Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Church Punished for Perceived Acceptance of Homosexuality

Yesterday, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) broke ties with the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. The reason: the church allowed pictures of homosexual church members to be published in its membership directory. While a number of religious institutions are outspoken regarding their rejection of homosexuality, this latest action by the SBC proves once again how homophobia is alive and well among many religious communities.

Broadway Baptist Church had been affiliated with the SBC for 125 years, and it took the convention 30 seconds to officially sever ties over the church's membership directory. Article III of the SBC Constitution states, "Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior". Proir to the meeting of the SBC this year, a group of deacons from Broadway Baptist church wrote a letter regarding their stance on homosexuality. In it, they wrote, "We have not denied that we, like most other churches, have a few gay members. We do not inquire about sexual orientation when people present themselves for membership. We do require their profession of faith in Jesus Christ as Lord followed by believer's baptism". Apparently, the SBC saw the inclusion photographs of "a few gay members" in Broadway's membership directory as a ringing endorsement for homosexuality.

There appear to be few viable options for queer-identified individuals who would like to be affiliated with the SBC. Aside from being "cured" of their infliction, what's a queer baptist to do? Perhaps it is time for the SBC, along with other religious organizations, to reconsider their stance on homosexuality - before homosexuals reconsider their stance on religion.


Laura said...

This is disgusting. I love that the entire premise behind religion is to love and accept everyone....sorry a bit cynical, but this it is ridiculous that this still happens.

Emily Miller said...

The last line is brilliant, Bonnie. I have often wondered why religious groups seem to target homosexuals. Why don't they focus on adulterers, liars, gluttonous people, envious people, etc...? (Aka the things that affect a much higher percentage of their memberships.) I guess it's a group dynamics thing. They enjoy rallying their troops by making it an "us" versus "them" situation... It won't be long before religious institutions have to reconsider their attitudes toward homosexuality, as a much more open-minded generation (that thinks civil rights are neat) is reaching adulthood...