Part 2: The Intersection Of Faith & Politics In America
Pastor Bryant Wright, The President of the Southern Baptist Convention - Embodies Baptist Blasphemy
Pastor Bryant Wright, The President of the Southern Baptist Convention - Embodies Baptist Blasphemy
Since the year 2000, the Baptist Churches of the Southern Baptist Convention took a sharp right turn. They declared that pastoral roles could only be held by men, declared homosexuality is immoral, and made a commitment to speak for the unborn.
Scripture had always guided the Church previously, and for the first time, politics trumped scripture. A North Carolina Pastor gave his congregation special dispensation to physically attack their child if the child acts “gay.” A Georgia Pastor said that the American public has accepted the “lies of the devil” which is “Nazi propaganda” for saying gay people are born that way.
In part 2 of our Intersection of Faith & Politics Series, we look at the Southern Baptist Convention and their faith, examine their politics, and profile Pastor Sean Harris and divisive SBC President, Pastor Bryant Wright
What is the Southern Baptist Convention?
The Southern Baptist Convention is a Christian denomination, with more than 16 million members in the United States. It is the second largest Christian religion, and the largest Protestant religion in the US today. Contrary to what their name might lead you to believe, the church is not regional, as there are churches from coast to coast, and represented in 41 states.
This loose alliance of disparate congregations first drafted, and then adopted, the Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) in 1925. The BF&M outlines the Church’s theology and ideology, that’s supported and articulated in scripture. SBC member churches are not required to adhere to the BF&M, and they don’t have to use it as their statement of doctrine.
The BF&M has only been changed or revised a few times since 1925. The churches of the Southern Baptist Convention who choose to ascribe to the BF&M Statement agree that:
Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried.
For many years the Baptist Faith and Message Statement of 1963 represented the doctrine of faith, and in 2000, the Faith and Message Statement was revised. There is a section of the Faith and Message Statement that addresses membership “behaviors.” Section XV. is called The Christian and the Social Order, and in the year 2000, the following text was added.
n the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.
We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.
The Christian should oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice.
The Church had no position prior to 2000 on racism, abortion, and sexual immorality. The Baptist Church changed a great deal in 2000. Right-wing evangelicals seized control of the church from moderates, and stated that pastoral roles could only be fulfilled by men.
"While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture." The statement cites 1 Timothy 2:9-14, which says in part, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man."
There is no consensus among ecumenical scholars regarding the validity of that passage.
The SBC also made this statement in 1998, and said that a wife should "submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband."
What always impressed me about the Baptist Faith, is that their Faith and Message Statement was rooted in the Bible, and based on scripture. In 2000, they completely departed from those ideals in order to pursue a political agenda, and become aligned with the Republican Party. The “Fundamentalists” took over, and that’s where we are today.
There are wide gulfs that continue to divide the church, and center around doctrinal debates related to Biblical inerrancy and literalism, acceptance of modern science, the war on women and the ordination of women, and human sexuality.
I saw something on the news!SBC has been in the news, and under a national spotlight, over the last couple weeks.
Pastor Sean Harris, North CarolinaA North Carolina Pastor gave his congregation special dispensation to physically attack their child if the child acts “gay.” A Georgia Pastor said that the American public has accepted the “lies of the devil” which is just like “Nazi propaganda,” for accepting that LGBT people are born that way.
Pastor Sean Harris was in the news for advocating violence toward children. He belongs to the “beat the gay out of your child” school of parenting. During a recent Sunday sermon, this pastor said:
Dad’s, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? "You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male."
And when your daughter starts acting too butch you reign her in. And you say, "Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up."
And the worst part of this, is the fact that this wackadoo Baptist Pastor said:
You say, "Can I take charge like that as a parent?"
Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that.
Pastor Harris also said that "The Bible makes no compromise on effeminate behavior. God created you a male, God created you a female. If you were created a male, you are to act like a man."
I’ve never seen anything close to that written in scripture, and would love to have the good Pastor show me the passage he is referring to. This must be a trend within the Baptist Church, of making things up to suit your sermon, or suit your political agenda.
This holy roller thinks he’s so “holy” and knowledgeable, and respected and smart, that he speaks for God, and has the absolute moral authority to hand out a “special dispensation” for beating up one’s child in the name of the Lord, to essentially “beat the gay out” of a child. This is wrong on so many levels, that I don’t know where to begin. Baptist blasphemy first comes to mind.
My father repeatedly tried to “beat the gay” out of me, when I was 4, when I was 5, when I was 6, and when I was 7. As I got closer to turning 8, he stopped. Needless to say, I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t work, and you can’t “beat the gay” out of your child. Anyone who thinks differently belongs in jail. The wounds heal, and the bruises fade, but the scars remain forever.
Pastor Bryant Wright, GeorgiaA Baptist Pastor based in Marietta, Georgia recently delivered a sermon to his congregation called “When Homosexual Behavior Is A Big Issue.” During the course of his hour long sermon, he makes the tried and true argument that “homosexuals engage in sinful homosexual behavior” that they’ve learned, and that God isn’t responsible for creating or causing sinful acts, or sinful behavior. The church and scripture is clear according to him, and he says scripture doesn’t support that.
He declared that it’s “one of those common lies of the devil that is repeated so much over and over again, that now the majority of the American public believe it’s true.”
He’s shocked that people have bought the lie that a human being is born gay. He goes on to say that we learned from the Nazi’s in World War II how they approached propaganda. Since they believed “wholeheartedly that if you repeat an outrageous lie over and over again, that people will start to believe it.” The homosexuals have done the same thing, he opines.
