Washington, D.C. – Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, President of Interfaith Alliance, praised an historic meeting between LGBT leaders and Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Bryant Wright. Rev. Gaddy is a Baptist Minister and was a member of the SBC executive committee between 1980 and 1984. His statement follows:
As a child of the Christian Church and an active Christian minister in the Baptist tradition (the Alliance of Baptists), I want to commend the coalition of LGBT groups that traveled to the Southern Baptist Convention this week in order to meet with the President of that large religious body. Coalition members took an action more in the tradition of Jesus than the actions of the group with whose representatives they met – initiating civil dialogue, laying a foundation for understanding, seeking a strategy for protecting the welfare of young people, and requesting ongoing conversations. My dear friend Mitchell Gold spoke like a contemporary prophet to people who claim to want to hear the Word of God, whatever its source. I hope and pray that he was heard.
For far too long, many leaders in Christian churches have insisted on reading the Bible solely in a “textual” manner – through which a few isolated passages are frequently misinterpreted in overly literal ways – at the expense of being “Biblical” – seeking to embody and express the love commended throughout the Bible – thereby divorcing that love from words and deeds that demonize people in the LGBT community by telling them that their very identity, their creation in God’s image, is evil. It is time for such harm to be stopped.
I am grateful for the initiative taken by representatives of the LGBT community to speak truth to the largest denomination of Baptists in America. And I long for signs of such an interest in mutual understanding and personal healing on the part of the Christian community in relation to LGBT people.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.