Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler asked, "What if Tyler Clementi had been in your church?" But exactly what sort of church is Mohler talking about? Tyler Clementi could not possibly have been in a Southern Baptist church -- at least not in a way that would have allowed him to present himself as a gay person -- because the Southern Baptist Convention ousts churches that have gay members. From the Associated Baptist Press 6/23/09: "It took messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting...only 30 seconds to sever a 125-year relationship with a prominent Texas congregation because of the church's perceived toleration of gay members. . . . The messengers chose overwhelmingly to dismiss Broadway Baptist Church...." Why? Because the church had debated the possibility of including pictures of same-sex couples in the church's membership directory. (Ultimately, they chose not to.)
Similarly with Royal Lane Baptist Church, it was asked to remove itself from affiliation with the Baptist General Convention of Texas for the simple reason that the church added to its website a single sentence that served to welcome gays by describing its congregation as "a vibrant mosaic of varied racial identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and denominational backgrounds." (Associated Baptist Press, 3/17/10) That was too much for Baptist denominational officials. Ouster was their version of civility.
So . . . exactly what Southern Baptist church is Al Mohler imagining that Tyler Clementi could have been welcome in?
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