OKLAHOMA CITY An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.
Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Latham was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.
Latham, who has spoken out against homosexuality, allegedly asked the officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex. Latham was arrested and his 2005 Mercedes automobile was impounded, Becker said.
Calls to Latham at his church were not immediately returned Wednesday.
When he left jail, he told Oklahoma City television station KFOR:
“I was set up. I was in the area pastoring to police.”
The arrest took place in the parking lot of the Habana Inn, which is in an area where the public has complained about male prostitutes flagging down cars, Becker said. The plainclothes officers was investigating these complaints.
The lewdness charge carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
Latham has spoken out against same-sex marriage and in support of a Southern Baptist Convention directive urging its 42,000 churches to befriend gays and lesbians and try to convince them that they can become heterosexual “if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their “‘sinful, destructive lifestyle.”‘
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition of January 6, 2006.