Baltimore Pastor Jamal Bryant is in the center of another alleged controversy, depending on whom you ask. This time, Latoya Shawntee Odom, a 34 year old Los Angeles-based masseuse, is accusing the (in)famous minister of fathering her 10 month old son, according to The Baltimore Sun. Odom also claims Bryant has failed to financially support the child.
Bryant, who heads the influential Empowerment Temple responded to the latest claims in a broadcast from his Periscope account. "Keep praying for me because unlike others, I actually need it”, Bryant said to a social audience who really just wanted a "yes" or "no" answer to the question, are you the daddy?
He added, “God ain't finished with me.”
Bryant says his lawyers advised him not to comment “in depth”, but said that he would address the issue head on at a later time. Bryant also said: “When there is something to be said you will hear it directly from me, you will not have to look for a secondary source.”
Reactions to the latest allegations about Bryant, who ran for a congressional seat in September, but withdrew after eight days, have been mixed. There's the camp who finds the allegations hardly scandalous. Unlike the time Bryant admitted to cheating on his then-wife, Giselle Bryant of Bravo TV's "Real Housewives of Potomac", he is not currently married. He is a single man who allegedly had sex that resulted in a child. This is hardly a unique occurrence.
Then there are those, who say Bryant has gone too far. He is a man, yes, but also a minister, and should be held to a higher standard. This camp would say that Bryant's repeated lack of sexual self-control distracts from his ministry. They say it's time for Bryant to step down from the pulpit. In his recent video, even Bryant stated, “the worst mistake you can ever make is to repeat that exact same mistake.”
I fall somewhere in the middle. I recognize Bryant's humanity and human imperfection. We all fall short. However, this is Bryant's second alleged scandal involving him humping around. When is enough, enough?
I don’t understand the folks making excuses for Bryant here. I've read Christian folk drag women in the church for so much less. Erica Campbell and Yolonda Adam's catch hell about the fit of their dresses on their womanly curves. But yet a pastor can allegedly impregnate a woman that isn't his wife and there's a stampede of folks willing to defend him? If Pastor Bryant were a woman, can you imagine what the backlash would be? Picture it: a female minister who admitted to cheating on her husband, and then later as a single woman becomes pregnant? The exodus from her church pews would rival the annual Great Migration.
And you know who would probably be first in like to criticize her, calling her out her name? Jamal Bryant. He’s had no problem policing women's behavior from his pulpit. In 2014, he was filmed quoting a Chris Brown lyrics, “these hos ain’t loyal”, referring to promiscuous women.
Oh, really, pastor? What name do we use for men who allegedly can’t keep it in their pants?
Former (and disgraced) New York Congressman Anthony Weiner, who stars in a new documentary “Weiner”, resigned after a social media scandal in which he DM’d pictures of his (covered) penis to female supporters, eventually (and accidentally) making one public. Two years later, after apologizing and atoning, Weiner ran for New York City mayor and was doing well in the polls until it came out that Weiner was still sending penis pics to strangers.
Weiner continued his campaign, but public interest had plummeted. He lost the primary with five percent of the vote. The people had spoken. Sharing penis pictures— twice— was not tolerable from a politician. So how is sharing penis— twice— tolerable from a pastor?
I’ll wait on that answer too.