The Southern Baptist Convention passed yet another resolution expressing its disapproval of homosexuality and those who promote it. This resolution specifically expressed strong disapproval of President Clinton's designating June as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, and rebuked him for naming James C. Hormel, an openly professed homosexual, as ambassador to Luxembourg. Hormel, heir to the meat fortune, is reported to be a blatant practitioner and generous supporter of the radical homosexual political agenda.
The press has not given the kind of attention to this year's resolution as it has to earlier resolutions. I think it is probably because Southern Baptists have already broken the ice, and made clear our position on homosexuality. Since 1976 we have passed nine different resolutions affirming the biblical message that homosexuality is sinful, a perversion of God's design for humanity, and that efforts for its normalization and public approval are to be resisted by the Christian community.
You may ask why the Southern Baptist Convention has so regularly stated its understanding on homosexuality. It is because the biblical guidelines have been under persistent and concerted attack by a culture of moral relativism, even within the religious community. It is because we know from the Scriptures that a culture that is approving of homosexuality is signing its own death warrant. It is because there is really no hope for homosexual, or heterosexual sinners for that matter, if the Body of Christ does not tell the truth about the consequences of sin, and point them to freedom through Christ.
But Southern Baptists said something else about homosexuality in this summer's resolution that cries out for the broadest distribution. We affirmed that the forgiveness of and freedom from sin offered by Jesus Christ:
• "includes forgiveness of and freedom from homosexuality;" and
• "that we publicly denounce and deplore all violent attacks upon homosexuals;" and
• "that we express our abhorrence of the teaching that God hates any person on account of an immoral lifestyle."
These positions are not new to Christians, nor to Southern Baptists. They embody our historic stance. Violence directed at homosexual persons does not spring from the teaching of Christ – and Christian teaching does not sustain it. We do not now, nor have we ever thought, or taught, that it is okay to do violence to homosexual persons.
In spite of that, some in the press seem committed to spreading the falsehood that those who oppose homosexuality on biblical grounds encourage hatred and violence against homosexual persons. NBC Today show co-host Katie Couric said when interviewing Jim Geringer, Governor of Wyoming, that those who supported an ad campaign encouraging homosexuals to find freedom in Christ were "contributing to this anti-homosexual atmosphere by having an ad campaign saying 'If you are a homosexual, you can change your orientation,' that prompts people to say, 'If I meet someone who's homosexual, I'm going to take action and try to convince them and try to harm them.'"
Then there is a small but vocal group in Topeka, Kan., who, self-identified as Baptists, and under the cloak of religion, assert that God hates homosexuals … not homosexuality, but homosexuals. "God hates fags," their slogan, made the news dozens of times during 1999. They post a web page with the address tied to their slogan; they picket and demonstrate against the Southern Baptist Convention, several of our seminaries, D. James Kennedy of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and numerous others because we are, to hear them tell it, "soft on homosexuality." They even showed up in Casper, Wyo., at the funeral of Matthew Shepard, boldly proclaiming God's hatred of him.
Let there be no mistake – neither violence against homosexuals, nor hatred of them, are the positions of Southern Baptists – they are not the positions of any biblical Baptist – they are not the positions of biblical Christians. The pithy Focus on the Family statement distills our sentiments exactly. It says, "moral opposition (to homosexuality) is not a license to engage in any form of slander, harassment, or violence against those with whom we disagree."
We could wish it did not need to be said, but our world is so confused – so clueless, we dare not fail to make clear the Christian message. When it comes to homosexuality, or any other sin, redemption – not acceptance, not violence, and not hatred – is the goal of biblical Christianity. Homosexuality is but one of many forms that human rebellion, alienation, and brokenness takes. God's forgiveness and cleansing is the only sufficient solution. In the days when Southern Baptists mostly sang hymns and gospel songs, most of us learned one which says,
Sinners Jesus will receive,
Shout this word of grace to all,
Who the heavenly pathway leave,
All who linger, all who fall.
Sing it o'er, and o'er again,
Christ receiveth sinful men.
Make the message clear and plain –
Christ receiveth sinful men.
That's it – Christ receiveth sinful men! That's good news! And that's what our message is!
Thirty years ago this month, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, a courageous group of citizens resisted harassment and mistreatment, setting in motion a chain of events that would become known as the Stonewall Uprising and the birth of the modern gay and lesbian civil rights movement. Gays and lesbians, their families and friends, celebrate the anniversary of Stonewall every June in America as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month; and, earlier this month, the National Park Service added the Stonewall Inn, as well as the nearby park and neighborhood streets surrounding it, to the National Register of Historic Places.
I am proud of the measures my Administration has taken to end discrimination against gays and lesbians and ensure that they have the same rights guaranteed to their fellow Americans. Last year, I signed an Executive order that amends Federal equal employment opportunity policy to prohibit discrimination in the Federal civilian work force based on sexual orientation. We have also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in the granting of security clearances. As a result of these and other policies, gay and lesbian Americans serve openly and proudly throughout the Federal Government. My Administration is also working with congressional leaders to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit most private employers from firing workers solely because of their sexual orientation.
