By D’Anne Witkowski
Welcome to this episode of “Christian Hypocrisy: Anti-Gay Christian Edition.” It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these so let’s start off 2019 old-school style and call out an anti-LGBTQ public figure who turns out to not be so morally upstanding after all.
Let me introduce you to Donnie Romero, former pastor of the Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.
He’s the former pastor because he did some sins that “disqualified” him from pastorhood.
Romero’s pastor buddy Steven Anderson came to Stedfast Baptist Church so he could be there to help the church through Romero’s announcement.
In a video posted online, Anderson explains why Romero had to step down, explaining that Romero’s address to the congregation didn’t include specifics because his wife and children were there, and they didn’t want to “humiliate or disturb them.”
But for the sake of transparency, Anderson says, he wants to let people know what’s going on.
“Even pastors are human,” Anderson says. “I’m just going to mention what the sins were without going into detail. Basically the major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there were also marijuana and gambling that were also discovered.”
Well, first off they’re called “sex workers,” not prostitutes. Secondly, transparency is a good and rare thing in religious institutions, so yay them, I guess. Plus, Romero looked so damn sad in the video of him addressing his flock to tell them he’s bouncing. You could almost feel sorry for him.
Unless, of course, you know about the absolutely heinously hateful shit Romero has said about gay people. Then any pity you have for him really evaporates.
As the Star-Telegram reports, Southern Poverty Law Center designated the Stedfast church a hate group in 2015. And that was before Romero went off about the Pulse nightclub victims in 2016.
“These 50 Sodomites were all perverts and pedophiles and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little bit better place now, and I’ll even take it a little further,” he said, according to the Star-Telegram. “I heard on the news today that there are still several dozens of these queers in ICU, and I will pray that God will finish the job that that man started.”
Now, I’ve been writing about anti-gay folks for over a decade now, and that is honestly one of the vilest quotes I have ever encountered. The lack of compassion is astounding. And notice that the guy with the gun, the guy who murdered scores of people and injured many more, is viewed as a tool of God’s will doing the Lord’s work with an assault rifle. Never mind that the shooter was Muslim, which in most circumstances would probably be a deal-breaker for Romero and his church. Hey, nobody’s perfect.
Anderson, too, is no stranger to hate.
“The good news is that at least 50 of these pedophiles are not going to be harming children anymore,” Anderson said after the Pulse shooting, according to the Washington Post. “The bad news is that a lot of the homos in the bar are still alive, so they’re going to continue to molest children and recruit people into their filthy homosexual lifestyle.”
It bears repeating, again and again, that being LGBTQ does not make someone more likely to molest children. That’s a gross lie repeated by gross people. Nor do LGBTQ people recruit, unless you count lesbians who form the core of any good softball team.
Also according to the Post, “In one sermon recorded at his church, Anderson suggested the world could be AIDS-free by Christmas if only people ‘executed the homos like God recommends.’”
Has this guy met Mike Pence? Because I think they’d be great buds. They have a lot in common. In fact, should Trump get impeached, I suspect Anderson could find a home in a Pence administration simply by submitting a resume with his “AIDS-Free By Christmas” plan alone.
In case you were worried, no, Stedfast Baptist Church did not decide that being hateful was maybe a really crappy way to be Christian. Instead they doubled down, electing Jonathan Shelley to be their new pastor. He hates gays, too.
“They hate God. God has already given them up,” he said in an October 2018 video, according to the Star-Telegram “That’s the reason they’re doing these vile, disgusting things. They’re beasts, they’re wicked, they’re abominable, they’re filthy today.”
Feeling disgusted? Well, you could pray for their souls, but I’m not sure they have any. It’s probably more effective to visit splcenter.org and make a donation to their work combating the kind of hate Stedfast perpetuates. Amen.
—D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.