out with the bullet later.” He also posted about how he was calling the coronavirus “Kung Flu.”
In another post in March, he wrote “We’re just not ready...” over a photo of Elizabeth Warren that appears to be manipulated to show her wearing a Native American headdress. Within the photo is a caption that reads “I am suspending my campaign because America is not ready for a Native American President.”
Mr. Kilgore had said he was sorry if anyone was offended and that he wished the complainants would have come to him first.
The Rev. Bennett last week said the women who spoke up were not being vindictive, rather standing up for the church they grew up in and love. And he later called Mr. Kilgore’s language “blatant racism.”
“To hold those beliefs and be in a position of power and use those examples as applications of Christian principles is just abhorrent,” Mr. Bennett said. “This is not about political correctness. It’s a much deeper and profound issue. I wish we had known before we authorized him.” And he said it’s not an issue exclusive to Mr. Kilgore.
“I’m hopeful that it illustrates that there’s a lot of racism in the north country,” he said. “I hope we can move toward getting better.”