A whole lot of Baptists are trying to put together a 'new Baptist voice', trying to 'transcend their differences and seek common purpose'. I took these quotes from the website for the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, convention planned for early 2008 in Atlanta. I think it's a brilliant thing, and I think their focus is great. Here's another quote from the website:
They specifically committed themselves to their obligation as Christians to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, welcome the strangers among us, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
Alas, not all Baptists are invited to help out. The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists and the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America, both gay-welcoming Baptist groups, have been told that they cannot officially participate. They've been barred from joining the North American Baptist Fellowship, the group behind the convention, and thus cannot be official sponsors of the event.
Alan Stanford, general secretary of the NABF, had this to say: 'This is not a rejection of either organization or the people in those organization[s]. [I]t is a recognition that 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. We ask for your forbearance and understanding.'
Ken Pennings, executive director of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, replied thus: 'This sort of thing ought not to go on in Christ's church. 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 ... are not going to be invited to participate.'
What really gets my goat is that individual churches and groups affiliated with AWAB and BPF are still welcome -- this say to me that 'you can come on along and help us with the grunt work of running this huge event; just don't expect any recognition of your work. Or any discussion of the wrongs done to you, by us and others; nor attempts to make things right.'
This says 'you can belong as long as you just don't bring up that. Might distract people from what they're supposed to be doing.' What is the Church supposed to be doing, if not fighting discrimination?
Funny; I know just how those groups feel.
Here's another one for ya. This boggled me, as witness my comment to Plain Fool's post. That's one pretty narrow definition of 'family', isn't it? Good thing my sister doesn't like to camp; she and my mother and I couldn't camp there, due to the 'sin' of not having a father along. Sorry, y'know, we'd've brought him, but he's been dead for fourteen years now...
Oh, sorry, and I guess my sister and I are too old to be allowed to go camping with our mother. And I guess Karen and her husband can't go, either, because they don't have children. Never mind I might just want to go camping with friends...
The world, my friends, is sometimes a really screwed-up place.