American Baptist Churches in the USA and the equal inclusion of homosexuals
"God's design for sexual intimacy places it within the context of
marriage between one man and one woman, ... the practice of homosexuality is
incompatible with Biblical teaching."
Statement of the ABCUSA General Board on 2005-NOV. 1
The American Baptist Churches in the USA
(ABCUSA) 2 is the descendent of the
Northern Baptist Convention that was founded in 1907. They have about 1.5
million members among 5,800 congregations distributed among 34 regions.
They are a mainline Christian denomination whose membership is "...gifted by a variety of
backgrounds, [who] find unity in diversity and diversity in unity."
3 Like other mainline faith groups,
they are currently experiencing a crisis over "the issue:" whether to
extend inclusiveness and acceptance:
To persons with a bisexual or homosexual orientation who are in loving, committed same-sex relationships, and
To other sexually active, unmarried persons.
Being a Baptist faith group, the ABCUSA follows centuries-long traditions of:
Soul freedom -- the independence of individual members to form their own
beliefs -- and
Congregational freedom -- the autonomy of each church to develop its own
Conservative members who want to continue the denomination's discrimination
against homosexuals by expelling inclusive congregations from their region or
denomination can only do so by violating these fundamental Baptist traditions.
This adds an extra level of complexity to the homosexual issue that is not seen
in other religious traditions.