WICHITA, Kan. (BP)–When Terry Fox took a stand, he soon learned he wasn’t alone.
Fox — the Wichita, Kan., pastor who took a stand against Big Brothers Big Sisters’ national mandate to allow homosexual mentors for children and youth – learned that the Heart of Kansas Southern Baptist Association was in his corner.
Pat Bullock, the association’s director of missions, declared in the association’s September newsletter: “I want to publicly state my personal support for the stand Bro. Terry and Immanuel Baptist Church … have taken in opposing the policy of the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization mandating that all local BBBS chapters allow homosexuals to be considered as mentors for children.
“This is an outrageous policy that allows for the possibility of homosexuals to practice pedophile behavior,” Bullock continued. “Homosexuals are the only group of people I know who have an organization that is designed to have sex with children. That organization is called NAMBLA (North American Man/Boy Love Association),” a San Francisco-based organization that regularly makes other sectors of the homosexual movement uncomfortable.
Bullock said every pastor he has talked with likewise supports Fox’s stance and believes “that this is ‘a hill to die on.'”
After Fox spoke against the Big Brothers Big Sisters policy for homosexual mentors in Sunday sermons Aug. 18 and 25, Bullock led a discussion of the issue during the association’s weekly ministers conference. The group meets at Immanuel on Tuesdays, with an attendance of 35-45 pastors, church staff members, retirees, associational lay leaders and a few ministers from non-Southern Baptist churches, and Fox has been among the regulars.
“I explained that Pastor Terry did not go looking for this issue – it came to him,” Bullock said, noting that Fox took his initial stand when contacted by a reporter for The Wichita Eagle Aug. 16 for comment about the BBBS policy, which went into effect nationally July 1.
Among the association’s 60 churches, several have moved to the forefront with Fox as the issue has heated up throughout the community.
At Riverview Baptist Church, for example, pastor Ron Niday led a Sunday morning time of prayer at the altar asking God to continue to anoint and protect Fox and Immanuel Baptist in the midst of the controversy.
Fox credits the association’s support – encompassing members of churches who have gotten involved by letters, e-mails and phone calls – in helping to achieve a key goal thus far: A decision by the Wichita-area United Way of the Plains board of directors Sept. 4 to create a “donor accommodation policy” 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.
Church members’ concerns also are being directed to the local BBBS board of directors, which can decide to detach from the national organization, and to The Wichita Eagle.
After Fox’s initial stance in the newspaper, Bullock said he called to assure the pastor “I would do everything I could to bring about support through the association to back him up.”
“It’s my conviction that directors of missions should do everything in their ability to support their pastors,” he said.
And not just on issues of morality. The association’s annual evangelism rally drew more than 4,000 people Aug. 25, and an inaugural missions extravaganza Sept. 28 will feature displays by the association’s churches highlighting their missions and ministry initiatives.
There was unity in the association “before this issue,” said Bullock, who has led the association the past five years after 32 years as a pastor in Texas.
When it came time to take a stand on Big Brothers Big Sisters, Bullock declared, “If we don’t take a stand on this, we need to quit saying we believe the Book and are going to live by the Book.
“It’s my privilege,” he said, “to stand with the pastors and lead others to stand with them when they are being salt and light.”
Bullock faced a similar situation two years ago when, on a Friday, The Wichita Eagle called him for comment about a new ordinance providing same-sex benefits for all county employees.
“I was absolutely, dogmatically, emphatically, unapologetically opposed to it,” Bullock recounted.
Fox called Bullock to commend his stance and then Fox called Christian leaders throughout Wichita over the weekend to urge their opposition to the ordinance.
The county rescinded it in a meeting the following Monday.
In the current battle, Fox said, “How wonderful it is to have the support of the director of missions and other Southern Baptist churches when you find yourself in cultural battles. It is then that you see anew how important it is to work as a team to accomplish kingdom work.”