FORT WORTH, Texas — The leader of an Independent Baptist-identifying assembly in Texas who spoke positively of the deaths of 49 people in the 2016 Pulse homosexual nightclub massacre has resigned after admitting to being involved with prostitutes, gambling and drugs.
Donnie Romero, who led Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, an affiliate of Steven Anderson’s Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, announced his resignation before his congregation last week. The video of his tearful statement was posted publicly to the Stedfast Baptist YouTube page on Jan. 2.
“I haven’t been ruling my house well. [I’ve] been a terrible husband and father,” he said. “[I’m] the one at fault in this situation. My wife and my kids, they’re not to blame.”
“I’m very sorry for the hurt this may cause people, the discouragement. I’m so sorry,” Romero stated. “I love you guys. I wish I wouldn’t have let it get to this point.”
Anderson spoke following the announcement, outlining that Romero is disqualified from leadership, and asked those gathered not to “rub his nose” in the matter or to attempt to contact Romero’s wife to obtain the details of the situation.
However, he also published a separate video to his personal YouTube channel the following day, outlining that “the major sin involved was being with prostitutes, and then there [was] marijuana and gambling that were also discovered.”
Anderson said that he did not provide the information during the service, in part, because Romero’s wife and children were present, and he also wanted to give the people an opportunity to process the initial “bombshell.”
But he outlined that he believed “the right thing to do” was to be transparent about the matter because Romero was in a “public position of trust.”
“I found out about it on Monday, and I confronted him and intervened and then basically stepped in and tried to help the church get through this,” Anderson further outlined to the Star-Telegram. “Churches frequently just cover things up. That is wrong. It’s sad how it makes Christianity look bad and Baptists look bad, but it’s not right to cover this up.”
All videos featuring Romero, other than his resignation, have been removed from Stedfast Baptist’s YouTube channel. Recent video clips had been entitled “Who Will Be Thrown Out of Church,” “Rejoicing Over the Death of the Wicked,” “Destroyed by Manipulation” and “Jezebel and the Feminist.”
Romero had been interviewed in 2016 by local television station Fox4 over concerns relating to remarks expressing satisfaction with the deaths of homosexuals killed in the Pulse nightclub massacre, and his wish that more would die.
“These 50 sodomites are all perverts and pedophiles, and they are the scum of the earth, and the earth is a little better place now,” Romero said. “And I’ll even take it a step further ’cause I heard on the news today that there are still several dozen of these [bleeped out] in ICU, in intensive care, and I will pray to God like I did this morning—I will do it again tonight—I will pray that God will finish the job that man started.”
When interviewed about the matter, he held to his stance, stating that he believes all homosexuals are pedophiles.
“Just like if there is a building that had a bunch of rapists, or a bunch of evil, murderous people, and the building collapsed on them or something happened where they were all killed, I don’t think that is something we should mourn over because they are evil people,” Romero said.
Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church in Sacramento, California, which is also affiliated with Anderson, made similar comments, opining, “The tragedy is more of them didn’t die. I’m kind of upset he (Omar Mateen) didn’t finish the job, because these people are predators.”
His statements were refuted by Christians as being unbiblical.
“We should never wish this stuff on homosexuals, or any other sinners. We are to help bring them to the Lord, if possible,” one commenter wrote. “I wouldn’t wish Hell on any human being that has a chance to change.”
“We want people to repent and come to know the Lord Jesus. We should never celebrate the loss of souls. That is insane and sick,” another remarked.
“There are a lot of testimonies of homosexuals that converted to Christ Jesus and are happy and free from that lifestyle,” a third stated. “We as followers of Christ Jesus must continue to pray for the sinners, for we were once sinners and someone prayed for our salvation.”
As previously reported, Anderson, Jimenez and Romero—and others affiliated with them—teach that all homosexuals have been given over to a reprobate mind, and it is therefore not possible for them to turn to Christ and be saved.
A video posted to YouTube earlier this year shows Anderson asking a man visiting a church in South Africa if he is a “f*g” and then telling him to “get the [expletive] out of here.” Another video highlights Anderson stating that he hopes Bruce Jenner “dies and goes to Hell” rather than finding Jesus as he has “nothing but hate” for “this Bruce freak.” Similarly, a message Anderson delivered at Jimenez’ Verity Baptist earlier this year was entitled “People Who Are Trash.”
Anderson is most known for his irate behavior and name-calling, as one video compilation shows various clips of him screaming while pounding or slamming the pulpit, and one time kicking it.
1 Corinthians 10:12 warns, “Wherefore, let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”