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NC Baptists: no homos allowed

“All of us on the moderate side were proud to claim North Carolina as a bastion of reasonable thinking and moderation. It’s clear now that the convention has joined other state units in going fundamentalist.”
— Stan Hastey, executive director of the Alliance of Baptists, in response to the Baptist State Convention “going nuclear” on gays

The bible-thumping bigoted Baptists in my state are meeting in Asheboro, and they’ve just approved a measure to kick out any churches that welcome LGBTs into the flock. The full body votes on it at the annual meeting in November, but it’s sure to pass because most of the tolerant churches plan to leave the fold. (Raleigh N&O;):

The vote cements the conservative direction of the convention, the largest denominational body in North Carolina with about 4,000 affiliated churches. Although the convention adopted a financial policy in 1992 that refused money for churches showing “public approval, promotion or blessing of homosexuality,” the new policy would go further.

It would forbid churches from ordaining gay clergy, making public statements supporting homosexuality or accepting as members people who have refused to “repent of the sin of homosexual behavior.”

Asked whether he thought the policy would be approved by convention delegates, Don Warren, president of the board of directors, answered, “Absolutely.”

“We believe homosexuality is sin, as are many others,” said Warren, a retired textile executive from Gastonia. “But we are not aware of any other sin that has a national organization that promotes its happening beginning in kindergarten and first grade.”

What this now means is that the status of several NC churches, who do open their doors to LGBT parishioners are now in limbo; their membership in the BSC is likely to be revoked.

Many of those churches have not publicly supported or endorsed gays, but they affiliate with the more liberal Alliance of Baptists, an organization based in Washington that welcomes gays as equal members. Twenty-one churches in North Carolina affiliate with the alliance, and many have already left the Baptist State Convention.

…”I don’t like the idea of one Baptist entity telling another Baptist entity who it will cooperate with,” said the Rev. Guy Sayles, pastor of First Baptist Church in Asheville. Sayles said his church, which has 3,000 members, gave $10,000 to the state convention this year and $1,000 to the Alliance of Baptists. He said the church will probably reduce or eliminate its contribution to the state convention, though it would still support Baptist colleges and retirement homes.

Churches listed that have left or plan to leave the BSC for the more liberal Alliance of Baptists group:
Binkley Memorial Baptist, Chapel Hill
Greenwood Forest Baptist, Cary
Millbrook Baptist, Raleigh
Pullen Memorial Baptist, Raleigh
University Baptist, Chapel Hill
Watts Street Baptist, Durham
White Oak Baptist, Clayton

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding