Baptist Post on differences between Romney and Obama on equality
October 8th, 2012
The Baptist Post has identified what it considers to be substantial differences between the two candidates when it comes to equality. While I’m sure their audience has a different response to the article, I thank them for providing such a clear distinction.
When future historians write about the 21st-century debate over gay marriage, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama will be featured prominently.
Romney was governor of Massachusetts when the state’s highest court issued its first-in-the-nation decision legalizing gay marriage, and he not only fought to have the ruling overturned but also supported an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as between a man and a woman.
Obama voted against that federal marriage amendment as a U.S. senator, and once he was president he became the first sitting U.S. president to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and also to endorse gay marriage.
While I very much doubt that Mitt Romney will garner more than a footnote in future historians’ discussion about equality, the article does list a number of differences and is worth reading as a reminder of how the two candidates view your citizenship, your rights, and your humanity.
Dallas Baptist Pastor Blasts Congregation and Fellow Pastors for Opposing Marriage Equality
June 8th, 2012
Here’s another reason why President Barack Obama’s evolution on same-sex marriage matters. Rev. Frederick D. Haynes III of the Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas came to Obama’s defense — and, in his way, to the defense of gay people as well:
…But whatever you like to ostracize other people it’s because there’s a fear that you have yourself, and the fear that you have finds itself rooted in an ignorance of other people. Or in a projection of your issues. Either there’s ignorance or there is a projection of your issues…It really blows my mind how outraged you are. You are so outraged over what the President said. …
…Have you ever read the Gospel and heard Jesus say anything about homosexuality?…Black folk can’t even deal with homosexuality because we got issues with sexuality. And because we got issues with sexuality we can’t have a healthy discussion about homosexuality. Why, why do you get so upset?”
Now this is the sermon I’ve been waiting to hear
May 25th, 2012
Wake Forest University is a Baptist school. It was built by North Carolina baptist preachers to serve a baptist populace and is affiliated with the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Though primarily secular today, it’s baptist heritage is no small part of its culture.
Which is why this article published by the Associated Baptist Press by Bill Leonard, the James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies at the School of Divinity, Wake Forest University, makes this the baptist response that was desperately needed. That, and the fact that Leonard pulls no punches.
But tonight I am ashamed, because I heard a Baptist pastor say things so abhorrent to the gospel of Jesus that I could not keep conscience with my Baptist forebears and remain silent. In what appears to be a May 13 sermon, Charles Worley declared: “Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there,” Then he continues: “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. Feed them, and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out. Do you know why? They can’t reproduce!”
I’ve listened to those statements multiple times, each time hoping that I’m not hearing what I think I’m hearing. But I am.
That a person who serves a congregation calling itself Baptist would utilize such brutal words is not simply an affront to the men and women he wishes death upon, but to all who “name the name of Christ.” So dastardly are those words and the sentiment behind them that those of us who value the Baptist tradition must demand repentance of this fallen Christian brother.
Amen! Preach it!
SBC Leader denounces death camp pastor
May 24th, 2012
From the website of Dr. Warren Throckmorton:
I asked Bob Stith, National Strategist for Gender Issues at the Southern Baptist Convention, for his reaction and he said Worley’s words were “a vile outburst” and said,
I think it is important to say in the strongest terms how disgusting and unchristian his comments are.
He added that the church is not in the Southern Baptist Convention.
I want to commend Stith on his response. I wish it were heard more broadly.
The complicity of silence
May 22nd, 2012
It isn’t reasonable to hold one pastor responsible for what another one preaches. There is a great deal of diversity of thought and theology within Christendom and there is no presumption that what is said from the pulpit at First Baptist Church in any way mirrors the beliefs of All Saints Episcopal Church. We don’t hold one church accountable.
But sometimes something so outlandish is said in the name of faith that it requires a denunciation. A rejection. A refutation.
