Human Rights Campaign Statement on Expulsion of Myers Park Baptist Church in North Carolina

by HRC Staff

NC Baptist Convention Votes to Expel Church Because of Welcoming and Affirming GLBT Congregants

WASHINGTON -- The North Carolina Baptist Convention voted this morning to expel the Myers Park Baptist Church for welcoming and affirming gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Baptists in their congregation. Last year, the North Carolina Baptists decided to expel any member church that openly accepts and affirms GLBT persons and same-sex relations from the Baptist community.

HRC Religion and Faith Director Harry Knox made the following statement:

"Today the North Carolina Baptist Convention has sought to marginalize Myers Park Baptist Church and their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members. We stand with the principles taught by Jesus by defending those the church and society seeks to marginalize. We thank Rev. Stephen Shoemaker and Nancy Walker, who spoke today, for their prophetic witness in the face of the denomination's miscarriage of God's call to justice. They have called the convention to live up to Jesus' standard and not down to the level of their basest fears."

The exclusion of the 1,970 Myers Park congregants and their lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender members is the first of several partings between the North Carolina State Baptist Convention and members of their community. The Baptist State Convention is also expected to disengage from their cherished institutions and ministries of Baptist colleges and universities, a hospital, five retirement homes and a dozen children's homes.

HRC's Religion and Faith Program gives voice to the fair-minded faithful, opens hearts and minds to new ways of viewing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, and effectively works to reclaim the faith-based debate from the intolerant and radical right.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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