Pastor Donnie Romero of Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas recently resigned after confessing to “being with prostitutes,” using marijuana, and gambling. It was a rather quick fall from grace for an “independent fundamental Baptist” preacher best known for spewing anti-LGBTQ hate.
Last night, in a video apology, Romero finally admitted what he did in his own words… and it didn’t make anything better.
… I went to Jacksonville, and I went to a casino, and I was drinking, and there were girls there that were prostitutes, and I committed adultery on my wife multiple times. I drank and gambled multiple times. And I even smoked weed.
I did sins that — I went back to sins that I have committed before in the past, and it even caused me to commit sins that I had never done before. You know, I really shattered our life, my wife’s life, my kids…
Had he stopped there, he might have been okay. Instead he kept talking, insisting that all the things that he always claimed were sins were still sins.
… We plan on finding an old IFB-type church that we can go to and serve the Lord. You know, I haven’t changed anything I believe. I still believe exactly the same. You know, I just went into sin, and I committed horrible, grievous sins. There’s no doubt about that…
That’s a very subtle way of reminding everyone that he’s still a bigot at heart.
Sure, he sinned, but at least he’s not as big of a sinner as those LGBTQ people who were murdered at Pulse nightclub simply for existing, and about whom Romero once said, “I’ll pray that God will finish the job that that man started, and he will end their life, and by tomorrow morning they will all be burning in hell, just like the rest of them, so that they don’t get any more opportunity to go out and to hurt little children.”
Gay people dancing? Evil. Hell-bound. Deserving of death.
Pastor doing drugs, drinking, and having an affair? Worthy of forgiveness, apparently.
Romero ironically goes on to say that he’s especially sorry he hurt the church’s reputation. But the church’s reputation was solidified when Romero started spewing hate with the support of the congregation. A person violating his own moral standards is sad, but common. It happens in churches. It happens outside of churches. The only reason anyone is aware of Stedfast, though, is because those IFB preachers are always denouncing LGBTQ people as if their “sins” are somehow worse than all the other ones — and deserving of the worst kinds of punishment. (Not just in the afterlife, either.)
What Romero did in Jacksonville is between him and his family. What he did every week from the pulpit hurt lots of people. He doesn’t give a damn about any of them. He only feels bad because, this time, people are treating him the way he’s always treated his victims: with contempt and loathing.