COLUMBIA, S.C. — Messengers to the 189th annual meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention Nov. 10-11 passed two anti-gay resolutions against a repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and the recent passage of LGBT-inclusive hate crimes legislation.
The first resolution said federal hate crimes legislation “could effectively kill the First Amendment freedom of speech by criminalizing any verbal opposition to homosexuals and/or their lifestyle.”
The Convention called upon its members to call their U.S. Senate and House members and ask them to repeal the new legislation, signed by President Obama at the end of October. It also reminded federal legislators “to
keep freedom of speech in our pulpits and the public square.”
The resolution also condemned anti-LGBT violence, asking all citizens “to avoid acts of hatred and violence toward lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered persons and treat our fellow citizens with the kind of civility we would prefer to receive ourselves,” and asked “all believers to love and show compassion toward lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered persons, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who is able to bring true freedom from error and to set free the captives of sin.”
The second resolution asked President Obama not to seek repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy passed by Congress in 1993.
Vote tallies were not readily available.
Let’s offset this discouraging report with the good news that the gay-affirming International Christian Community Churches, based in Asheville, had a successful convocation in Greenville S.C. Nov. 6-8. About 70 people from 7 small churches, mostly in the Carolinas, gathered to celebrate that “God’s kingdom is breaking forth” for gay people and everyone else. This was another example of the diversity that is growing within the Christian faith; there are now about 5,000+ local churches welcoming gay people in North America. Please don’t think the Southern Baptists are the only ones who can define what it means to be Christian. A highlight of the conference was the screening of the indie film, “Veritas: Gay in God’s Army,” by Talmadge Heyward, of Asheville. His powerful film presents the stories of several LGBT people who overcame rejection by their families and recovered their self-esteem through their faith. The film, scheduled for a Bravo showing next year, is available now to local churches, and I strongly recommend it.
Preventing the government from fighting hate crimes against law-abiding, taxpaying, gay Americans is NOT “treating our fellow citizens with the kind of civility we would want to receive ourselves.” If the government refused to do anything about hate crimes against Southern Baptists, how loud would we hear these same people screaming for intervention? It’s sad and abhorrent that many South Carolina Southern Baptists are so pro-hate crimes that they refuse to help fight them and prefer to pretend like their refusal is “love.”
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