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DOES TEAM GRAHAM HAVE THE GOODS ON PASTOR-POLITICIAN?

Liberal U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (RINO – S.C.) is leaving nothing to chance … or so it would appear.

The moment one of his “Republican” primary challengers starts to gain even a little bit of traction, Graham’s team of operatives smacks them back down with a well-placed jab.

The latest (alleged) example of this trend in action? An article appearing in The Politico this week on Det Bowers – the Columbia, S.C. pastor  who turned in a modestly impressive initial fundraising performance against the well-funded incumbent.

According to reporter Manu Raju’s report, Bowers gave a sermon several years ago (the exact date is uncertain) in which he claimed that women who shower exorbitant attention on their children were the cause of male infidelity and the breakup of marriages.

“I find that in about 95 percent of broken marriages, though the husband’s the one that ran out on his wife, the wife loves her children more than she does her husband,” Bowers said in an audio recording obtained by Raju. “That is an abominable idolatry.”

“Do you hear me ladies?” Bowers continued. “It is an abominable idolatry to love your children more than you love your husband, and it will ruin your marriage. And yet you blame it on him because he ran off with some other woman! He did run off with some other woman, and you packed his bags. All of his emotional bags, you packed for him. Is that true in every case? No, but it’s true in the vast preponderance of them.”

“You just ran him off. You paid more attention to your children than you did to him,” Bowers added. “‘Oh, he doesn’t need me?’ He needs you more than they do. He chose you, they didn’t. An abominable idolatry.”

Hmmmmm … interesting.

“I am disappointed at Politico’s taking (Bowers) remarks out of context,” South Carolina pastor Drew Collins wrote in a guest post on The Quinton Report, a Maryland-based blog. “Those who listen to the entire sermon will hear Det both holding forth the grace of God and criticizing places where he has fallen short of God’s glory as well.”

“I don’t know whom I will support in the primary (I will not support Lindsey Graham, however), but I would encourage any who read this report to listen to the entire sermon, not just one selective snippet,” Collins added.

FITS spoke to a source close to the Graham campaign who denied planting The Politico story about Bowers.

“It’s made to look a certain way but this is absolutely not coming from us,” the source said, adding that Graham’s other challengers – Lowcountry businesswoman Nancy Mace, Upstate businessman Richard Cash, S.C. Sen. Lee Bright and Orangeburg attorney Bill Connor – were “more likely suspects.”

“Look at it like a crime: Who has motive?” the source said. “They do, we don’t.”

However other sources tell FITS Graham staffers have boasted of possessing an entire library of damaging audio files from Bowers two-decade career as a pastor.

Which brings us to the truly incriminating excerpt from Raju’s report …

Bowers’ sermons used to be widely available online as podcasts when he ran a media ministry at the church but are getting more attention now, weeks ahead of the June 10 primary. They appear no longer to be available for downloading.

That’s true, although up until this year compact discs of Bowers’ sermons during his twelve-year career at Christ Church of the Carolinas could be checked out of the church’s library.

“There’s a lot on there that may or may not be on the podcast,” one source familiar with the recordings tell FITS.

Which means Bowers could be in for a bumpy ride …

Bowers also didn’t help himself by refusing to be interviewed for The Politico’s report – and by providing conflicting information regarding the date of the sermon in question.

As off-the-wall (or as inartfully expressed) as some of Bowers’ social views may be, we continue to believe his real vulnerability is his prior career as a liberal trial lawyer who dabbled in Democratic political activism. Bowers was chairman of the 1988 Michael Dukakis for President campaign in South Carolina, for example, which is about as far to the left as you can get on the Palmetto State’s political spectrum.