And the words of North Carolina pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church calling for placing gays and lesbians behind electric fences is beyond the pale. This is not a casual suggestion, this is not a theological position, this is not a difference of perspective, this is not an idea with which we are unfamiliar and about which reasonable people could differ. This is advocacy for evil.
So now we will see whether The Church responds.
Certainly there will be those who are asked and who will, naturally, say that they do not support such a notion. But will they be willing to call such a sermon evil or ungodly? Will they be willing to publicly refute Worley and chastise him? Are they brave enough to declare that such a proposition is anti-Christ and that it reflects a heart that is not right with God? Will whatever Baptist organization with which he is affiliated pull his license?
These are not just reasonable responses, they are required responses. When a sermon calls for an act that is of such a level of evil, godly persons cannot stand by and claim that they have no responsibility.
To say nothing is to condone Worley’s position. So be silent is to be complicit.
Church, take notice. It is your response by which today’s youth will judge you. If you say nothing, those who are unchurched will assume that Worley speaks for you.
It is a reasonable assumption.
The Baptist position on marriage
March 20th, 2012
For the non-religious, this commentary may be meaningless. But those schooled in the minutia of denominational affiliation know that one of the pride points of being a Baptist is (or until recently has been) congregational independence.
Which makes Jimmy Carter’s position on civil marriage far more Baptist than that of the increasingly autocratic Southern Baptist Convention:
I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.
I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.
Pullen Baptist bans marriages
November 21st, 2011
All weddings, gay or straight. Or, at least until the state changes its laws. (newsobserver)
The congregants said in a formal statement that current North Carolina law – and the language proposed for a vote next year on an amendment to the state Constitution – discriminates against same-sex couples “by denying them the rights and privileges enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.”
“As people of faith, affirming the Christian teaching that before God all people are equal, we will no longer participate in this discrimination,” the church’s statement says.
They will continue to observe holy unions – mixed or same-sex – at this traditionally progressive church. But if you want the government’s stamp of approval on your marriage, you’ll have to get it elsewhere. Because Pullen Memorial isn’t in the discrimination business.
Peter Gomes: a powerful voice for gay Christians passes
March 1st, 2011
As minister of Memorial Church of Harvard University since 1970, Peter Gomes held a pulpit of prestige. An international preacher, Gomes was highly respected and his influence ranged from discussing theology with the Queen Mum to offering prayers and sermons at the inaugurals of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Every Harvard alumnus for the past 40 years has started and ended their education with his advice.
But for me, Gomes will be remembered as the author of The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart, a book which allowed me to look at some of my presumptions and question my own interaction with faith. The premise of this work, which really isn’t all that surprising, is that few Christians have much working knowledge of the Bible, know how to read it, or feel confident to understand what it says. Instead they opt for a deification of the image of the Bible rather than attempting to apply the truths found in its contents.
And it was demystifying the Bible and shaking up Christianity’s comfortable assumptions that consumed the past few decades of his life. Although a life-long Republican of the Massachusetts variety (until a recent registration change to support Deval Patrick), he viewed Jesus as a social revolutionary whose gospel would not be much welcomed in today’s established Christianity and deplored the way in which Scriptural literalism could be text proofed to support just about any social injustice.
In 1991 Gomes came out as gay, (NY Times)
Then, in 1991, he appeared before an angry crowd of students, faculty members and administrators protesting homophobic articles in a conservative campus magazine whose distribution had led to a spate of harassment and slurs against gay men and lesbians on campus. Mr. Gomes, putting his reputation and career on the line, announced that he was “a Christian who happens as well to be gay.”
When the cheers faded, there were expressions of surprise from the Establishment, and a few calls for his resignation, which were ignored. The announcement changed little in Mr. Gomes’s private life; he had never married and said he was celibate by choice. But it was a turning point for him professionally.
“I now have an unambiguous vocation — a mission — to address the religious causes and roots of homophobia,” he told The Washington Post months later. “I will devote the rest of my life to addressing the ‘religious case’ against gays.”
