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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) & homosexuality

2003 to the year 2010:
SBC statements & actions about homosexuality


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SBC positions on sexual orientation:

bullet2003-JUN: At their annual meeting in Phoeix, AZ, the Southern Baptist Convention called on its 16 million members and 42,000 churches to mount a massive campaign to convert gays into ex-gays by convincing them that they can become heterosexual if they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and reject their "sinful, destructive lifestyle." Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptists' public policy arm, said:

"Homosexuals can find freedom from this sinful, destructive lifestyle. They can be redeemed. They can be liberated..."We want you to know that we love you, and more importantly Jesus loves you, and there is a way out."

David Smith, communications director at the gay-positive Human Rights Campaign (HRC) -- a gay and lesbian positive group -- responded:

"This is yet another attempt by the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention to distort and manipulate their congregation's faith to attack Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. This kind of anti-Gay prejudice flies in the face of scientific evidence, common sense and basic decency and it fuels discrimination that can lead to violence against GLBT Americans."

During a different interview, he stated:

"If the Southern Baptist Convention embraces such an outreach, it would be the largest denomination to do so. They're promoting 'love the sinner, hate the sin,' but they're really saying that gay people are bad and that gives license to violence."

Sean Cahill, spokesperson for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called this program:

"... absurd, sad and offensive. I wish the Southern Baptists had learned from the shameful and brutal history of forced conversions of Native American into Christians in the United States and of Jews in Europe."

President Bush addressed the meeting by videotape, calling the Southern Baptists "faithful servants" and asking God to bless them. 1,2

bullet 2006-Fall: The Baptist Press reported that almost half of their state conventions passed a resolution excluding recommending that same-sex couples continue to be denied access to marriage, and/or expressed concern at support of homosexuals by corporations. Statements were passed in the state conventions of Alabama, Colorado, the Dakotas, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico and the Northwest supporting state or national anti-same sex marriage laws. In Colorado, a resolution opposed laws on domestic relationships. The convention in  Oklahoma passed a resolution asking that businesses, organizations and governments restrict their grants to two types of families: those headed by one man and one woman, and those headed by a single-parent. The convention in Arkansas passed a resolution opposed foster or adoptive parenting by same-sex couples. 3
 
bullet

2009-JUN-23: TX: Fort Worth church kicked out of Southern Baptists: The Southern Baptist Convention has terminated its 127 year relationship with the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. The reason is that the congregation is too lenient with GLBT members. The messengers (delegates) to the convention were not allowed to be seated.

Kathy Madeja, chairperson of the congregation's board of deacons said:

"We do not believe Broadway has taken any action which would justify its being deemed not in friendly cooperation with the SBC. It is unfortunate that the Southern Baptist Convention decided otherwise and severed its affiliation with Broadway Baptist Church."

Earlier, the Rev. Jorene Taylor Swift, a Broadway minister, wrote a letter to the denomination's executive committee stating:

"We are not a church where homosexuality is a defining issue. While we extend hospitality to everyone -- including homosexuals -- we do not endorse, approve or affirm homosexual behavior." 4


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bullet

2010-JUN-16: At their annual meeting in Orlando, FL, the SBC opposed the normalizaion of homosexuality in the U.S. The Baptist Standard -- the newsjournal of the Southern Baptists in Texas wrote:

"The resolutions that opposed the normalization of homosexuality in American society targeted an effort to repeal the U.S. military’s homosexual policy and the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act introduced in Congress.

The resolution on homosexuals in the military noted, 'The Bible describes homosexual behavior as both a contributing cause and a consequence of God’s judgment on nations and individuals.'

It cited the 1993 law that supports the current 'don’t ask, don’t tell' policy as stating no one has a constitutional right to serve in the armed forces.

'It is the seasoned judgment of most military leaders that normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the military is incompatible with generating, strengthening and maintaining good discipline, unit cohesion and combat readiness,' it stressed.

Messengers affirmed 'the Bible’s declaration that homosexual behavior is intrinsically disordered and sinful' and noted 'the Bible’s promise of forgiveness, change and eternal life to all sinners—including those engaged in homosexual sin—who repent of sin and trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ.'

They went on record as opposing efforts to change current law to 'normalize the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces.' They also deplored acts of violence related to homosexuality, expressed their 'pride in and support for all now serving in the United States armed forces' and commended 'loving, redemptive ministry to homosexuals.'

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act resolution characterized the proposed bill as 'granting such things as sexual orientation the same employment protections as gender and race, placing these immoral and aberrant behaviors on the same level as the immutable traits of gender and ancestry.'

'Homosexual persons are not our enemies but our neighbors whom we love and wish to see find the same forgiveness and freedom we have found in Christ,' the resolution said.

But it warned 'businesses with a religious character,' such as religious bookstores, publishers and parachurch ministries, would not be exempted from policies that would deny them the right to fire or refuse to hire employees based upon sexual orientation.' And the law could jeopardize the First Amendment’s protections of religious liberty, it added.

Messengers voted to express 'our profound opposition to ENDA and any similar legislation.' The resolution also put them on record as calling on the U.S. president and Congress to appoint and affirm 'only nominees to federal judicial positions who will protect foundational religious freedoms.'

The resolution reflects implications for the appointment of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court but does not directly oppose her nomination, Resolutions Committee leaders told reporters.

'The committee was concerned about homosexual rights and religious liberty. The Kagan nomination brings that into highlight,' said Barrett Duke, a staff member for the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and an adviser to the committee.

Specifically, some of Kagan’s writings indicate religious liberty rights should be trumped by homosexual rights, Duke explained.

Still, the committee did not directly speak to and oppose Kagan’s nomination, Moore said." 5

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Southern Baptists Announce Initiative to 'Convert' Gays," at: http://www.communitiesbychoice.org/
  2. Nevin Jefferson, "Jesus, protect us from Your followers," Seattle Gay News Online, 2003-JUL-3.
  3. Tammi Reed Ledbetter, "WRAP-UP: Conventions urge ministry in schools, not 'exit strategy'," Baptist Press, 2006-DEC-07, at: http://www.bpnews.net/
  4. Lee Williamns & Bill Miller, "Broadway Baptist kicked out of Southern Baptist Convention," The Star Telegram, 2009-JUN-23, at: http://www.star-telegram.com/
  5. Marv Knox, SBC resolutions highlight Gulf, family, homosexuality," Baptist Standard, 2010-JUN-16, at: http://www.baptiststandard.com/

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Copyright 1997 to 2010 Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2010-OCT-30

Author: B.A. Robinson
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