|Slap on the wrist|
An unidentified female member was among a dozen homosexual-rights protesters escorted out of St. Louis' America's Center in the midst of SBC President James Merritt's address. Their charges were later reduced to misdemeanors. Photo by Morris Abernathy
ST. LOUIS (BP)--A dozen homosexual rights protesters who tried to disrupt the Southern Baptist Convention proceedings inside a St. Louis convention center in June were released on misdemeanor charges only hours after being arrested.
The protestors, members of the group Soulforce, initially were charged with class "D" felonies. An assistant city prosecutor, however, reduced the charges to misdemeanor trespassing, with each protester's fines and court costs totaling about $250.
The light penalty sets a dangerous precedent for freedom of religion, said Tim Wilkins, a former homosexual and founder of Cross Ministry, which helps the church reach homosexuals with the gospel.