Gomes was not hesitant to tie the ‘religious objection to homosexuality’ as preached in American Christianity to the actual mistreatment of homosexual persons as experienced in America. (The Good Book)
Although most contemporary Christians who have moral reservations about homosexuality, and who find affirmation for those reservations in the Bible, do not resort to physical violence and intimidation, they nevertheless contribute to the maintenance of a cultural environment in which less scrupulous opponents of homosexuality are given the sanction of the Bible to feed their prejudice and, in certain cases, cultural “permission” to act with violence upon those prejudices.
As an American Baptist preacher from a very young age, Gomes took the Bible seriously. He took his religion seriously. And it was through his faith, not in spite of it, that he spoke out for tolerance, for understanding, for inclusion, for treating your neighbor like yourself even when you really truly don’t want to, and for adhering to a meaningful thoughtful Christianity rather than a superstitious set of rites, rules and prejudices.
The religious community and the gay community have both lost a guiding light and a powerful advocate.
Southern Baptist concession: churches can also belong to groups which include gay-supportive churches
February 25th, 2011
Southern Baptist Convention churches cannot “affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior”.
A Southern Baptist church cannot have a single gay member.
A Southern Baptist church cannot refuse to take a position on homosexuality. They must actively exclude gay people from the life of the church or they will be kicked out.
A Southern Baptist organization cannot include a single church that fails to actively oppose homosexuality and exclude gay-supportive members. Failure to expel that church will get them evicted from an SBC school campus even if every other member church is ragingly homophobic.
But there is finally, finally, a limit to their anti-gay positioning. You can be a Southern Baptist church that belongs to an organization that is not ragingly homophobic, provided that you are sufficiently anti-gay. (Christian Post)
The Alliance of Baptists affirms gay marriage and permits members of any sexuality.
But the Executive Committee members decided against banning all churches that are members of the Alliance from also being members of the SBC, according to the Associated Baptist Press. Instead, it decided that each church’s qualification should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Of course, that wildly liberal position might not make it past a vote of the convention. It sounds an awful lot like compromise with sin, you see.
There’s still no word as to whether Southern Baptists are allowed to speak to their gay postman, accept change back from their gay grocery clerk, or avoid kicking the dog of their gay neighbors. But I am pretty sure that their gay kids are not to be welcomed at Thanksgiving.
Dispute in Baptistland
January 25th, 2011
Earlier this month we reported that the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary had booted the Tarrant Baptist Association from their space on campus due to the Association fellowshipping with Broadway Baptist Church, a congregation that does not reject gay worshipers. Now it seems that the Seminary didn’t exactly have that right; the Association holds deed to the property on which they reside. (Baptist Standard)
In 1982, the seminary provided Tarrant Baptist Association land and the funds to build its office building, granting a 99-year lease on the property, Meredith explained. At that time, the seminary and association entered into an affiliation agreement stipulating the property would not be used for commercial activity, and the association and seminary would commit to remaining in theological harmony, he said.
In 1997, the property agreement was renegotiated, and Tarrant Baptist Association received the deed to the property, he said. “The affiliation agreement remained intact,” Meredith added.
Further, it seems that the affiliation agreement has provisions for resolving dispute and the Seminary does not have unilateral determination. A three person panel is supposed to be assembled to mediate a resolution.
But, apparently believing that “but, but, but Teh Ghey!!” trumps all, the Seminary is insisting that the Association give them back the property and go away with their heads hung low in shame. The Association is taking a different position.
Tarrant Baptist Association’s executive board subsequently met a few days later and unanimously approved a motion asking the seminary either to purchase the property from the association at fair market value or submit the matter to a three-person arbitration panel.
It will be interesting to see how this is resolved.
Southern Baptists kick out group that tolerates Broadway Baptist
January 15th, 2011
Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, takes a bit of a don’t ask, don’t tell approach to its gay members. The church avoids taking theological positions on homosexuality – saying that they neither condemn nor condone it – and gay members are fairly open.
