North Carolina pastors smack down GOP candidate for 'sexist sermon'


Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris is facing heat for once suggesting that women who pursue careers are undermining 'biblical womanhood.'

More than 40 women pastors and faith leaders in North Carolina are admonishing Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris and insisting that he treat men and women equally.

"Rev. Mark Harris' 2013 sermon questioning whether a career was the 'healthiest pursuit' for women casts serious doubt on his commitment" to equality, reads a statement from the non-profit group, Faith in Public Life. "As he is running to represent all of us in the House of Representatives, we call on him to publicly commit to respectful, equal treatment of men and women."

The condemnation came in response to the news earlier this month that while serving as pastor of Charlotte's First Baptist Church in 2013, Harris delivered a sermon discussing "God's plan for biblical womanhood" and suggesting that society "created a culture and created an environment that have made it extremely difficult for any woman … to live out and fulfill God's design."

He also said it is "critically important to ask" whether it is "a healthy pursuit for society" to teach girls that they should have careers and be "independent."

When news of the sermon surfaced, a Harris adviser decried the controversy as "a bigger war on people of faith, on religious freedom and people who believe in Christian values."

Harris pulled off a primary win earlier this year when he secured the Republican nomination over incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger.

Today, he's trailing his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, by seven points in a House district that is reliably Republican.

"Republicans should be concerned with a negative 7-point spread," said Donald Bryson, president of Civitas Institute, conservative nonprofit that released the local poll.

Previously, Harris advocated in North Carolina for Amendment One, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The amendment to the state constitution was later nullified when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized marriage equality.

Now, Harris is being called on by faith leaders in North Carolina to explain whether he can treat women and men equally.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.