A pastor believing the Bible shouldn’t be surprising. But it’s enough to cause Democrat presidential candidates to distance themselves from him — even though he’s deeply connected to the Democratic Party.
Robert Fowler is the pastor of Victory Missionary Baptist Church, one of Las Vegas’ largest African-American congregations. It’s hard to overstate his standing among Nevada Democrats. Last weekend, Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker attended services there. Sen. Bernie Sanders held a town hall at his church earlier this year. Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Attorney General Aaron Ford attend his church.
Fowler, however, won’t change his religious beliefs to reflect current Democrat ideology.
In a 2013 interview on KNPR, Fowler said that things such as premartial sex, adultery and child molestation were “wrapped together as sin, along with homosexuality.”
He reaffirmed those beliefs in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News last week, adding that one sin is “enough to send you to hell.” Fowler’s office didn’t return my call for comment.
“Harris, Sanders, Booker campaigned at Vegas church led by pastor who calls being gay a sin” read a headline from the Mercury News. Outlets, including Newsweek, the New York Post and The Hill, also ran with the story.
Democrat presidential candidates who just days ago were eager to talk with Fowler and his congregation fled for the hills.
Booker’s campaign wouldn’t respond when asked by The Hill if he had known about Fowler’s comments before his appearance.
“I do not condone, in any way, that kind of perspective or language,” Harris said about Fowler’s remarks. “We cannot tolerate language that is about hate and division.”
This episode is deeply concerning — but not for the reasons suggested by the media. The Christian position on sex hasn’t changed for 2,000 years. Christians believe that sex outside of a monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is sinful. That some media members consider it newsworthy when a pastor endorses Biblical teaching is an embarrassing display of their own ignorance or intolerance.
More troubling was the response to Fowler’s views. Harris said they shouldn’t be tolerated. Reporters for The Washington Post and Politico also called his beliefs “homophobic.” That’s defined as a dislike, fear or prejudice against homosexuals. But there is zero evidence any of those descriptors apply to Fowler, which would be obvious to anyone with a basic understanding of Christianity.
To review: Christians believe that sin separates people from God. The consequence of sin is eternal death. If you care about someone, you don’t want them to go to hell.
Christians believe Jesus came to Earth and died to pay the penalty for everyone’s sins. God raised Jesus from the dead as a sign that he accepted his sacrifice. Salvation isn’t automatic, however. An individual has to confess his sins, believe that Jesus came to save him and acknowledge his lordship over his life.
You don’t have to agree with Christian theology to understand that Fowler’s warnings come from a place of love, not bigotry. But he’s now being excommunicated for committing a thought crime against the high church of LGBT wokeness. It’s not outlandish to think that Fowler’s views could one day be illegal. In Canada, the government is prosecuting a Christian named Bill Whatcott for handing out flyers criticizing homosexuality.
How Democrats treated their long-time ally should worry everyone concerned about religious liberty.