“Our investigation is looking at everything,” Chief Hampton mentioned. “Nothing is off the table.”

Growing up within the culturally conservative exurbs of Cherokee County, north of Atlanta, Mr. Long “brought his Bible to school every day,” mentioned Darin Peppers, 51, town director for First Priority of Metro Atlanta, a highschool evangelical group. He performed a field drum throughout morning reward conferences of his Christian youth group at Sequoyah High School, Mr. Peppers mentioned.

According to at least one faculty yearbook, Mr. Long led a weekly gathering of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “I really feel like God is wanting me to be a leader in the church so I felt like this would be a really good opportunity to exercise some of those principles,” the yearbook quoted him saying, “and also just reach out to our campus with the gospel.”

In latest years, Mr. Long and his household had been lively members at Crabapple First Baptist Church in Milton, Ga. He was baptized there as an grownup in 2018, in keeping with a now-deleted Facebook submit by the church.

The church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and put itself on a listing of church buildings which can be “friendly” to the mission of Founders Ministries, a bunch throughout the denomination that has criticized what it characterizes as a leftward drift inside evangelicalism.

Crabapple’s bylaws embrace a prolonged passage on marriage and sexuality that condemns “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, polygamy, pedophilia, pornography, or any attempt to change one’s sex.”

The church’s lead pastor, Jerry Dockery, preached a sermon about gender roles in September, drawing on a passage in 1 Timothy that instructs ladies to decorate modestly and to “learn in quietness and full submission.”

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