The Southern Baptist Convention
(SBC) & homosexuality
1998-JUL to the year 2000:
SBC statements & actions about homosexuality
SBC positions on sexual orientation:
1998-JUL: The Kansas City Star had reported in 1998-MAY that Marc Cadd,
a German Professor at William Jewell College in Liberty, MO had planned to help students
request formal recognition of a gay-lesbian group. Cadd is also the
director of the college's Center for Educational Diversity. The college's president, Christian
"I would emphasize that our policies clearly state that the
college will not provide recognition, endorsement or funds for a gay or lesbian support
group. To do so would be contrary to our mission and purposes, which are deeply rooted in
The Hilltop Monitor, the campus newspaper,
contained an editorial by Natalie Nimmer promoting tolerance. She noted that the school
had a long way to go"
"... before truly accepting diversity and promoting love for all
of God's children. By speaking out for what is right and realizing all people are
different, we can create a positive change that will promise tolerance, acceptance and
Mike Whitehead, a Church-state law expert and assistant professor of
church and law at Midwestern Seminary, has stated that private religious colleges must be
free to teach their religious beliefs.
"There is no legal duty for a private
religious school to allow homosexual student groups to be recognized or to operate on
campus. Public colleges, funded with tax dollars, are held to different standards and
constitutional duties, including giving equal access to various student groups, including
homosexual advocacy groups. That's why Baptist colleges remain private, so that Baptist
campuses may reflect biblical values."
This is another indication of how the concept of religious freedom is being redefined to include the freedom to denigrate, discriminate against, and oppress minorities.
1998-NOV: The Wake Forest Baptist Church is on the campus of
Forest University in North Carolina. It is a member of the SBC. The congregation passed a
statement on NOV-15 which states in part:
"... though we cannot, as a church, bless any relationship,
we do with joy petition God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, that He
bless, insofar as it conforms to His will, any and all loving,
committed, and exclusive relationships between two people."
The vote was 90 to 33. They also decided to
allow their clergy preside at gay and lesbian union services. Mac Brunson, president of
the North Carolina Baptist State Convention commented "Regardless of how
they phrase it, they're sanctioning same-sex marriage." This action by the
church severed its relationship with the state convention; it is the third congregation to
be thrown out of the SBC because they granted equal treatment to persons of all sexual
are still parents in that [Baptist tradition] who love their children even
if they don't agree theologically with them." Dr. Allen has a gay
son with AIDS. He said "I love him and we do not agree. I believe
it's time for us to talk to each other instead of about each other....I'm
not changing any positions or pulling any punches about what I believe
Dr. Allen is a moderate Baptist who founded
the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship when Fundamentalists took over
leadership of the SBC in the early 1990's. 3
Religion Today's news summary mentioned that a:
"spokesman for the SBC said the former president's appearance
could be misconstrued as supporting the agenda of the gay church.
Metropolitan church founder Troy Perry said that inviting Allen was
controversial within his group because about 20% of its members left
Baptist churches because they felt they were not accepted." 4
1998-OCT: About 2,400 delegates from SBC denominations in Georgia
attended the Georgia Baptist Convention in Columbus GA. They said that
gays and lesbians are welcome as members. However, congregations that endorse "the
homosexual lifestyle" or which perform homosexual union ceremonies will be
excluded from the association. J. Gerald Harris of Eastside Baptist Church in
Marietta GA made a remarkable statement: "The unanimous verdict of Scripture is that practicing
homosexuality is a sin. [Love] must not compromise the church's allegiance to Scripture."|
|1999-JUN: At the 1999 SBC convention in Atlanta, GA a number of
controversies regarding sexual orientation were dealt with:|
American Airlines: On 1999-JAN-29, both American and Delta Airlines
announced discount fares for delegates attending the SBC convention. The SBC Executive
Committee dropped American Airlines as a recommended carrier on FEB-9. They gave as their
reason AA's financial contributions to the Human Rights Campaign, Gay and
Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays (PFLAG). The committee said that AA had previously given assurances that it
would not "support movements destructive of the family and society."