This Pastor’s warped opinion conflates the widely held views surrounding “homosexuality” and the public support for marriage equality and nondiscrimination laws, with Nazi propaganda and German support of the Nazi party and Adolf Hitler’s agenda, prior to the start of World War II. That’s a bit of a stretch, if you ask me.
How does the Pastor draw that conclusion you might ask? Since he knows what other people don’t know, he makes the claim that the Nazi propaganda machine was all about telling outrageous lie after outrageous lie, until the public bought whatever they said hook, line and sinker. He thinks the homosexuals did the same thing, and told lie after lie, until the public bought our lies hook, line and sinker.
But he is smarter than everyone, and didn’t buy any of our lies. Therefore, he can point to the queers and say “Nazi propaganda,” and he’s hopeful that his congregants buy his propaganda hook, line and sinker too. (I don’t buy any of this pastor’s bullshit, hook, line or sinker - in case you are asking).
If you were to accept his reasoning, just for arguments sake, the next logical question would be that since he posits that God isn’t responsible for sinful behavior, and we are all God’s children, why does he keep producing LGBT people if he’s not responsible for sinful behavior?
This pastor appeared on my radar when I received a press release from Faith in America, calling on him to apologize for the “Nazi” remarks made in his sermon. I found his sermon in mp3 format, downloaded it, and started to listen. Not long into the sermon, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I couldn’t believe that any Pastor would make some of the blasphemous statements about my community, that he made.
I strongly support Faith in America, and the work that they do. They are smack dab in the middle of the Bible belt, and they’re committed to fighting religious bigotry. I’d been wanting to write a little more about faith and politics, and also decided to create a video, that has his sermon as the centerpiece, with a reply to refute his inaccurate and blasphemous statements.
The Georgia pastor who made the incendiary remarks, Bryant Wright, is also the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. In essence, he is the Pope, or the head honcho, of the second largest Christian denomination in the United States.
As I brushed up on some Bible study this past weekend, I remembered what I was taught in Sunday school, and what I learned from going to church. It isn’t any different from what’s taught in most Christian churches today. The Bible is a guide, or a metaphor, that embodies the spirit of Christ. If we emulate his example, our country and our planet will be a better place to live.
I know that’s an overly simplistic view, and why should we complicate things, when that’s the essence of the truth.
I’m not a Biblical scholar, but have studied scripture, and I can go to bat with the best of them, when it comes to a debate. This is not a debate, so I feel it is imperative that I address the issue surrounding what the Bible really says about human sexuality, and marriage equality.
What Does The Bible Say About Me?What does the Bible say about gay marriage, and gay relationships in general?
The Bible says NOTHING about commited LGBT relationships, and it says NOTHING about same-sex marriage. Did you hear me? It says NOTHING!
If you’d like to talk about Nazi style propaganda, let’s start with the religious folks who have been lying about what the Bible really says.
The words sexuality, heterosexual, homosexual, and marriage, as well as their meanings, are a modern construct. The theories, industries, politics, and debate that currently exist around these social issues, did not exist, when the passages of the Bible was assembled into a written work.
When we hear about passages in Leviticus or the book of Romans, they must be considered in the spirit of the time that they were written. They are not pronouncements about gay rights or LGBT relationships. In actuality, the passages that talk about how “lying with a man” is an abomination, is addressing “holy behavior” that is applicable thousands of years ago, it isn’t a judgement about an LGBT individual, or the community as a whole.
Any credible Biblical scholar will tell you that the word of God represented by the Bible, is a guide, and that any text should be considered within the historical context of the time it was written.
In my opinion, the most criminal and egregious affront to human dignity, is the anti-gay war that the religious right has waged against our community, for over 10 years. Politicians and religious leaders have draped every corner of their being with the Bible, and discussed it as if the Bible was a safe haven, where they could hate and lie with impunity. They use the Bible as their license to sew hate, and that license isn’t there, it doesn’t exist.
The worse part is that this war has been predicated on faulty misinterpretations of what the Bible really says, and right wing extremists have made wholesale inventions of what they want the Bible to say.
There isn’t one shred of credible evidence or scholarly study that supports the extremist evangelical point of view. And in fact, there are mountains of evidence to support the opposite view, that we are all God’s children.
The Bible is less controversial than you or I imagined. People invent controversy, the Bible doesn’t. The Bible believes everyone is worthy of love, regardless of who one’s partner is.
If you watch the video below, you will see how I chose to debunk Bryant Wright’s slanderous remarks. After you hear it for yourself, you can decide for yourself.
I have zero tolerance for people who lie about God, and claim to know all of his intentions.
Pastor Harris and Pastor Wright knowingly made incendiary remarks about their neighbors, and scripture, which doesn’t reflect God’s word.
In the book of Matthew 22:36-40, it says:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
It’s pretty straight forward and you don’t need an ecumenical scholar to interpret what it says. If you eliminated 8 of the 10 commandments, and the rest of God’s word, you should love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Some Baptists have lost their way, and need to reflect on scripture. They would do well to heed that missive as well. Pastor Wright has either forgotten how to love thy neighbor, or he’s not interested. If he’s not interested, he has no business standing in front of his congregation., or the SBC. Wright’s obsession with politics, instead of scripture, precludes him from embracing the Gospel as he should.
It’s Baptist blasphemy - and I don’t mind telling you that myself.
You heard it here first folks, so go now and spread the good word.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.
straight talk in a queer world.
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