Grass roots Southern Baptists offer clear stand against radical LGBTQ+ sexual ideology even as top Southern Baptists offer a muddled message on sex and gender issues.
Even in the deepest of deep red states, Woke forces are agitating for leftist causes. This includes Alabama where leftist groups are successfully influencing the state’s largest cities—with perhaps significant consequences.
In Alabama the City of Mobile appointed LGBTQ+ liaisons so “that leaders throughout Mobile had an LGBTQ+ perspective on city policies and procedures.”
According to local news reports, Mobile’s administration is being pressured by the Human Rights Campaign to become more equitable.
According to the report, “The city’s addition of LGBTQ+ liaisons was coordinated the effort with the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for LGBTQ+ positions in communities around the country. The idea was to help boost the city’s rating on the HRC Municipal Equality Index, which placed Mobile among the lowest ranked cities analyzed by HRC in Alabama.”
The Human Rights Campaign is a Woke, leftist group committed to radical sexual indoctrination. The group fought with the conservative Family Research Council. In fact back during the leftist attacks on Chick-Fil-A, the HRC called the Family Research Council a “hate group.”
Also, The HRC “condemned” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the Stop Woke Act. The HRC’s influence is even reaching into churches as both law firms recently hired by the SBC were aligned with the HRC’s diversity and inclusion views.
Given how far left the HRC is, why does it have such influence in Alabama’s cities? Why is Mobile’s leadership worried about its ranking in a partisan index?
Of greater concern, why did Birmingham and Montgomery enact laws that Southern Baptist churches in Mobile warn enacted fines on those who refuse “to celebrate” LGBTQ lifestyles.
This sparked action by Mobile Baptists. The local association crafted a resolution it sent to city leaders.
According to Pastor David Roach of Shiloh Baptist Church of Saraland, “As for influences, the Executive Committee was aware of actions in Birmingham and Montgomery and considered those as they crafted the resolution.”
According to the Mobile Baptist Association, “Liaisons who were appointed to advise officials in other cities later were given the authority to enforce ordinances and levy fines on any groups who refused to celebrate pro-LGBTQ+ ordinances and activity.”
Consider that for a moment—partisans were given the power to enforce an ordinance.
The Mobile Baptist Association Executive Committee passed a resolution this month alerting its member churches and other churches around the state to these problems.
The resolution attempted to balance the proclamation of the Gospel (all sin and any including LGBTQ persons who repent can be saved) with warnings about the dangers to religious liberty from current government actions.
The resolution highlighted how “the goal as stated by one of the liaisons in an article on al.com was to make sure ‘everyone feels not just safe and supported but celebrated for who they are.’”
Southern Baptists cannot simply celebrate all lifestyle choices. This prompted local Southern Baptists to urge city leaders to protect religious liberty.
Six representatives of the Mobile Baptist Association met with Mobile’s mayor to express a desire for a local ordinance to protect religious liberty. These included MBA Moderator Scott Griffith, pastor of Cypress Shores Baptist Church; Vice Moderator Kevin Cobb, pastor of West Mobile Baptist Church; former moderator Mack Morris, retired pastor of Woodridge Baptist Church; former moderator Charlie York, pastor of Highpoint Baptist Church in Eight Mile; MBA executive director Thomas Wright; and David Roach, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Saraland.
According to the Mobile Baptist Association, “The Mobile Baptist leaders also proposed to (Mobile Mayor) Stimpson a city ordinance that would prohibit ‘any adverse action’ against individuals who have ‘acted in accordance with a religious, moral, scientific, or philosophical belief’ that marriage is ‘the union of one man and one woman.’”
Mobile Baptists want to use this situation to educate their fellow Christians.
“We want others to be aware that increasingly our culture is experiencing clashes between religious liberty and sexual liberty,” Roach said. “When those clashes occur, and even when they appear to be looming on the horizon, believers should seek to be salt and light. Pastors especially should defend the flock’s right to hold and live our biblical convictions in every arena of life — education, business, church, and the public square.”
