June 22, 2005
Southern Baptists Change Course on Gay Issues in Schools
'Faith should never be used as a weapon,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution today on "Educating Children" at their annual meeting in Nashville - a more moderate version of a previously submitted resolution entitled "Homosexuality in Public Schools." The earlier resolution encouraged parents to remove their children from public schools that are determined to be "presenting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." The new resolution removed some of the more controversial elements but continues to demonstrate a lack of tolerance for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people by opposing diversity training, anti-bullying courses and safe schools programs.
"Faith should never be used as a weapon," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We are pleased that much of the resolution has changed and we all agree that parents should take an active role in their children's education. But we remain concerned about an extreme faction of the Southern Baptist Convention represented by the original resolution that has turned away from the love and compassion that faith should encourage."
At a press conference in Nashville today, local community members spoke out against the resolution and called for a more tolerant and inclusive atmosphere. Appearing were Charles Warford, a retired Southern Baptist minister Gene Floyd, a Southern Baptist mother of a gay son and Bradley Bullock, a Nashville physician.
"Many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Southern Baptists contribute in very meaningful ways to their local churches and communities," said Solmonese.
The convention also passed a resolution ending their nine-year boycott of the Walt Disney Corporation for their LGBT-friendly policies. This comes in the wake of the American Family Association ending their boycott of Disney as well as the Ford Motor Company.
"The Disney boycott has obviously failed and reaffirms that GLBT friendly corporate policies are good for business," said Solmonese.
Over the past 30 years, the SBC has passed 13 resolutions against gays and lesbians. That is compared to three resolutions on HIV/AIDS and a single resolution against homelessness.
"Instead of bringing families together, the Southern Baptist Convention has a long history of discrimination against gay Americans with resolutions against health insurance for same-sex partners and non-discrimination laws," said Solmonese. "We appreciate the change in the resolution and call on the Southern Baptist Convention and all people of faith to create a culture of reconciliation and dialogue where we can all strive for the highest ideals of our calling."