After years of profiting from her error, this preacher is requesting forgiveness for it.
Bobbie Houston, who co-founded scandal-plagued megachurch Hillsong with husband Brian in the 1980s, recently came under fresh scrutiny for her 2003 audiobook, “Kingdom Women Love Sex,” in which she casually used a slur against the developmentally disabled.
In response to the backlash, she quietly released an internal statement on Hillsong’s website early last month.
“A recently published media article included comments that I made almost 20 years ago while I was teaching on the subject of healthy marriage, intimacy and family,” the 64-year-old’s statement begins. “In that teaching I used certain words and examples that were unwise and offensive, and especially so in a world where appropriate and sensitive language is of absolute critical importance.”
While insisting that she has spent the past two decades championing “the value and rights of women,” she admitted that “was not reflected in my comments,” adding, “I hope and pray that those affected will find it in their hearts to forgive me.”
According to Houston, this wasn’t the first time she has sought forgiveness for the now out-of-print sex advice guide. “I unreservedly and humbly apologized then for any hurt incurred, and I do so again,” she claimed in the statement. While not an apology, the book’s title was changed upon public outcry following its release to “She Loves & Values Her Femininity.”
Other controversial points from the three-CD box set include the Pentecostal pastor’s fat-phobic question of, “How are you going to do anything to surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?” as well as her encouragement that God-fearing women maintain a youthful appearance, no matter their age or the cost.
“Have plastic surgery if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons,” she proclaims on the tape. “Minimize the negative of aging. Aging does strange things to us. It discolors your teeth. Things sag when you get older,” adding, “Back pain. Plumbing bits. OK, get them fixed, get healed, or go to a doctor. I’m not joking.”
“Kingdom Women” is not Houston’s only book that allegedly emphasizes a woman’s need to submit to men and be attractive. Australian academic Marion Maddox suggested in a 2013 Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion article that many of Houston’s other books and sermons also reiterate that women should be “gorgeously available for Jesus’s army.”
Hillsong is currently embroiled in at least two lawsuits, although co-founder Brian Houston has vehemently denied the existence of one while internally contesting other recent allegations against the Australia-based megachurch.