North Texas pastor decries hypocrisy in criticism of human trafficking victim shelter

Mercy Culture Church pastor Landon Schott took to social media Saturday to clap back at critics of the church’s proposed 100-bed human trafficking victim shelter.

Construction is slated to begin July 1 on the $13.2 million shelter, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, however, the project has yet to get the necessary zoning approval from the city of Fort Worth, and has faced opposition from nearby neighborhoods.

The shelter would be on church property at 1701 Oakhurst Scenic Drive, however, this would take away badly needed parking and wouldn’t be compatible with surrounding land uses, according to a 2022 city analysis of the church’s rezoning application.

“Many of the same group of people that are criticizing every church in DFW and writing articles about us for not doing enough to “protect people” are the SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE DONE EVERYTHING IN THEIR POWER TO TRY STOP US FROM BUILDING THE JUSTICE RESIDENCE TO HELP SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND TRAFFICKING!,” Landon Schott wrote in an Instagram post caption shared jointly with his wife Heather, a fellow Mercy Culture pastor.

It’s not clear who specifically Schott was referring to, but his post comes less than a week after former Gateway Church senior pastor Robert Morris resigned after admitting he sexually abused a child in the 1980s. Gateway’s network helped Mercy Culture get established in Fort Worth.

Mercy Culture released a statement shortly after Morris’ resignation calling the details of the assault deeply disturbing while affirming the church’s commitment to protect vulnerable children.

Landon Schott did not respond to an Instagram direct message and email from the Star-Telegram requesting comment on his post.

This isn’t the first time Schott has been critical of those opposed to the project. In a May 2023 sermon, he called residents in the nearby Oakhurst and Riverside neighborhoods “witches and warlocks” for opposing the project.

Residents in those communities have repeatedly said they don’t oppose the mission of helping victims of human trafficking, but they do oppose putting a dense development in a single family neighborhood where parking is already strained from Mercy Culture’s Sunday services.