Missouri pastor who called autism a ‘demon’ resigns from school board after backlash

Pastor Rick Morrow of Beulah Church in Richland, Missouri.
Pastor Rick Morrow of Beulah Church in Richland, Missouri. | Screengrab: YouTube/Beulah Church

A Missouri pastor who recently told his congregation that autism is a demon that can be cast out by Christians and pointed to many examples of this recorded online, has resigned as a member of the board of the Stoutland School District after backlash over his comments.

An official at the school district’s office in Stoutland confirmed with The Christian Post on Thursday that Pastor Rick Morrow of Beulah Church in Richland submitted his resignation Tuesday, more than two years ahead of 2026 when his term on the board was expected to expire.

Morrow’s comments stem from a Bible study session at his church on Sept. 6, where he was teaching about deliverance.

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Shortly after his session began, Morrow spoke about autism which “refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication” according to Autism Speaks.

“I know a minister who has seen lots of kids that are autistic, that he cast that demon out, and they were healed. And then he had to pray and their brain was rewired, and they were fixed,” Morrow told his congregation, noting that they could go online and see “lots of examples of it.”

Indeed, a cursory search on YouTube presented multiple testimony videos of individuals claiming they were delivered from autism, which affects about 1 in 36 children in the United States.

“If it’s not demonic, then we have to say God made them that way,” Morrow continued in his comments. “Like that’s the only other explanation. ’Why does my kid have autism?’ Well, either the devil has attacked them, he’s brought this infirmity upon them, he’s got them where he wants them, and/or God just doesn’t like them very much and He made them that way.

“Well, my God doesn’t make junk. God doesn’t make mess ups. God doesn’t make people that way. So let’s quit being nice and putting a Band-Aid on stuff and giving it medicine,” he added. “How about you just cast the demon out?”

Morrow’s comments quickly began making the rounds on social media, sparking a barrage of backlash from members of the Stoutland community and beyond, like Jessica Loveland who started a petition to have the pastor removed from the school board hours before his resignation on Sept. 12.

“It is disheartening to know that someone like Rick Morrow holds a position of power within our school district while harboring such discriminatory views towards individuals with disabilities,” Loveland wrote. “Morrow's comments have not only caused immense distress among parents like myself but also pose a significant threat to the inclusivity and acceptance we strive to foster within our community. It is crucial that we take action now to ensure that our children are provided with an environment free from prejudice and discrimination.”

Those comments came from Loveland despite Morrow providing further explanation of his comments in his sermon on Sunday. He maintained that his comments were misinterpreted.

“I made a statement Wednesday night talking about demons, and we're going to keep talking about them on Wednesday night. ... I said, let's talk about something demonic, and I said autism. And then I said, God doesn't make junk. Those of you who know me know that I love people and I would never say that people are junk,” he said.

“It has been perceived that I'm evil, that I am full of the devil, that I am possessed myself because I said kids with autism are junk. That's what has been perceived. What was intended was autism is junk. People that have it, are loved by God, and loved by me,” he explained.

Morrow said he has made attempts to clarify his comments with some of the “mob mentality” currently attacking his church for his statement on autism but lamented, “I can’t get anywhere.”

“I have been told that autism is a blessing from God. I have been told that I'm the evil one. But you know what? If I was to stand up here and say cancer is junk, people would agree. If I were to stand up here and say addiction is junk, people would agree. But for some reason, when I shine the light on this subject, it has been blown so far out of proportion,” Morrow continued.

The Missouri pastor apologized to anyone who has been hurt by the mischaracterization of his comments but maintained his conviction that autism is a demonic affliction.

“For those of you who are having to deal with this thing, I apologize. I am not apologizing, that I want to see people set free from things. I'm not apologizing. I want to see people healed,” he said. “I'm apologizing if you've had to deal with the misperception of my intention.”

Contact: Follow Leonardo Blair on Twitter: @leoblair Follow Leonardo Blair on Facebook: LeoBlairChristianPost

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