But the Southern Baptist Convention has no room for anyone who does not actively condemn gay people and seek to make their lives miserable. To be a Southern Baptist Church in good standing, it is not adequate to delegate such matters to individual conscience. Rather, opposition to homosexuality must take on the importance given to matters of faith such as the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, and redemption from sin.
So in 2009 Broadway Baptist Church was booted from the General Baptist Convention of Texas,
the a statewide affiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention. Baptist organization.
But it seems that the SBC is a lot like a sixth-grade girl who is seeking to control who is popular and who is not. Not only have they banished Broadway Baptist from the ‘cool kids’ clique, but they will kick out anyone who dares be their friend.
And the Tarrant Baptist Association, the Tarrant County group of Southern Baptists, dared to be friendly with Broadway Baptist. In fact, they allowed them to be part of the 395 churches that worked together in the county to provide support, outreach, and growth. How dare they?
So the Tarrant Baptist Association, in turn, was kicked off the campus of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. I’m not kidding. The official county association of Southern Baptist Churches was booted from their office in the Southern Baptist seminary because they didn’t ostracize one church who wasn’t adequately anti-gay. (Christian Post)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has asked an association of churches to leave its Fort Worth, Texas, campus because the seminary says the group has a member church or churches that tolerate homosexuality.
A 1997 affiliation agreement between Tarrant Baptist Association and the seminary for use of an office building on the campus requires that the two organizations remain in “theological harmony.”
The seminary, which is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, contends that the association has violated the agreement for retaining fellowship with a church or churches that don’t adhere to the denomination’s position that homosexuality is a sin.
From time to time some prominent Southern Baptist leader will rhetorically ponder, “Why do the homosexuals think we hate them? We don’t hate them, we love them and want them to live according to God’s Plan for their lives.”
Here is why we think you hate us. Because if one congregation is willing to let gay people even sit in the congregation, you kick them out of fellowship. Because if one collective of churches dares let such a congregation participate in ministry, you kick them out of fellowship.
We think you hate us because if you demonstrate rejection to a group whose only crime is to allow a member church whose only crime is allowing gay individuals to worship, then we KNOW that your animus, your contempt, your derision, and your rejection of gay individuals is of a level that if it is not truly hate then it is impossible to distinguish from it.
SC Baptists confirmed their opposition to your immoral behavior and deviant lifestyle
November 18th, 2010
Just in case you were wondering, the Southern Baptists in South Carolina want to make it perfectly clear that they ain’t like those homo-lovin’ Lutherans. In their state convention they voted on a resolution to remind us – in case we forgot or were confused – that they don’t like Teh Ghey so much. (Greenville online)
The resolution on “homosexuality and religious liberty” noted the constitutional guarantee of freedom of religious expression, “including speech pertaining to social and religious values.” It said Christians “must also use our freedoms to defend traditional marriage, protect the sanctity of human life, and combat the propagation of immoral behavior and deviant lifestyles.”
And they aren’t in confusion about what message they are sending.
“Southern Baptists and other evangelical Christians have been portrayed by the media as intolerant or dangerous because of our commitment to Christ and our belief in biblical precepts,” it said.
Yep. I’d say that pretty much covers it. Intolerant and actively endangering the lives of children who grow up hearing them spew their bile.
More, more, more amicus
September 24th, 2010
Three more amicus briefs were filed today in addition to those of Ed Whelan and Liberty Counsel.
II. MORALITY IS A LEGITIMATE BASIS FOR LEGISLATION.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558(2003), did not abolish the legitimacy of morality as a state interest. Indeed, to have done so would have been both revolutionary and destructive, as morality has long been recognized as a basis for law, and countless laws today rest upon morality. The district court therefore erred in dismissing moral considerations out of hand.
Something called The Hausvater Project, which appears to be related to the parochial schools of the conservative Lutheran Church Missouri Synod filed to support “the right of parents to determine their children’s education”. This one flummoxed me; I have no idea what they are talking about.