Southern Baptist Moral Confusion on Sexuality Identity
Complicating the goal of educating Southern Baptists about sexual identity, top SBC leaders have delivered a mixed message on these issues for many years. While the SBC adamantly declares marriage to be an institution between one man and one woman, top SBC leaders have flip-flopped on the question of sexual identity and gender issues.
In 2019 then SBC President J.D. Greear urged Southern Baptists to use someone’s preferred pronouns during a podcast while SBC President. Greear called this pronoun hospitality or generosity of spirit.
In 2014 the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention hosted a conference in Nashville on “The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Future of Marriage.” At this conference, Russell Moore invited the Human Rights Campaign for discussions.
The Wall Street Journal reported, “Southern Baptists, Gay Community Break Bread at Conference: Baptists Strike New Tone on Homosexuality From the Pulpit, in Private.”
It was at this meeting that Russell Moore famously offered the advice that he would not attend a gay marriage ceremony but would attend the reception. There were other important items too including a meeting with gay rights advocates which included the above-mentioned Human Rights Campaign.
According to the WSJ,
One night, Mr. Walker and more than a dozen Southern Baptists and gay-rights advocates gathered in a suite away from the ballroom where more than 1,300 attendees met for the public portion of the conference.
The two groups met tentatively over a dessert platter, bottled water and Cokes for nearly three hours, those involved said. To avoid public pressure, they agreed to keep the meeting small, and the topics of discussion secret. The idea, participants from both sides said, was to get to know each other and air grievances face-to-face. Soon, conversation was flowing, those involved said.
Mr. Walker said there was so much to discuss, he had to ask the group to leave as the meeting stretched past midnight.
The meeting “exceeded both sides’ expectations as far as cheerfulness, friendliness and authenticity of the conversation,” Mr. Walker said. “There’s greater respect all around. We disagreed, but we disagreed very well.”
What might be the most important news at that event was Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) President Albert Mohler’s apology for denying the reality of sexual orientation. Mohler made his reversal in writing too—outlining why he believed sexual orientation was real and that someone could have a gay or lesbian sexual identity.
The WSJ described Mohler’s comments in the opening paragraph showing it was the biggest news of the conference. According to the WSJ, “stalwart head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, apologizing for ‘denying the reality of sexual orientation,’ but saying orientation ‘can change.’”
This was a reversal from his earlier position that sexual identity was not a reality and an inappropriate description of a problem of sin.
According to this 2014 post from Mohler, “The concept of sexual orientation is not only helpful, it is in some sense essential. Even those who argue against its existence have to describe and affirm something tantamount to it. There is a pattern of sexual interest and attraction that is discovered in early adolescence. It is not something that is, in itself, freely chosen.
Mohler flip-flopped again.
In July of this year Mohler declared “that a homosexual or same-sex orientation is itself sinful. It’s not morally neutral. It is itself an identity that is incompatible with a biblical understanding of discipleship.”
This is a statement much closer to the sentiment of the typical Southern Baptist. However, for years the debate over sexual identity has muddled the SBC’s message. Russell Moore, the former head of the ERLC, blasted the idea that someone’s sexual identity could change. According to RNS Russell Moore said, “Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone’s attractions are going to change.”
Conclusion: Conservatives must be aware
The Mobile Baptist Association is doing an important job—warning all of us that no matter where we live or how Red our state might be, leftist organizations can wield tremendous influence in our cities. To stand against this requires awareness.
Christians must be ready to do exactly what Mobile Southern Baptists are doing—urging the local government to protect religious liberty. But there is more.
Christians should be inspired by the actions of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Stop Woke Act. Christians should urge the state legislature to act and ban local ordinances like were passed in Birmingham and Montgomery.
Christians must be ready to use the political power at the state legislature and governor’s office to fight all attempts to persecute Christians for doing nothing more than teaching what the church has taught for 2,000 years.