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 is a network of people of diverse faiths and beliefs from across the country working together to build a resilient democracy and fulfill America’s promise of religious freedom and civil rights not just for some, but for all. We mobilize powerful coalitions to challenge Christian nationalism and religious extremism, while fostering a better understanding of the healthy boundaries between religion and government. We advocate at all levels of government for an equitable and just America where the freedoms of belief and religious practice are protected, and where all persons are treated with dignity and have the opportunity to thrive. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.