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Freedom Of Religion? Baptists Ban Chaplains From Even Attending Weddings Of Same-Sex Couples

by David Badash on September 6, 2013

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,Marriage,News,Religion

Post image for Freedom Of Religion? Baptists Ban Chaplains From Even Attending Weddings Of Same-Sex Couples

So much for the First Amendment and free exercise of religion. The Southern Baptist Convention — America’s second-largest Christian sect next to Roman Catholics — has now banned Baptist chaplains from not only performing same-sex marriages, but even from attending the weddings of any same-sex couples.

“The agency that commissions Southern Baptist military chaplains says no Baptist chaplain will be allowed to perform, attend or support a same-sex wedding either on or off base,” Religion News Service reports.

Indeed, that agency, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention has issued new “guidelines,” violation of which would in essence cause a chaplain to lose his authority and job as a Baptist military chaplain.

“NAMB-endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union, assist or support paid contractors or volunteers leading same-sex relational events, nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.”

“Chaplains are also prohibited from participating in jointly-led worship services ‘with a chaplain, contractor or volunteer who personally practices a homosexual lifestyle or affirms a homosexual lifestyle or such conduct.’”

So, if a Baptist ministry chaplain attends his or her sibling’s same-sex wedding, they will lose their job as a Baptist chaplain.

So much for freedom of religion, speech, and religious practice.

The Southern Baptist Convention claims to have 16 million following members.

NAMB, by the way, isn’t even a military organization, or focused on the military. Here’s their mission statement,via Facebook:

The North American Mission Board helps Southern Baptists fulfill the Great Commission in the United States, Canada and their territories through a North American strategy for sharing Christ, starting churches and sending missionaries.

So, their goal is to convert.

The guidelines, which are published in the form of a letter, close with this statement:

“God bless you for all you do to minister the love of Jesus Christ to the members of the Armed Services, our veterans, and their families.”

It adds, “If you experience undue prejudice or irreparable harm as a result of following these expectations, please contact us immediately.”

What if the opposite is true? Doesn’t not following the guidelines impose “irreparable harm”? Who do those chaplains call then?

Image: screenshot of SBC Chaplains video

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{ 9 comments }

SeanLiberty13 September 6, 2013 at 3:21 pm

That is an illegal violation of those Chaplains' First Amendment rights. Those Chaplains are employees of the Federal American Government, not the Southern Baptist Cult – therefore the SBC cannot ban anything.

Huntercgo September 7, 2013 at 7:46 am

Actually, it's not — the First Amendment protects against government limiting free speech or free exercise of religion, not private organizations.

The SBC is setting up its chaplains for some severe conflicts between their military oath and their sponsoring body — and I'm cynical enough to think it's deliberate, to provide more fodder for the martyr mill when chaplains try to follow this directive: there will be direct conflicts between following these orders and performing their duties as military chaplains. There's already a heavy evangelical presence in the military, and they've started not getting their way in everything. This looks like a push-back.

barbonine September 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

I have to wonder why such a viciously homophobic sect is allowed on military bases that accept people from all walks of life.

I mean, they don't let the KKK have military chaplains, and they're a "church." So what gives with the Baptists?

Huntercgo September 7, 2013 at 7:47 am

See my comment above, about the heavy evangelical presence in the military.

barbonine September 7, 2013 at 8:19 am

Oh yeah, I get that. I belong to a couple of groups of non-Christian veterans who are fed up with this bolonium and are working with active duty nonbelievers to shove these god-swogglers out of positions of influence.

However, this particular issue is less religious and more blatant bigotry, a display of one of the less attractive aspects of Southern Baptists. If they were teaching that blacks are spawn of the devil, you reckon they'd be kicked off base, religious or not?

Huntercgo September 7, 2013 at 8:29 am

It's blatant bigotry with the "religious freedom" tag. The more I think about it, the more I see it as a set-up, with the chaplains as pawns.

Robroberts2013 September 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm

The word "Baptist" has come to mean the same thing as "bigot". If I were a Baptist I would be ashamed to admit it to anyone.

Serenifly September 6, 2013 at 10:06 pm

This came after they kicked out one of their chaplains for attending a same-sex wedding. But he did exactly what he was supposed to do. He couldn't perform the wedding himself, so he got one of his subordinates to do it and then attended to make sure everything went smoothly. He did so in his function as the head chaplain. He then left the SBC and was taken in by a more moderate Baptist strain.

What's more troubling than the wedding thing is the ban on providing counseling and retreats. The counseling ban could be interpreted to include counseling for deployed service members. And the Army runs it's official couples and families retreat program (Strong Bonds) through the chaplaincy for some insane reason.

Everybodhi September 7, 2013 at 3:41 am

Jimmy Carter opted out of the Baptists years ago, due to their horrible treatment of women. http://www.womenspress-slo.org/?p=11440

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