America's diversity is our greatest strength. But, while we have come a long way on our journey toward tolerance, understanding, and mutual respect, we still have a long way to go in our efforts to end discrimination. During the past year, people across our country have been shaken by violent acts that struck at the heart of what it means to be an American and at the values that have always defined us as a Nation. In 1997, the most recent year for which we have statistics, there were more than 8,000 reported hate crimes in our country – almost one an hour. Now is the time for us to take strong and decisive action to end all hate crimes, and I reaffirm my pledge to work with the Congress to pass the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
But we cannot achieve true tolerance merely through legislation; we must change hearts and minds as well. Our greatest hope for a just society is to teach our children to respect one another, to appreciate our differences, and to recognize the fundamental values that we hold in common. As part of our efforts to achieve this goal, earlier this spring, I announced that the Departments of Justice and Education will work in partnership with educational and other private sector organizations to reach out to students and teach them that our diversity is a gift. In addition, the Department of Education has issued landmark guidance that explains Federal standards against sexual harassment and prohibits sexual harassment of all students regardless of their sexual orientation; and I have ordered the Education Department's civil rights office to step up its enforcement of anti-discrimination and harassment rules. That effort has resulted in a groundbreaking guide that provides practical guidance to school administrators and teachers for developing a comprehensive approach to protecting all students, including gays and lesbians, from harassment and violence.
Since our earliest days as a Nation, Americans have strived to make real the ideals of equality and freedom so eloquently expressed in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. We now have a rare opportunity to enter a new century and a new millennium as one country, living those principles, recognizing our common values, and building on our shared strengths.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 1999 as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month. I encourage all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that celebrate our diversity, and to remember throughout the year the gay and lesbian Americans whose many and varied contributions have enriched our national life.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of June, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-third.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
WHEREAS, The President of the United States has proclaimed the month of June in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month; and
WHEREAS, The President's proclamation not only calls on Americans to show tolerance toward the practice of homosexual and lesbian sexual activity in our country, but to affirm, celebrate, and glorify such practices; and
WHEREAS, The Bible clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is an abomination and shameful before God; and
WHEREAS, The President's proclamation calls upon Americans to endorse, honor, and celebrate such abominable behavior which is for millions of Americans an offense to their sensibilities and an affront to their religious heritage and convictions; and
WHEREAS, The President has called on citizens in every corner of our nation to violate historic religious beliefs and their own consciences, in order to embrace and extol that which the Bible condemns; and
WHEREAS, God loves and calls on us to love all people, regardless of the condition of their hearts or the sinfulness of their lives; and
WHEREAS, God's love requires us to discipline and rebuke as a necessary component of exhortation and encouragement.
Therefore be it RESOLVED, that we, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, on June 15-16, 1999, proclaim our love for our President and our love for people enslaved in sins of all types, including homosexual sins; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that our love for our President compels us to rebuke him and publicly to deplore his most public endorsement of that which is contrary to the Word of God and of that which places millions of citizens in the untenable position of either denying a presidential proclamation or rejecting their own deeply-held religious convictions; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that because of these deeply-held religious convictions we call on our President to rescind his appointment of an openly professed homosexual as U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg.
Be it further RESOLVED, that we ourselves do hereby proclaim that the same Jesus who was crucified, was buried, and was raised from the dead on the third day, so that whosoever believes in him should not perish but should have eternal life, is the one through whom we might receive forgiveness and release from the bondage of sin; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that the forgiveness of and freedom from sin offered by Jesus Christ includes forgiveness of and freedom from homosexuality; and
Be it further RESOLVED, that we publicly denounce and deplore all violent attacks upon homosexuals, and that we express our abhorrence of the teaching that God hates any person on account of an immoral lifestyle.
Be it finally RESOLVED, that as we express great gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ for His forgiveness, we hereby call upon the President to rescind his proclamation endorsing homosexuality.
Church Support for Gay Rights Legislation
The United Methodist Board of Church and Society has again thrown its support behind a Senate bill that adds "sexual orientation" to the list of classifications guaranteed federal protection from workplace discrimination. The bill, S.1276, was first introduced in 1997, and has been defeated the last two years. It was reintroduced June 24, 1999.
The Rev. Thom White Wolf Fassett, staff executive of the Washington-based board said, "In reality, most mainline Protestant denominations support this legislation."
United Methodist News Service, June 30, 1999
More advertisers are targeting the homosexual community. Earlier this year, Anheuser-Busch came under fire from pro-family groups after the company used symbols of homosexual sadomasochism in a beer advertisement. Now, Janet Parshall, a spokesperson for the Family Research Council, says other companies are jumping on the bandwagon – including such notable names as IBM and Subaru. She says IBM has an advertising campaign featuring two homosexuals posing as the owners of a photo processing business. Parshall says the advertisement states, "We're not your typical Mom and Pop operation." She says even smaller print adds, "We're not even your ordinary Pop and Pop operation." Parshall says that ad revenue for homosexual publications increased 20 percent last year to more than $120 million.
AFR News, July 7, 1999