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House GOP candidate questioned whether careers were women's 'healthiest pursuit'

Mark Harris, a notable Republican congressional candidate in North Carolina, has articulated a provocative perspective on "God's plan for biblical womanhood."
Mark Harris, Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon, Heather Grant
North Carolina Republican senatorial candidate Mark Harris, left, answers a question as, from right, Thom Tillis, Greg Brannon, and Heather Grant looks on during a debate at Davidson College in Davidson, N.C., on April 22, 2014.

One of the bigger upsets of the 2018 elections thus far came in North Carolina's 9th congressional district, where incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger lost in a Republican primary to a former pastor named Mark Harris. Right about now, some GOP officials probably wish that contest had gone the other way.

ABC News reported yesterday on a 2013 sermon Harris delivered on "God's plan for biblical womanhood" and the modern difficulties for American women "to live out and fulfill God's design."

"In our culture today, girls are taught from grade school that we tell them that what is most honorable in life is a career, and their ultimate goal in life is simply to be able to grow up and be independent of anyone or anything," said Harris, then the senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, adding, "But nobody has seemed to ask the question that I think is critically important to ask: Is that a healthy pursuit for society? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our homes? Is that the healthiest pursuit for our children? Is that the healthiest pursuit for the sexes in our generation?" [...]In an earlier portion of Harris' sermon, Harris tells parishioners that "only one title is given to a woman in all of scripture ... the title given to a woman is 'helper.'"

In the same remarks, Harry rejected the idea that women must be "barefoot and pregnant," and said he believes women can excel in the workplace, but he added that women "must understand" their biblical "core calling."

The then-pastor acknowledged at the time that his views may not be "politically correct in 2013."

Or, it turns out, in 2018.

The Republican candidate's campaign this week made no real effort to walk back the sermon, clarifying in a multi-paragraph statement that by "core calling," Harris meant that "there is no higher calling that a woman has than to be a helper to her husband and mother to her children."

North Carolina's 9th hasn't had a Democratic representative since the '60s, but Democratic officials have high hopes for Marine Corps veteran and businessman Dan McCready, who's set to take on Harris in November.

I have a hunch those hopes are a little higher now.