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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Southern Baptists Called On To Reach Homosexuals

During the report of the Richard Land's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Bob Stith, the national strategist for gender issues for the Southern Baptist Convention called on Southern Baptist pastors to "reach out to homosexuals."

Follow the Jesus pattern and show 'em some love, says Stith

Here's what Bob Stith actually said:

“We must become known as people of redemption and people who hold out hope and people who offer change...I want us to be driven [by] a passion to reach homosexuals for Christ and not merely driven by a passion to defeat the homosexual agenda...We’re not communicating to our people how they can walk alongside homosexuals and lead them to Christ...Our silence will be a death sentence for many people.”

And how did the ERLC of the Southern Baptist Convention "reach out to homosexuals" in the year 2008?

Well, the ERLC was one of the first religious organizations to vehemently oppose a bill that would have protected homosexuals under current hate crimes law.

If the Southern Baptist Convention was really interested in "reaching out to homosexuals," you'd think their own ERLC wouldn't be so quick to loudly oppose a piece of legislation designed persons who are often victimized by criminals on the basis of their sexuality or "lifestyle" as most SBCers say.

The folks at the ERLC consistently hide behind the argument that hate crimes legislation is a violation of the 14th Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law by creating a special protected status for a group of people. It seems consistency would demand that the ERLC should also argue that the protection of African-Americans under current hate crimes law is also a violation of the 14th amendment. But the ERLC won't make that argument. It's abundantly clear to any reasonable observer that the ERLC's issue is not with the 14th Amendment but instead with the fact that a piece of goverment legislation wants to protect a group of people dubbed as "sinners" - who rank near the top of the Southern Baptist hierarchy of "sinners."

If Southern Baptists like Bob Stith and the ERLC are actually interested in "reaching out to homosexuals," they would be well-served to first listen to the wise words of Baptist ethicist David Gushee (a former collaborator with Richard Land & the ERLC) and follow the Christian Commitments listed below:

-- The complete rejection of still-common forms of speech in which anti-homosexual slurs (�queer,� �fag�) are employed either in jest or in all seriousness

-- The complete rejection of a heart attitude of hatred, loathing, and fear toward homosexuals

-- The complete rejection of any form of bullying directed against homosexuals or those thought to be homosexuals

-- The complete rejection of political demagoguery in which homosexuals are scapegoated for our nation�s social ills and used as tools for partisan politics

-- The complete rejection of casual, imprecise and erroneous factual claims about homosexuality in preaching, teaching or private speech, such as, �All homosexuals choose to be that way.�

-- The complete recognition of the full dignity and humanity of the homosexual as a person made in God�s image and sacred in God�s sight

-- The complete recognition that in any faith community of any size one will find persons wrestling with homosexuality, either in their own lives or the lives of people that they love

-- The complete recognition that when Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, that includes especially our homosexual neighbors, because the more a group is hated, the more they need Christ�s love through us

There is more to be said. But this is at least a place to start.

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Blogger The Whited Sepulchre said...


Thanks for posting the list of commitments. Good stuff.

The problem with hate crimes legislation, though, is that it stifles free speech. Vigorous enforcement of existing laws would be more effective than trying to turn judges and juries into mind readers who are asked to determine what is hate.

The same rights and protections afforded to skinheads in Alabama should be given to gays and lesbians. That includes the right to marry.

Setting up multiple Identity Politics categories accomplishes nothing that shouldn't be covered by existing law, and it also promotes the idea that there really is a monolithic "gay agenda".

6:54 PM

Blogger Michael said...

Without a doubt Southern Baptists have done damage to themselves on the issue of homosexuality. There is more hate than love coming from Baptists regarding this issue. That being said, I don't think hate crimes legislation is the answer. The answer isn't political. It's a condition of the heart.

9:50 AM

Anonymous kergy said...

Just watch the antics of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, enforcing Canada's hate crimes law, to see where that leads.

8:45 PM


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