Politics & Government

In sermons, NC congressional candidate called on women to ‘submit’ to their husbands

Mark Harris, the Republican nominee for Congress in North Carolina’s 9th district, is again making news for old sermons about women and their role.

Harris served as the senior pastor of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, before resigning to run for the Charlotte-area congressional seat currently held by Rep. Robert Pittenger.

Harris defeated Pittenger in May’s primary and will face Democratic candidate Dan McCready in November’s general election. The race is one of the most contested in the country. The 9th Congressional District stretches from suburban Charlotte to Fayetteville along the state’s southern border.

In a 2013 sermon, Harris questioned whether careers were the “healthiest pursuit” for women.

Now a 2014 sermon on marriage is making headlines. Roll Call first reported the sermon.

In the sermon on Ephesians 22, Harris called on women to “submit” to their husbands.

“Well, what’s the message to the wives? Well, God instructs all Christian wives to submit to their husbands,” Harris said.

“You see wives, please hear me this morning. The message is not from your husband to submit, the message is from the Lord. You’re not to ever submit ma’am because your husband demands it, but you do it because the Lord ordained it. Now ladies, you can rebel against that command, but just please understand you’re not rebelling against your husband,” Harris said.

Harris said in the sermon that “submission is not about inferiority in any way, any shape and any form. It simply reflects a God-ordained function of things.”

Harris stood by those comments in an interview with Roll Call.

In an earlier sermon, Harris said that couples could save money on marriage counseling if they just followed Scripture.

“The word of God has the answer to every issue in our lives. Many marriages could save beaucoup of marriage counseling money if they would understand; husbands love your wives even as Christ loved the church, wives submit yourselves under your own husbands as unto the Lord. You get those two things right, you settle 90 percent of the marital conflicts in our nation today,” Harris said on Feb. 3, 2013.

In the Nov. 16, 2014 sermon, Harris references a story in the News & Observer about his 2014 run for Senate. Harris lost to now-Sen. Thom Tillis in the Republican primary. The story questions whether Tillis was taking a risk in allowing Harris to hold a fundraiser for him. Harris said he stood by messages that were quoted in the story and dismissed the controversy.

“I will tell you I said that and I stand by that to this day because that’s the word of God,” he said.

After Harris’ sermon about the role of women in the workplace made headlines, McCready issued a statement on Twitter and Facebook calling Harris out of step with this century.

“As a Christian, I believe that we are all created in God’s image. That means men and women are equally valuable and equally capable. My opponent, Mark Harris, is out of step with this district and this century,” McCready wrote.

Brian Murphy: 202.383.6089; Twitter: @MurphinDC