Parents have a fundamental right to determine their children’s education, protected under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause. California citizens voting in favor of Prop. 8 (“Prop. 8 Supporters”) had, and on their behalf the defendant-intervenors-appellants (“Prop. 8 Proponents”) in this case continue to have, good reason to regard Prop. 8 as a safeguard of that fundamental constitutional right. Since the safeguarding of a constitutional right properly serves the state’s interest, the district court erred in concluding that Prop. 8 serves no legitimate or compelling state interest. Moreover, parents’ fundamental right to determine their children’s education should take priority over the competing claims of plaintiffs-appellees Kristin Perry et al./same-sex couples (“Prop. 8 Opponents”) who plea for Equal Protection and Due Process rights to same-sex marriage.
It seems that they are arguing that because the Proposition 8 campaign played on the fears of parents (“I learned in class that a prince could marry another prince, and I can marry a princess!”) that therefore it is based in the constitutional right of parents to make sure that public schools condemn the things which they condemn. Or something like that.
Which is an odd argument coming from an organization of parochial schools.
The second part of their argument was that allowing gay people to marry would have a “chilling impact” on the religious freedoms of those who want to stop them. If governments actually treat gay people as full citizens and if schools refer to them as such, then it greatly reduces the impact of those who preach from pulpits that they are not.
Far from furthering a state interest, such religious organizations would be in opposition to a state interest, at least insofar as one accepts the district court’s own identifications of the state’s interest and the religious groups’ motivations. This is not small potatoes.
And if Judge Walker’s decision is left intact it would lead to “nothing short of the abolition of parochial schools and homeschooling.” And then they really go bat-poop crazy. It’s all a plan on the part of the homosexuals to destroy family and society; first they redefine marriage and then they’ll take away our children.
A tremendous burden falls now to this court as to whether those asserting the freedom to chose a spouse of the same sex can secure that socially constructed status apart from denying, with increasing tenacity, the fundamental right of a man and a woman to direct the education of the children whom nature calls their own. The social engineers of incremental strategies favoring same-sex marriage have themselves answered the question in the negative. Whatever disappointment a reversal of the district court’s decision may bring to the particular homosexual couples who originated the complaint, at least they will be liberated from serving as pawns in a larger scheme that ultimately would constrain not only their neighbors’ liberties, but also their own.
And finally we have the amicus brief of
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The California Catholic Conference
The National Association of Evangelicals
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons)
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod
The Calvary Chapel Fellowship of Ministries of California
The Christian and Missionary Alliance
Coral Ridge Ministries Media, Inc.
The Council of Korean Churches in Southern California
Southern California Korean Ministers Association
Holy Movement for America
Believe me, other than all being in the broad category of “Christian” and being devoted to the condemnation of gay people and bringing harm to their lives, these folks have nothing in common. It takes a powerful amount of joint purpose, in this case their religious-based animus towards gay people, to get them in the same room.
And I do find it interesting just who is not present in this joint statement. This, more than most any other document, draws the line between combatants over the religious direction of the nation.
We write separately to answer the district court’s distortion and condemnation of our beliefs as irrational and illegitimate and to defend the constitutional right of citizens and associations of faith to participate fully in the democratic process. Contrary to the aspersions cast by the decision below, our beliefs about marriage are not based on hatred or bigotry. Our support for traditional marriage has vastly more to do with a rich tapestry of affirmative teachings about marriage and family than with doctrines directed at the issue of homosexuality. To be sure, our religious beliefs hold that all sexual acts outside traditional marriage are contrary to God’s will. But our faiths also entreat us to love and embrace those who reject our beliefs, not to hate or mistreat them. Bigotry is contrary to our most basic religious convictions.
A bit ironic when you consider that the purpose of this brief is not to love and embrace those who reject their beliefs, but rather to force by law those beliefs which they cannot persuade through preaching.
