The Anglicans aren’t the only Christian denomination debating the gays. The North American Baptist Fellowship has denied two pro-gay groups access to next year’s New Baptist Covenant, a “unifying” conference spearheaded by former President Jimmy Carter.
NABF president Alan Stanford told The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists (AWAB) and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America that they should butt out of the conference. Insisting he’s not trying to discrimination against the groups, nor their gays, Stanford wrote to the groups,
[The rejection's] a recognition we can not hold together the large coalition of Baptists needed to create a new Baptist voice in North America and address the issue of sexual orientation at the same time.
Stanford thanks them for their “forbearance and understanding”.
AWAB director Ken Pennings says he understands exactly what’s going on:
Here we are at a critical juncture when Baptists of all stripes are coming together to take a strong stand for justice for all of God’s children, and the very people in American society being scapegoated and marginalized the most â€¦ are not going to be invited to participate.
This really is more like the Old Covenant than the New Covenant. Thereâ€™s nothing new about this; itâ€™s the same old exclusion.
Stanford tells The Christian Post, however, that the 20,000-strong conference wants to “focus on are things we’re going to agree on.” And apparently homophobia’s very popular in the Baptist ranks.