Apparently the SBC viewed support for human rights and opposition to defamation as
destructive to family and society, while AA viewed that support as positive or neutral. AA
was the first major airline to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual
orientation and was the first to allow an internal homosexual support group. 1|
||Rebuke to Clinton: A resolution was passed with near unanimous consent
at the SBC annual meeting which rebuked one of their own members, President Clinton. The
Gay Pride banners: Over 600 banners proclaiming "Gay and Lesbian
Pride Month" appeared on city light poles in Atlanta, during the SBC convention.|
1999-JUL-16: Jimmy Allen, a former president of the Southern
Baptist Convention (1977-1979) addressed the General Conference and
World Jubilee of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community
Churches in Los Angeles. The MCC describes itself as "the
world's largest organization serving the spiritual needs of the lesbian,
gay, bisexual, and transgender community." It was their 30th
anniversary. Dr. Troy Perry, founder of the MCC, personally asked Allen to
||2000-JUN-15: Their year-2000 convention in Orlando, FL, home
of Disney World, covered a number of major topics. They decided to
prohibit their 1,600 ordained women from acting as pastors. At a time
when other faith groups are calling for a moratorium or for studies
into capital punishment, the SBC affirmed their support for the death
penalty. 5 Some developments concerning
Messengers (delegates) to the meeting altered the SBC's Baptist
Faith and Message. It now calls on Christians to "oppose
all forms of sexual immorality, including ... homosexuality."
James Merritt, a pastor from Snellville, GA became the new SBC
president. He said:
"Yes, we do stand against homosexuality. We believe that Scripture is
absolutely plain. There's not one shred of evidence in the Bible that God ever
approved of homosexuality in any shape, form or fashion. At the same time,
what we're really for is the family. And we're really for the homosexual having
a productive lifestyle that honors the Lord."
Former SBC president, Bailey Smith, is an evangelist from
Atlanta GA. He received applause from the delegates when he said:
"If you believe it is natural and acceptable for two men
to marry each other and two women to marry each other, you are not
a liberal. You are a nutball."
Messengers approved a resolution that congratulated Laura
Schlessinger for her denegration of homosexuals during her
Leaders of three "ex-gay ministries" said that
Baptists must continue their stand for biblical morality but also
must be willing to extend God's unconditional love to people
"trapped" in homosexuality. 6
Tim Wilkins, director of CROSS Ministry, Raleigh, NC, appeared
with representatives of Eleutheros, Fringe Youth Outreach, and
Family Research Council. Wilkins said: "
Southern Baptists have come under increasing attack for sincerely holding
the biblical view that homosexuality is sinful and that Jesus
Christ can and does set men and women free from sinful lifestyles.
No other denomination has taken the public stand that Southern
Baptists have on this issue and the heat that stand has generated."
Bertie Barber of Eleutheros in Winter Park FL said:
"We embrace the inseparable standard of God's truth and love.
While we make no apology for standing on and for God's truth, we confess
that we have not always stood as zealously on and for God's love...For the
times we have tried to present biblical truth in ways that were unloving or
even hateful, please forgive us. For the times we have self-righteously
pointed our fingers and declared your sin greater than ours, please forgive
us. For the times we have condemned and offered no love, no mercy, no hope,
please forgive us."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Ken Walker, "American Airlines official boasts of homosexual marketing efforts,"
Baptist Press, 1999-JUN.
- Tom Strode, "SBC resolution rebukes Clinton for 'gay pride' proclamation,"
Baptist Press 1999-JUN-16
Art Toalston, "Southern Baptist leaders wrongly noted in AP account of
Jimmy Allen's speech." at: http://www.sbc.net/
- Current news summary for 1999-JUL-20, ReligionToday.com
- Adelle Banks, "Baptists say yes to death penalty, no to women
Religion News Service, 2000-JUN-16
Mark Kelly, "Oppose sin, but love sinners, ex-homosexuals tell
Baptists," at: http://www.sbcannualmeeting.org/
The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission maintains
a list of links on homosexual topics at: http://www.erlc.com/
Copyright 1997 to 2011 Ontario Consultants on Religious
Latest update: 2011-NOV-11
Author: B.A. Robinson