Faith communities and religious organizations have a long and vibrant history of upholding marriage as the union of a man and a woman for reasons that have little or nothing to do with homosexuality. Indeed, their support for traditional marriage precedes by centuries the very notion of homosexuality as a recognized sexual orientation (see ER106), not to mention the recent movement for same-sex marriage. Many of this nation’s prominent faith traditions have rich religious narratives that describe and extol the personal, familial, and social virtues of traditional marriage while mentioning homosexuality barely, if at all.
Except, of course, that every single denomination listed decries homosexuality as sinful, rebellious, or evil. Without exception.
The gist of their argument is that it is unfair of Judge Walker to take a side in the religious culture war, that they have the right to try and vote their religious beliefs into law, and besides they loooooove the homosexual, they just want to grant special privilege to those who follow their beliefs.
Heterosexual Menace: Church-Sanctioned Rape, Humiliation and Exile
June 1st, 2010
In 1997, a teenage girl was raped and impregnated by a fellow churchgoer at Trinity Baptist Church in Concord, New Hampshire. When she complained to her pastor, Chuck Phelps, he reported the rape to state youth officials, but police were never able to find the victim. That’s because was shipped of to another church member’s home in Colorado, where she was home-schooled and not allowed to have contact with others her age. And all the while, she was told it was her fault she was raped:
The victim said Phelps told her she would be put up for “church discipline,” where parishioners go before the congregation to apologize for their sins. She asked why. “Pastor Phelps then said that (Willis) may have been 99 percent responsible, but I needed to confess my 1 percent guilt in the situation,” the victim told the police.
“He told me that I should be happy that I didn’t live in Old Testament times because I would have been stoned.”
Fran Earle, the church’s former clerk, witnessed the punishment session. At a night meeting of the church’s fellowship in 1997, Phelps invited Willis to the front of the room. Willis apologized to the group for not being faithful to his wife, Earle said.
“I can remember saying to my husband, I don’t understand it’s any of our business why this is being brought up,” Earle said. Phelps then told parishioners a second matter was at hand; he invited the victim to apologize for getting pregnant.
“I can still see the little girl standing up there with this smile on her face trying to get through this,” Earle said.
Texas Baptists kick out church that isn’t anti-gay enough
May 25th, 2010
Jesus hates you, this I know,
for my preacher tells me so.
And if some church should start to doubt,
we’ll just friggin’ kick them out!
Back in March we told you about Royal Lane Baptist Church in North Dallas who dared (the gall of them) to describe themselves as “a vibrant mosaic of varied racial identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and denominational backgrounds.”
Well the board at the Baptist General Convention of Texas nearly choked on their Krispy Kremes. Because if there is one thing that a Texas Baptist fears, it’s being thought of as tolerant, open minded, or willing to let others come to a differing interpretation of Scripture.
So when they heard that Royal Lane had actually ordained a gay deacon, they polished up their kicking boot. (Dallas Morning News)
The state’s largest Baptist group officially broke ties today with Royal Lane Baptist Church in North Dallas, citing the church’s acceptance of openly gay deacons.
By an overwhelming margin, the executive board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas voted not to accept funds from Royal Lane. The same resolution asked the church to stop indicating in publications that it is a BGCT affiliate.
Randel Everett, executive director of the BGCT, called the decision “painful” but not difficult.
Of course it might be a bit more difficult for those who it actually impacts.
Doug Washington, a Royal Lane deacon and BGCT executive board member, spoke against the resolution. He said the church has two gay deacons, and he praised them as outstanding leaders.
“To say something is wrong with them is to say God made a mistake,” Washington said. “I can’t buy into that.”
The BGCT requires that executive board members and employees be part of a church in good standing with the denomination. Washington said he would be resigning from the board.
Two Royal Lane members are BGCT employees, and Everett said they would have to find another church if they want to keep their jobs.
It is hard to imagine anyone less Christ-like than Randel Everett. I think Royal Lane Baptist Church should be proud to no longer be affiliated with the likes of him.
Yes, Jesus hates you,
Yes, Jesus hates you.
Yes, Jesus hates you,
my preacher tells me so.