And Then There’s the Blowback….

So a few days ago, I posted about a new Evangelical organization supportive of same-sex marriage. Lest readers get too excited, there’s plenty of evidence that the more conservative churches won’t go down that road without a very substantial fight. According to Baptist Press, 

 FRESNO, Calif. (BP) — The California Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Board voted Thursday (Sept. 11) to withdraw fellowship from a church whose pastor says he believes homosexual acts are not always sinful.

In a unanimous vote of the 35 members present (six were absent), the board voted to withdraw fellowship from New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., for holding beliefs contrary to the Baptist Faith & Message. Article XVIII of the BF&M defines marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” Article XV states, “Christians should oppose … all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.”

If the Southern Baptists want to dictate proper sexual behavior to their members, they are of course entitled to do so.

I just wish they–and similar churches–would spend half as much time and energy preaching against predatory behaviors, exploitation of the poor and powerless, and moral smugness (what their bibles call, if I recall, “stiff-neckness”). Or–let me go out on a real limb here–how about “forms of immorality” like wife-beating and child abuse?

Maybe the Southern Baptist Convention has issued an official statement on the recent NFL scandals, but my quick google didn’t find one. The Convention did find Michael Sams’ on-camera kiss worthy of an official condemnation, however:

Be it resolved that we believe that it is inappropriate for children to be subjected to having to watch same-sex couples engage in public displays of affection while watching a sports-related event on allegedly family-friendly channels. We discourage any further televising of such events. While there is a missing airplane somewhere in the Far East, over 200 kidnapped girls from Nigeria, and high unemployment in America, we respectfully request the President of the United States to refrain from congratulating and extending well wishes to any future homosexual professional sports players, unless simultaneously he is going to make celebratory and well wishes calls to the likes of Tim Tebow, Prince Amukamara—the “Black Tim Tebow,” and AC Green, professional athletes committed to sexual purity.

Interesting moral priorities….


  1. Actually, moral smugness is not what the Bible means when it refers to the Israelites as “stiff-necked.” Rather, In the Bible, “stiff-necked” means “Stubborn; inflexibly obstinate.” ( In the Bible, there is no extension of this obstinacy to any hint of moral supremacy or smugness (an ox is stiff-necked). Smugness was associated with stiff-neckedness starting in the Middle Ages, I think. However, if you want to call the Baptists stubborn and inflexibly obstinate, I’m OK with that.

  2. I find it totally disappointing and discouraging that so-called main stream religious institutions remain silent concerning human rights or labor rights in general in the USA or overseas. These Religious Institutions may set up soup kitchens, food pantries, pass the hat for someones medical bills, etc, – lets hug and pray. They totally fail in identifying or protesting the economic and political conditions which have led to people being forced to accept Charity or Government Assistance.

    I may have missed it but did any of the main stream Religious Institutions rise up and protest the Wall Street Vulture Capitalism which led to our last and enduring recession??

    It seems Sex – Same Sex, or contraceptives is what Rings the Church Bells.

  3. Yes, perhaps a common source of confusion in our public discourse comes from discussions about politics in general vs the law.

    If there is one thing that stands out about our law it is our freedoms, notably free speech. Thus anyone is free to speak out about any position on any topic without fear of legal censorship. In fact if you believe in the power, not just the freedom, of democracy, the rich public discussions about all issues is the evidence that all sides are considered in the search for the middle of the road.

    I made my decision about who to marry 50 years ago. I didn’t expect, nor would I probably have accepted, anyone else’s opinion (except my wife’s) in that decision.

    Both the Baptists and the LGBT community are free to state their personal preferences all that they want. I wish them good luck in their choice.

    My position is legal freedom.

  4. Louie, you haven’t been listening. And it is not surprising considering that many loud and persistent voices are hung up on what some call “pelvic theology.”

    Nonetheless, the Presbyterians have rocked their boat recently with serious proclamations on vital social issues as have the Episcopalians. The Methodists, the Disciples, and other “main stream” groups have also had much to say. The United Church of Christ and the Church of the Brethren are even more outspoken on these issues. And listen to the Pope. He has a lot to say and says it quite straightforwardly.

  5. Louie: pick up any issue of the Catholic archdiocese of Indianapolis’ newsletter and let me know if social justice issues are not on the front page. You can subscribe to it for free.

    I *joined* the Roman Catholic Church partly because I respect its position on immigration reform so much. It’s got a ways to go on the “pelvic issues,” quite frankly, but most churches are hardly sitting down over there in the darkness of the Middle Ages.

    Pope Francis is one of the most vocal and outspoken critics of the excesses of capitalism, short of being literally at Occupy Wall Street.

    I may have missed it, but can I just ask: where are the members of the U.S. Congress, beyond Elizabeth Warren and a tiny handful of others, who speak out against that selfsame Vulture Capitalism and the lobbyists who have our government at their beck and command?

  6. BTW, you may hear a rumor begun by my wife that I advocate marriage to be between one man and one dog. I categorically deny that. While my dog agrees with 100% of my ideas, and my wife with only a select few, I don’t believe that that is an adequate basis for redefining marriage.

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