Two white pastors from Texas have come under fire for referring to Vice President Kamala Harris as “Jezebel” during two separate sermons.
Baptist News reported that on Jan. 3, Pastor Steve Swofford of the First Baptist Church of Rockwell asked his congregation an inflammatory question– mixing politics, racist vitriol and religion at the pulpit.
Swofford mentioned President Biden would be a “cognitively dysfunctional president.”
He then doubled down on his incendiary rhetoric, asking parishioners, “What if something happens to [President Biden] and Jezebel has to take over? Jezebel Harris? Isn’t that her name?”
Swofford inserted religious dogma to help elucidate his theory of the elected leaders not doing things “our way.”
He also advised his followers to uphold their “convictions of being pure and honest and having convictions for Christ.”
Hey @DannyAkin; it’s “crystal clear” that a pastor “must also have a good reputation with outsiders” (1 Timothy 3:7). Does that include someone like Steve Swofford calling the President cognitively dysfunctional and @VP Jezebel?pic.twitter.com/sCCXbDAJwv
— Kevin Driver (@KevinDr_ver) January 29, 2021
Another minister, Tom Buck of First Baptist Church of Lindale, hurled the problematic word at Harris, two days after the presidential inauguration on Twitter.
“I can’t imagine any truly God-fearing Israelite who would’ve wanted their daughters to view Jezebel as an inspirational role model because she was a woman in power,” he wrote.
I can’t imagine any truly God-fearing Israelite who would’ve wanted their daughters to view Jezebel as an inspirational role model because she was a woman in power.
— Tom Buck (@TomBuck) January 22, 2021
As the nation’s women celebrated Harris’ victory as the first Black female vice president, Buck inserted his unsolicited, misogynistic opinion.
The publication reported that Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, rejected both Swofford and Buck’s use of “Jezebel.”
He found Buck’s “comment regarding Madam Vice President Kamala Harris extremely un-Christlike, unjustifiable & inconsistent with how he’s treated other female public figures.”
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>different from me, encouraging me to do something to advance a righteous & Kingdom cause. However, I find his comment regarding Madam Vice President Kamala Harris extremely un-Christ like, unjustifiable & inconsistent with how he’s treated other female public figures. To refer…</p>— Dwight McKissic (@pastordmack) <a href=”https://twitter.com/pastordmack/status/1353005516717514753?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 23, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>
McKissic, who’s Black, also disclosed that he and Buck had a good relationship even though the white pastor was “radically” different from him.
Buck’s disrespectful behavior toward Harris seemingly changed his stance.
“To refer to the Madam Vice President in any context as ‘Jezebel’ is simply unwarranted & disrespectful & extremely harmful to the image of Southern Baptists when this label emanates from the heart & mouth of an SBC pastor. Consequently, I choose not to engage in any further fellowship with Tom Buck,” he wrote.
Buck was unmoved by the criticism and doubled down on his chauvinistic, homophobic and bigoted views stating, “For those torn up over my tweet, I stand by it 100%. My problem is her godless character. She not only is the most radical pro-abortion VP ever but also the most radical LGBT advocate. She performed one of the first Lesbian “marriages.” Pray for her, but don’t praise her.”
For those torn up over my tweet, I stand by it 100%.
My problem is her godless character. She not only is the most radical pro-abortion VP ever, but also most radical LGBT advocate. She performed one of the first Lesbian “marriages.” Pray for her, but don’t praise her! https://t.co/O8iet6xUiL pic.twitter.com/snQIHKN98u
— Tom Buck (@TomBuck) January 23, 2021
Although “Jezebel” has a biblical origin, in later years the name has become a disparaging moniker for Black women. According to an extensive report by Ferris State University, “Jezebel” has evolved to be a derogatory term that predated slavery. It represented a time when colonial European men found African (Black) women “were barbaric and deserved to be subjugated.”
The word is entrenched in the sexual demonization of Black women while designating white women and pristine and chaste– specifically during slavery.