TUPELO, Miss. (ABP) – A prominent conservative social activist has accused the Southern Baptist Convention of pandering to gays and illegal immigrants.
Bryan Fischer, radio talk show host and spokesman for the American Family Association, commented in a blog that the recent SBC annual meeting in Phoenix “was not a great week for the Southern Baptist Convention, as one of its leaders appeared to pander to the homosexual lobby and the convention itself pandered to lawbreakers, all in the space of two dizzying days.”
Fischer, whose Focal Point radio program on American Family Radio is broadcast on nearly 200 stations and reaches about 2 million listeners, criticized Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler for urging convention messengers to “repent” of a “form of homophobia,” without explaining exactly what he meant.
“Evidently, according to Rev. Mohler, if you don’t believe gays are born that way, you’re either a homophobe or right next to it,” Fischer said. “He told the delegates at the SBC that homosexuality is ‘more than a choice,’ and that it apparently borders on something sinful to believe otherwise.”
Fischer said he could see no way to understand the statement except that Mohler was urging Southern Baptists to “accept the bogus claim that homosexuality is innate and that people can be homosexual from birth.”
“Perhaps that’s not what he meant to say,” Fischer acknowledged. “If it wasn’t, then it’s important for him to clarify exactly what he did mean.”
Fischer contrasted Mohler’s statement with comments by SBC President Bryant Wright, who met privately with representatives of several gay-rights organizations during the annual meeting but “did not budge an inch” in their demand for an apology for the convention’s strong message that homosexuality is a sin.
"Obviously, we don't feel that there can be an apology for teaching sexual purity," Wright told the activists.
Fischer said if Mohler’s objective is to get gays to like him or the SBC: “Good luck with that. They will accept nothing less than total abject, surrender, and Rev. Mohler didn’t offer them that. He still calls homosexuality a ‘sin,’ and that will make his position completely unacceptable to the folks he was trying to appease.”
Mohler did find an ally from another blogger who writes for AFA, an influential conservative movement founded in 1977 by minister Donald Wildmon. Elijah Friedeman, writing from the Millennial Perspective, said he could not speak to Southern Baptists, but he knows from what he has seen, read and heard that “a form of homophobia is very present in many conservative churches.”
"For some reason there is an irrational fear of and extreme aversion to homosexuals in a lot of churches,” Friedeman said. “We may not come right out and say that we think homosexuals are nasty creatures, but if you read between the lines, it's pretty easy to pick up on. This is homophobia.”
“Albert Mohler was right about homosexuality not just being a choice,” Friedeman said. “He was right about homosexuality requiring a Savior. He was right about the church being homophobic towards homosexuals. And he was also right about homosexuality being a sin.”
Peter Lumpkins, a Southern Baptist blogger who asked a question from the convention floor that prompted Mohler’s response, said June 20 he was “confused” by the statement. Lumpkins said that based on what Mohler has written in the past objecting to those who accuse anyone opposed to gay marriage of homophobia, he expected to hear that comments attributed to him in a recent newspaper article were either misquoted or taken out of context.
Now that Mohler has owned up to saying Southern Baptists have “lied about the nature of homosexuality” and been guilty of “homophobia,” Lumpkins said, “So far as I am concerned, Dr. Mohler now needs to clarify himself.”
“Indeed Dr. Mohler is obligated to explain how our supposed ‘homophobia’ is different, if different at all, from the charge of ‘homophobia’ about which he himself appears to insist is not a point well-taken when brought by those he deems critics,” Lumpkins said.
Fischer, who began working with the American Family Association as the head of its Idaho affiliate and joined the national headquarters in 2009 as Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy, also lamented a resolution adopted by SBC messengers endorsing a “path to legal status” for undocumented immigrants.
Fischer said the message was “to reward people who break the law, hardly something a clear-thinking, Bible-centered organization should do.” He said the convention “lamely added” a clause saying the proposal was not “amnesty,” but “they’re not fooling anybody with that.”
“This pandering to the illegal alien lobby was done, according to proponents, to promote ‘evangelism’ among Hispanics,” Fischer said. “Okay, exactly what kind of faith are these Hispanics going to be saved to? A faith that teaches its followers to deliberately break the law and expect to be rewarded as a result? So much for the ‘wages of sin is death.’ It will, of course, be much easier to believe the new SBC gospel, ‘the wages of sin are citizenship, food stamps, welfare and subsidized housing’ but then what kind of disciples will such converts make?”