News Articles

Pastor’s concerns over BBBS policy underscored by lesbian duo’s plans

WICHITA, Kan. (BP)–A lesbian couple made the 10 o’clock news in Wichita, Kan., by applying to be Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors.

The lesbian duo, identifying themselves as Beth and Cathy Gillespie, were featured atop the 10 p.m. KWCH, Channel 12, newscast on Sept. 26.

“Because she is my wife doesn’t mean that I’m going to molest a child,” Beth Gillespie told a reporter in a reference to her lesbian partner.

The Wichita pastor who has been at the forefront of opposition to the Big Brothers Big Sisters policy to accept homosexuals as mentors was quick to take note.

Terry Fox of Immanuel Baptist Church said the lesbian duo’s application “shows how reckless and dangerous this policy really is if it remains intact.” The policy was mandated nationally July 1 from the Big Brothers Big Sisters headquarters in Philadelphia.

“This proves [homosexuals and lesbians] indeed will come forward” to seek mentoring relationships with children and youth, Fox told Baptist Press. “It gave credibility to what I said would happen under this policy.”

Fox, in sermons on Aug. 18 and 25, warned that the policy heightened the possibility of pedophilia among BBBS mentors, while stating that homosexuals en masse are not pedophiles.

Officials with the Wichita-area Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County have not announced how they will handle lesbian duo’s application. Other than the initial report on KWCH, none of the local TV stations or The Wichita Eagle has reported on the latest development.

Cathy Gillespie told KWCH, “We’ve got something to give to the children so why not let us give it to the children.” She said she had had a “Big Sis” growing up. “She saved my life. Umm, if it wasn’t for her, who knows how I would’ve been or where I would’ve been? And, umm, I’m just excited for the opportunity to give back what she gave me.”

Fox told Baptist Press he has asked for equal time to respond to the KWCH report, which included only a minimal and skewed reference to opponents of the BBBS policy. The station has not yet responded to his request, Fox said.

In his Aug. 18 sermon on the controversy, Fox said, “I do not believe it is ever in the best interests of a child to allow someone who has a perverse lifestyle according to the Word of God to work with children. [E]ven if you took the Scriptures out of the debate, you would think common sense would tell you this is about the most foolish thing anybody could allow to happen.”

Not all homosexuals are pedophiles, Fox said, but the BBBS policy is tragic because it “gives the opportunity for pedophilia to take place.”

Fox’s stance was prompted by a call from a reporter at The Eagle Aug. 16 for comment about the BBBS policy.

Fox and other concerned Wichita citizens have met with success in carrying their concerns to the Wichita-area United Way of the Plains. The local United Way board of directors adopted a “donor accommodation policy” Sept. 4 to permit donors to exclude BBBS from their contributions. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County was anticipating $458,525 in United Way funding before the controversy arose.

Fox and others are continuing to urge the local BBBS board of directors to detach from the national organization, which is among the local chapter’s prerogatives according to BBBS national policy.

KWCH aired its report the same night the local Big Brothers Big Sisters was holding a community-wide event for prospective volunteers.

News anchor Roger Cornish stated at the outset of the telecast that the lesbian duo “wants to be a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters now that the organization says it accepts gays.”

“Tonight,” Cornish said, “is one of the most important nights of the year for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.”

The other news anchor, Cindy Klose, then stated, “Tonight’s the night it tries to match interested adults with kids who need a mentor. And a change in policy involving gays now allows some people to apply who never thought they could. Our top story at 10 is that ‘Big’ change. Eyewitness News reporter Sky Arnold joins us live from [Wichita’s] Exploration Place where the event is happening tonight.”

Arnold then stated, “Well, Cindy, you might remember that change was something that some people were not in favor of as they did not believe that gays and lesbians would make good mentors. Well, tonight, we talked with one lesbian couple who believes otherwise, and they came here — in search of a little sister.”