Sunday, November 12, 2006

N.C. Baptists Hunting Witches

The Alliance of Baptists, which was formed in 1986 largely by North Carolina Southern Baptists alarmed by the fundamentalist takeover of their denomination, issued a statement on same-sex marriage prior to the presidential election of 2004:
...we of the Alliance of Baptists decry the politicization of same-sex marriage in the current presidential contest and other races for public office. We specifically reject the proposed amendments to the constitution of the United States and state constitutions that would enshrine discrimination against sexual minorities and define marriage in such a way as to deny same-sex couples a legal framework in which to provide for one another and those entrusted to their care.

As Christians and as Baptists, we particularly lament the denigration of our gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender sisters and brothers in this debate by those who claim to speak for God....

For this great sin of tolerance, member churches of the Alliance of Baptists in North Carolina are being sniffed out as heretics by the Baptist State Convention, set to meet this coming week. Members of churches that support the Alliance have already been barred from serving as trustees of any Baptist institution. Now the fundamentalists intend to kick those churches completely out of the denomination. According to the Charlotte Observer today,
The state convention will initially investigate about 20 churches because they are listed on the Alliance of Baptists' Web site as a supporter.

"Those churches that are listed are immediately under suspicion and opened to being questioned," [said state convention spokesman Norman Jameson].

Being "under suspicion" is evidently tantamount to ... well, YOU know.

Thus doth the N.C. Baptist State Convention repudiate the spirit and meaning of Matthew 9:10-13:
And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

"I will have mercy and not sacrifice." Not so much in North Carolina.

MONDAY UPDATE: The Rev. K. Allan Blume of Watauga County's mega-church, Mt. Vernon Baptist, and vice president of the board of directors of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, is quoted in the N&O tsk-tsking that it's become sadly necessary to "discipline" Southern Baptists who have grown dangerously tolerant of queers.

Thus ending any suspense that Watauga Christians would not be recognized statewide as the opposite of tolerant. It's a good day for pharisees.

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