Founder of far-right ‘Discernment’ blog arrested for drunk driving and weapons
JD Hall, a pastor and editor of a far-right ‘discernment’ blog known for his vitriolic attacks on ‘heretics’, ‘woke’ preachers and ‘feminists’, was arrested last week for conduct impaired and armed, according to local police.
Hall’s church, however, says his drunken behavior stemmed from a medical condition, not a drug addiction.
Police arrested Jordan Daniel “JD” Hall, 40, late Wednesday night in the town of Sidney near the Montana-North Dakota border, Sidney police records show.
Records show Hall was charged with carrying a concealed weapon while under the influence of drugs and a first offense of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs. He also received a few warnings about traffic violations, documents show.
Hall is the pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Sydney and is the publisher of Protestia, formerly Pulpit & Pen. The blog was renamed after Facebook banned the Pulpit & Pen site. Hall also runs the Gideon Knox Group, which runs a collection of church-based media sites and other media ministries, including the Polemics Report, the Bible Thumping Wingnut podcast network, and an AM radio station. He also founded the Montana Daily Gazette, a conservative news site.
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Police allege in the charging documents that Hall failed to stop at the stop bar at an intersection and crossed a bike path. When police arrested him, the officer reportedly noticed Hall was stumbling and having speech difficulties and “performing very poorly” on field sobriety tests. A blood alcohol test did not detect alcohol in the Hall system, records show.
During his arrest, police allegedly found a handgun holstered under Hall’s coat, leading to the impaired driving weapons charge.
Fellowship Baptist announced today that Hall had tendered his resignation, but church leaders and the congregation rejected it.
Hall has a medical condition “which may result in poor coordination, slurred speech, shifting of words, etc.,” the church said in a statement posted today on its website.
“This medical issue has been discussed openly for some time and has been the subject of our church’s prayers. Nevertheless, Pastor Hall felt responsible for bringing the stain of the rumor on the church and therefore offered his resignation.
Baptist deacons and Fellowship elders rejected Hall’s resignation after consulting with three other pastors and determining that the incident “was not ministerially disqualifying.”
However, the church board determined that Hall was exhausted and needed to rest for three months. He delegated Hall’s responsibilities to others and gave his wife the power to decide when he was well enough to return to work.
Management briefed the congregation at a business meeting on Sunday, according to the church’s statement. The congregation also voted unanimously to reject Hall’s resignation and uphold the church board’s decision.
Montana law allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon, subject to other laws, such as the one prohibiting concealed carry while intoxicated. The state does not require a license to buy or carry firearms.
The controversial pastor has faced numerous accusations of bullying over the years.
In 2014, he would have repented of the cyber-harassment of a teenager who had committed suicide.
Hall now faces potential legal penalties for allegations that he tried to intimidate a lobbyist into dropping a defamation lawsuit against him. The lobbyist sued Hall’s Montana media outlet late last year, alleging Hall defamed the lobbyist in an article the outlet refused to take down.
Hall filed for bankruptcy in February, the day before a judge was due to hear testimony about Hall’s alleged bullying.
Hall was a very outspoken critic of the Southern Baptist Convention for being too liberal. Last week he published a Tweeter threatening that “me and my boys will check the mics, and reprimanding is the order of the day”. Hall also threatened legal action if the SBC made “any attempt to silence us.”
Hall also made headlines in Montana earlier this year after leading a rally in the Montana state capital to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Hall has been an outspoken critic of The Roys Reportespecially our talks on John MacArthur, which Hall equated with the persecution of the church.
Sarah Einselen is an award-winning writer and editor based in Texas.
Bob Smietana contributed to this story.