Wednesday, June 24, 2009

News from the bible belt

The Southern Baptist Convention voted this week to expel the Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas - a 127 year old historic church in downtown Fort Worth with 2,000 members.

Last fall the church decided to publish a directory including pictures of the families. The brouhaha started when a gay couple asked to be included. After months of negotiating, a compromise solution was reached that the church members pictures be included as small groups rather than families.

But, the Southern Baptist Convention determined that the Broadway Baptist church is too lenient on homosexuality and voted to end its 127 year relationship with the church.

See Broadway Baptist kicked out of Southern Baptist Convention article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

I don't know why this makes me sad - I'm not even a baptist. I guess, with all of the progress that's been made over the last 20-30 years regarding societal acceptance of homosexuals, this underscores just how far we've yet to go.

I've been following this story for a while. This is not a gay affirming church - they have simply chosen to open their doors to everyone. The gay couple even offered to have their pictures taken individually rather than as a couple in order to quell the controversy that ensued. I guess they're considered too lenient because they didn't kick the queers out on their fag butts.

Although, I find myself wondering how would a typical LDS ward would react if an openly gay couple decided to come to church regularly. I know we have, in the MoHo sphere, a few partnered individuals who are active (as active as they can be given their excommunicated status); but, I don't know of any couples. How would people react to two men sitting next to each other in church doing things that other couples do, such as holding hands?

Living in the bible belt, baptists love to tell us Mormon's that we're not Christians. With this sort of Christ-like love and considering the lack of any sort of acceptance in my own church - I'm beginning to wonder if true Christianity can even be found on the earth.


Alan said...

"Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried." - the inimitable, brilliant G. K. Chesterton

Evan said...

Interesting story. I'm happy for the church leaders for doing what they feel is right, and the apparent attitude of the homosexual couple.

Beck said...

I wonder if John's ward would permit a photo of John and Goran to be included in their ward directory? I would hope so.

J G-W said...

Really? You know of others in my situation? I'm not the only one? Please tell me more...!

I have sometimes wondered how my ward would react if my partner attended regularly and we always sat together. My ward was, on the whole, incredibly supportive of me when I shared part of my story in a fast and testimony meeting earlier this year. (Which I describe here and here.) But I still occasionally wonder if that would change if I was more visibly partnered...

What I can say is I have received dinner invitations from ward members that were extended both to me and my husband, and those inviting included individuals who are conventional, theologically conservative believers, not just "liberals."

J G-W said...

Our ward doesn't publish a picture directory. If they did, I'm not sure I would be included, since I'm excommunicated. If they were broad minded enough to include me even though I'm excommunicated, why wouldn't they be broad minded enough to let me appear in the photo with my husband and our son? Who knows.

Numerous members of my ward have had interactions with my husband, and they've all been very positive and genuinely warm. Neither Göran nor I have gotten vibes that either of us were considered "less than" by anybody in the ward.