“By junk, I met autism, that condition, the illness or the neurodivergence,” said Morrow. “All of us have issues; all of us have problems. All of us have conditions. All of us have sicknesses and diseases and illnesses. And I just refuse to blame God for those things.”
During a sermon on Sunday, Sept. 10, Morrow spoke to his congregation about the controversy.
“My heart is, I love people. And I want to see them set free and I want to see them delivered,” Morrow said. Conceding that his remarks were “a little crass,” he nevertheless defended them because “this is who I am. This is the way God talks to me.”
Morrow again clarified that he intended to convey that “autism is junk,” but that children “who have it are loved by God and loved by me.”
Nevertheless, Morrow claimed that Beulah Church has been victimized by “a mob mentality,” and he “can’t anywhere” with people who are upset that he “shined a light on this subject.”
Despite his insistence that what he said was true, Morrow resigned from the Stoutland School Board on Tuesday, Sept. 12. His term had been set to expire in 2026.
“The District is aware that a member of the Board of Education, in a setting and capacity outside of his board member role, made comments that have been interpreted as derogatory toward individuals with certain disabilities,” the board said in a statement. “One member of the Board of Education does not speak for the Board of Education as a whole, nor the District itself.”
“The District is steadfast in its compliance with both the requirements of and the spirit of non-discrimination laws and our own Board-adopted policies regarding the same,” the statement continued. “Our school district welcomes students of all backgrounds, regardless of ability, and provides educational opportunities and services to each and everyone with commitment and care.”
The Stoutland School Board said that it had received Morrow’s resignation, “which will be presented to the board as a whole at the next meeting.”
While Morrow’s statements about autism are shocking, they are not unique among pastors who emphasize deliverance ministry. In January 2022, Tennessee preacher Greg Locke courted criticism during a sermon on deliverance when he spoke about autism and declared that there “ain’t no such diagnosis in the Bible.”
“I’m telling you your kid could be demonized and attacked, but your doctor calls it autism,” Locke said. “I don’t care if you leave or not. I’m telling you there’s deliverance in the name of Jesus Christ for your children and their children’s children.”
Despite a public outcry, Locke has not publicly retracted his statements.