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Former SBC president issues statement about his address to homosexual group

LOS ANGELES (BP)–Jimmy Allen issued a statement July 16 about why he, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, accepted an invitation to address the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches’ 30th anniversary “General Conference and World Jubilee” in Los Angeles.
Allen, who addressed the homosexual-oriented religious group the morning of July 16, said in a statement to Baptist Press:
“My decision to speak to the Metropolitan Community Churches’ conference came on an appeal by [MCC founder] Dr. [Troy] Perry after he had heard me preach to a group of AIDS caregivers. I have stated clearly my beliefs about the issue of God’s intention for our sexuality, both in my book, ‘Burden of a Secret,’ and on platforms across the nation. However, he pointed out to me that many of his people ‘need to know there are still parents in that [Baptist tradition] who love their children even if they don’t agree theologically with them.’
“I have a gay son with AIDS,” Allen continued. “I love him and we do not agree. I believe it’s time for us to talk to each other instead of about each other.”
Allen, in addition to his statement, reiterated, “I’m not changing any positions or pulling any punches about what I believe.”
A July 14 news release distributed nationally by PRNewswire announced Allen’s scheduled appearance at the MCC conference, stating:
“While Rev. Allen disagrees with UFMCC doctrine on the issue of being gay and Christian, he shares much with the 1,500 church leaders attending the conference from 21 countries. Rev. Allen lost a daughter-in-law and two grandsons to AIDS. He will share his experiences of trying to find a Sunday School within his own denomination that would accept his grandchildren. Many Metropolitan Community Churches now offer Sunday School to growing numbers of children with HIV/AIDS and others diseases.” Distribution of the news release was paid for by the MCC.
Allen was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1977-79 during his pastorate at First Baptist Church, San Antonio, Texas. He later became president of the SBC’s former Radio and Television Commission. He also is among the Baptist moderates who, in opposing the SBC leadership, founded the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991-92.
Allen’s book about his family’s losses from AIDS, “Burden of a Secret: A Story of Truth and Mercy in the Face of AIDS,” was published in 1995 by Moorings, a former imprint of The Ballantine Publishing Group, Random House, Inc.
Allen’s daughter-in-law, who was married to one of his three sons, died in 1992 after having received an AIDS-tainted blood transfusion 10 years earlier when her first son was born. That son, at age 13 in 1995, and a second son, at nine months of age in 1986, also died from AIDS as a result of the transfusion. A second son is the one Allen mentioned as being involved in a homosexual lifestyle. Allen now lives in Big Canoe, Ga.
In the PRNewswire release, the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches describes itself as “the world’s largest organization serving the spiritual needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community.” It also states that “over 40% of the male congregants in many of their churches have died or are living with AIDS, including many of their clergy.”
In the evening of July 16, the UFMCC will honor Betty DeGeneres, mother of actress Ellen DeGeneres, with its “Edith Allen Perry award,” for a parent “who unconditionally loves their children,” as stated in the PRNewswire release. Ellen DeGeneres portrayed network TV’s first openly lesbian lead character in her former ABC sitcom, “Ellen.”
Also, actress June Lockhart “will be honored for speaking out for the rights of gays and lesbians dating back to 1970,” the PRNewswrite release stated.
The news release also noted that the UFMCC on July 11 dedicated its “$3.8 million, five-story world headquarters and new mother church at 8704-8714 Santa Monica Boulevard. Over 3,000 attended the opening ceremony which featured greetings from Zev Yaroslavsky, president of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, along with other community and religious leaders.”
The homosexual-oriented religious body, according to the PRNewswire release, was founded by Troy Perry in 1968 in his home in Huntington Park, Calif. “That same year, he performed the first same-sex marriage in the USA,” the news release said.