HRC, LGBT Baptists attend Southern Baptist convention

By : Staff Report
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The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and a small group of LGBT Baptists attended a conference put on by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission. The meeting, titled “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage,” was held in Nashville, Tenn. On Oct. 28 to discuss the growing issue of LGBTs and religion.

While some religions have become accepting toward the LGBT population, not all have. A recent survey done by the HRC showed more than 50 percent of LGBT Mississippians who participated in the survey were people of faith, yet 22 percent of them had received harassment on a monthly of more frequent basis by their places of worship. This trend was also apparent in states like Alabama and Arkansas.

According to Sharon Groves, director of HRC’s Religion and Faith Program, a small but influential group of LGBT-affirming Baptist and evangelical Christian leaders were joined by the HRC to encourage a shift on the denominations views on LGBT issues.

“There are many parts of the country—particularly rural and religiously conservative communities—where coming out as LGBT is not just difficult, but often excruciatingly lonely and even dangerous,” Groves wrote in an opinion piece on HRC’s website. “Our people are routinely spiritually, emotionally, and sometimes even physically harmed by the rhetoric originating in church pulpits and seeping into playgrounds, classrooms, workplaces and even dinner tables.”

Groves expressed hope that a slight change in attitude is beginning to form within the denomination’s core.

“While not everyone holds a particular faith tradition or practices a religion, for those of us who seek it out for moral guidance, for comfort and for community, we have a responsibility to help that community be the best it can,” Groves continued. “That responsibility doesn’t stop if you’re LGBT.”

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