Last week a forward thinking Baptist Congregation in Dallas Texas voted overwhelmingly to include LGBTQ+ members in the congregation. The vote means that LGBTQ+ Individuals can now become full parishioners, and hold positions of authority within the church.
948 Members voted, with the proposition passing, 577 to 367 in favor. The vote concluded a 14 month long research project into their cannon, and scripture on the religious implications of including LGBTQ+ people in their congregation.
“We want to normalize life as quickly as possible for LGBT folk. And this is not a one-issue church. It’s a church and we’re simply saying the Gospel is open to all and closed to none. We had a gay man in our church who kept being nominated to be ordained as a Deacon – year in and year out”
That’s Senior Pastor George Mason commenting on the vote. In an interview with ABC Affiliate WFAA, Mason went on to say that the congregation has young people who have recently come out as gay and lesbian, not to mention the struggle the church has had with how to handle the 2015, U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing same sex marriage.
When reached for comment the Texan Baptists, formerly the Baptist General Convention of Texas supported their decision to cut ties with the Willshire Baptist Church saying,
“This is a painful time for Texas Baptists. We have deep respect and appreciation for Wilshire Baptist Church. While Texas Baptists are loving, respectful and welcoming to all people, we have a longstanding and often reaffirmed biblical position on human sexuality. As in the past, when a church chooses a position outside of the BGCT position, that church effectively withdraws from harmonious cooperation. The BGCT values the autonomy of the local church and the harmony which is vital to the Convention’s purpose of fostering cooperative missions and ministries.”
The BCGT in a stunning decision has refused to accept a donation to a charitable fund in the name of the Willshire Church. “Because of the position we have now taken, they don’t want to receive our money for the hunger offering. I think it is astonishing to think the Baptist General Convention of Texas would turn away our direct contribution of hunger offering money because they disagree with us on the inclusion of persons who identify in the LGBT community,”
But Pastor Mason continues to see hope and humanity in the actions of the BGCT: “Everyone who disagrees with us does not hate gay people. They just have a different way of understanding what are the boundaries that a church ought to exercise in its love and acceptance of all people.”