Politics
Mark Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur on the beach Mark Sanford and Maria Belen Chapur on the beach  

Megachurch pastor in Florida goes after Mark Sanford in sermon

Photo of Alexis Levinson
Alexis Levinson
Political Reporter

The pastor of a megachurch in Jacksonville, Fla. warned Sunday against electing former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford back into office, saying that if Sanford cheated on his wife, he can’t be trusted with political responsibility.

“Why do you think that a man who deals treacherously with his wife won’t deal treacherously with you in business?” First Baptist Church senior pastor Mac Brunson asked, before turning his ire on Sanford, who is currently the Republican nominee for Congress in South Carolina’s First Congressional District special election.

“See also: Mark Sanford, former governor of my home state, South Carolina, who told his wife, ‘I’m going to the mountains to hike’; who told the people that work for him, ‘I’m going to the mountains to hike’; who told the state of South Carolina who voted for him and put him in office, ‘I’m going to the mountains to hike.’ When they needed him and eventually caught up with him, they discovered he’d gone off to Argentina to have an affair.”

Sanford was caught having an affair with a woman in Argentina during his tenure as governor.

“Now, the bright people of my home state have made him the GOP person for Congress,” Brunson went on. “If he dealt treacherously with his wife before, and the state, and the people who worked for him, do you think [his] character has changed that much? That he’s not gonna deal treacherously at some point in the future? That’s a white man, GOP conservative — I’m an equal offender, brother. I don’t care who it is. If it ain’t right, it ain’t right for nobody.”

The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville is among the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. The church’s massive main facility is located in downtown Jacksonville.

Sanford is the Republican nominee in the special congressional election for South Carolina’s First Congressional District. It was vacated by former Rep. Tim Scott, who was appointed to the Senate when former Sen. Jim DeMint resigned to become president of the conservative Heritage Foundation. He is locked in a competitive race with Democratic Elizabeth Colbert Busch, and his campaign has been troubled recently, after national Republicans backed away from him last week following a report that his ex-wife had charged him with trespassing.

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