Southern Baptist Petition to be Hand-Delivered; Want to Sign On?

A new coalition announced today (June 8, 2011)that it was starting a petition today on the GetEQUAL website (www.getequal.org), calling on the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) to apologize for the harm its teachings are causing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

Pointing to current teachings and ministries of the SBC, the coalition is attempting to shed light on harmful teachings and actions that individual congregations, pastors, and SBC leadership have embraced, targeting the LGBT community – particularly LGBT youth. These words and actions include everything from counseling parents to kick gay youth out of their homes to the horrifying practices of its “ex-gay” program. In fact, the Southern Baptist Convention is one of the nation’s leading promoters of the so-called “ex-gay” industry, currently being profiled by CNN as part of a three-part series called “The Sissy Boy Experiment.”

The Southern Baptist Convention will be meeting next week in Phoenix for their annual convention, and petition signatures will be delivered there.

“We call on the Southern Baptist Convention to stop misusing the Bible to promote religion-based bigotry and start recognizing the enormous pain and suffering caused by its mistreatment of LGBT people, particularly vulnerable youth,” said Dr. Jack McKinney, a former Southern Baptist minister and spokesperson for Faith in America. “History has not been kind to the Southern Baptist Convention’s record on minorities, and it is making the same awful mistake today by perpetuating abuse against gay people.”

“The anti-gay teachings of the Southern Baptist church nearly led me to suicide,” said Dr. Jerry Stephenson, a former Southern Baptist minister and board member for Truth Wins Out. “I entered an ‘ex-gay’ ministry that falsely claimed I could change my sexual orientation and this led to a deep depression. Only after I accepted my true self was I able to reconcile my faith and sexual orientation. The Southern Baptist Convention needs to apologize because its policies are hurting real people.”

This petition drive is being organized by the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, Believe OutLoud, Faith in America, GetEQUAL, Soulforce and Truth Wins Out.

“Given the arc of justice and the trajectory of history, there is no doubt the SBC will offer a full-fledged apology to the LGBT community in the future,” reads a letter that petition signers will send to SBC’s leadership. “We ask the Southern Baptist Convention to prayerfully consider whether the motive behind the mistreatment and harm toward LGBT individuals, especially youth, is born of political gain and agendas rather the spirit of Christ.”

“The time for this discrimination – especially the insidious bigotry that has been wrapped in the cloak of faith – to end. It’s time for religious entities like the Southern Baptist Convention to apologize for the immense harm they’ve done to our community, and to stop providing cover for politicians to disguise their political bigotry as courageous,” said Robin McGehee, executive director of GetEQUAL. “Stop it now, apologize now, and let us all move forward together.”

Further details about the petition delivery next week in Phoenix will be available in the next few days.

GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GetEQUAL, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.

Faith In America was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization in 2005 to effectively counter-message the bigotry, prejudice and hostility toward the LGBT community being sold to the public for several decades under the guise of religious belief and religious teaching.

Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-gay religious extremism. TWO monitors anti-LGBT organizations, documents their lies and exposes their leaders as charlatans. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality. TWO’s goal is to create a world where LGBT individuals can live openly, honestly and true to themselves.

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