Southern Baptist Church: Blacks, O.K. Gays? Not So Much
If you read the title and thought, Duh?, you probably made the same initial mistake I did. To clear things up: the Westboro Baptist Church, as per the infamous title of its website, is still vigilant as Atlas in upholding a homophobic global vision. Don’t fret. More surprising: the Southern Baptist Church (SBC), America’s “largest Protestant denomination,” has joined in—at least in part.
The Associated Press reports that last Wednesday, at the annual Southern Baptist Convention, thousands of delegates “were nearly unanimous” in defining marriage as the exclusive pairing of one man and one woman. More than simply denying gays and lesbians the right to marry, however, the convention was also pleased to deny homosexuals the pleasure of sexual interaction, declaring “‘all sexual behavior outside of marriage is sinful.’”
You might think this leaves homosexuals in a bit of a pickle, but the SBC has a handy solution in mind. In a phrase: gays should choose to not be gay. At least that was the suggestion made by the Rev. Dwight McKissic, who impugned the credibility of scientific evidence which regards homosexuality as a benign factor of biology. We might wonder when the SBC became expert in dissecting the nuances of scientific investigation, but I have a tricky feeling the reverend would rather we didn’t.
Nevertheless, the church’s institutional ban on gay marriage is even more alarming given its interest in ameliorating its “legacy of racism,” now that we have an African-American president. But apparently the church’s empathy for historically marginalized groups extends only so far; skin color might not be a marker of sinfulness, the argument seems to go, but sexuality certainly is. So while the SBC remains against “‘any form [of] gay bashing,’” its recent ruling will likely leave many in protest.
And if you’re wondering what the church’s stance is on African-Americans who also happen to be gay, well, join the club. So am I.
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