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Texas Church Loses Anti-Gay Pastor over Sexual Sinning, Swaps In Equally Homophobic Replacement

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Jan 8, 2019

Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth - whose pastor, Donnie Romero, made headlines by, among other anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, excoriating the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting - has now seen Romero resign after "being with prostitutes." But area homophobes need not worry that their house of worship will start embracing love any time soon: The church has hired another virulently anti-gay cleric to take his place, reported local newspaper the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Romero came out to the church's parishioners as, in his own words, "a terrible father and husband," reported NBC News. "I have not been ruling my house well," Romero told the church's flock — though he was not referring to his duties as their spiritual leader and the founder of Stedfast Baptist. Rather, he was talking about conduct that later was clarified as "being with prostitutes" and indulging in vices such as marijuana and gambling.

Romero's history of lies and hateful rhetoric targeting the LGBTQ community was not referenced in terms of his resignation from Stedfast Baptist, however.

In what almost sounds like an audition for the role of Romero's successor, the church's new leader in the fellowship of hate, Jonathan Shelley, declared in a sermon last October that gay people are "beasts" who are "wicked" and "filthy."

"They hate God," Shelley posited, according to the Star Telegram article. Shelley then made the theologically startling claim that "God has already given them up," the article added.

Shelley struck a similar note when speaking with NBC News, saying, "The Bible makes it clear that homosexuals should be put to death according to God's law, and at the founding of America that once was the law."

Shelley went on to espouse the much-debunked opinion that "every homosexual is a pedophile" and added that gays "should be removed from society."

In fact, it is known to be the case that the overwhelming majority of pedophiles identify as heterosexual. Gay people are no more nor less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to sexually abuse children.

But facts may not necessarily be germane in the view of those running Stedfast Baptist Church, which was listed as a hate group by watchdog organization Southern Poverty Law Center in 2014.

The Star-Telegram, which has investigated so-called "Independent Fundamental Baptist churches" in the post and uncovered what it called "a pattern of sexual abuse, cover-ups and the relocation of abusers in independent fundamental Baptist churches and schools across the country," noted that these churches claim to the only true Christian churches. Their messages of hatred and violence, however, seemingly bear little resemblance to the gospels of the New Testament, which purport to record the teachings of the founder of Christianity.

A third violently homophobic pastor, Steven Anderson, accompanied Romero as he announced his resignation and then coordinated with male members of Stedfast Baptist Church to determine who Romero's replacement would be, the Star-Telegram reported. Anderson subsequently made a YouTube video in which he discussed Romero's conduct.

The Star-Telegram noted that Anderson, too, spouts messages of violence and hatred targeting LGBTQs and in at least on YouTube video has promoted the idea of "execut[ing] the homos like God recommends." Like Stedfast, Anderson's church, located in Phoenix, Arizona, is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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