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Baptists Gore, Gephardt seek homosexuals’ support

WASHINGTON (BP)–Vice President Al Gore and House of Representatives Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, both members of Southern Baptist churches, are competing to gain support from homosexual activists, according to a recently published report.

Gore appears to be the front-runner for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2000. Gephardt has given indications he is mounting a campaign to challenge the vice president.

Both have held recent meetings with homosexual activists, according to The Washington Times.

Gore has held a series of meetings with homosexual leaders in his office, The Times reported. The vice president asked an openly lesbian member of the California general assembly to provide him with a list of books to help acquaint him with homosexual issues, according to The Times.

“He has an open door where gays and lesbians can express their concerns and issues and the role the administration can take on them,” Ginny Terzano, Gore’s press secretary, told The Times. “It’s part of our effort to reach out to them at the start of the second term. We don’t look at this in a political context.”

Gephardt was host for a fund-raiser for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund March 31 in Los Angeles, The Times reported April 2. He is expected to repeat his role for the organization later this year at a Washington event, the paper reported.

“It’s an important constituency group for us,” Laura Nichols, Gephardt’s communications director, told the paper. The minority leader hopes to gain the support of homosexuals in the effort to help Democrats regain a majority in the House in 1998, she told The Times.

“Every time I consider the gay agenda and the zeal with which it is pushed, I am deeply grieved,” said Will Dodson, the Southern Baptist Christian Life Commission’s director of government relations. “It grieves me first of all for the gay community that they steadfastly refuse to recognize that homosexuality is a sin and that they must turn from their sin and commit their lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

“I am also grieved that politicians continue to pander to those who push this agenda. I am particularly grieved when those politicians happen to be Southern Baptists. This nation is desperate for leaders who will be true Christian statesmen, who will believe and say and do what is right according to Scripture. We need leaders who will seek to follow God’s will and lead others to do the same, rather than leading according to what they think is most politically expedient,” Dodson said.

Gore is a member of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. Gephardt has his membership at Third Baptist Church in St. Louis, which is dually aligned with the SBC and the American Baptist Churches, USA.

The SBC has adopted several resolutions deploring homosexuality as sin and affirming the Bible’s message of forgiveness through Christ.

Homosexual activists desire a number of public policy advances from politicians seeking their support. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force asked in a recent document for the second Clinton administration to include the following initiatives in its agenda, The Times reported:

— Support legislation elevating “sexual orientation” to the protected status race, gender and age now have in the workplace.

— Support homosexuals’ rights to foster care, adoption and custody of children.

— Oppose public schools’ prohibition of information on homosexuality.

— Oppose mandatory testing for HIV.

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