Retired pastor Det Bowers, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham in South Carolina’s GOP primary, once said in a sermon that women caused most divorces — even in cases where the husband was unfaithful.
Politico obtained an audio recording
of a sermon that Bowers gave while he was pastor of Christ Church of the Carolinas in Columbia, S.C., in which he blames divorce on women who love their children more than their husbands. Bowers' son, Joel, said the sermon was delivered in 2001, but the Politico report indicated the date was uncertain.
Calling it "abominable idolatry" and "unlawful worship," Bowers said the "vast preponderance" of divorces proved that men cheat on their wives because they devote too much love and devotion towards their children.
"I find that in about 95 percent of broken marriages, though the husband’s the one that ran out on his wife, the wife loves her children more than she does her husband," he said.
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"Do you hear me ladies? It is an abominable idolatry to love your children more than you love your husband, and it will ruin your marriage. And yet you blame it on him because he ran off with some other woman!
"He did run off with some other woman, and you packed his bags. All of his emotional bags, you packed for him. Is that true in every case? No, but it’s true in the vast preponderance of them. You just ran him off."
The non-denominational Christian conservative continued, "You paid more attention to your children than you did to him. 'Oh, he doesn’t need me?' He needs you more than they do. He chose you, they didn’t. An abominable idolatry."
Bowers, 62, said in a statement to Politico that he had drawn his conclusions about marriage after counseling couples for nearly 20 years as a lawyer and two decades as a minister.
"I wholeheartedly believe family is one of the cornerstones of our nation," Bowers said. "As a pastor, steering my flock away from the destruction of the sacred union between husband and wife, mother and father, is one of my most important responsibilities — and a duty I will never shy away from.
"In this instance, I simply shared with the congregation the information I received from the couples I counseled." Bowers declined to be interviewed, Politico said.
Politico reported that Bowers often posted podcasts of his sermons, but they are no longer available for downloading.
Graham is the heavy favorite in the June 10 GOP primary, during which he’ll face six other Republicans, including Bowers. Graham must win 50 percent of the vote or he’ll be forced into a runoff election.
On Thursday, Graham agreed to debate
his primary opponents in a June 7 event hosted by S.C. Educational Television in collaboration with The State newspaper.
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