Texas Convention Shuns Congregations In Austin, Dallas That Affirm LGBT Members
The Baptist General Convention of Texas, the state’s oldest Baptist convention, plansÂ to sever ties withÂ churchesÂ in Austin and Dallas because they’ve chosen to affirm gay members.
The BGCT, which isÂ aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention, includesÂ more than 5,000 churches and numerous schools, including Baylor University.Â
According to aÂ BGTC resolutionÂ adopted in 1982, “The homosexual lifestyle is not normal or acceptable in Godâ€™s sight and is indeed called sin.â€
“The good news of the Bible affirms the value and worth of every person, offering hope for all in Christ,” the conventionÂ states on a page titled “Homosexuality” onÂ its website. “Forgiveness, restoration and transformation are available to the person who truly repents.”Â
BGCT leaders sent letters last week toÂ First Baptist Church of Austin and Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, notifying them thatÂ their pro-LGBT positions put them outside the bounds ofÂ â€œharmonious cooperation” with the convention, according to The Baptist Standard.Â
â€œShould your church choose to publicly affirm same-sex sexual behavior, the BGCT will no longer be able to accept funds from the church, seat its messengers to the annual meeting, allow the church to express affiliation with the BGCT or allow its members to serve on the BGCT boards, committees or other roles,â€ BGCT leaders wroteÂ in theirÂ letter to Wilshire Baptist Church.
The letter to Wilshire Baptist was sent in advance of a vote by the congregation Sunday on a resolution to allow LGBT deacons and same-sex marriage ceremonies. Despite BGCT’s threat, Wilshire Baptist members voted to approve the resolution,Â 577-367.
“Because of the position we have now taken, they don’t want to receive our money for the hunger offering,” Wilshire Associate Pastor Mark Wingfield told WFAA-TV. “I think it is astonishing to think the Baptist General Convention of Texas would turn away our direct contribution of hunger offering money because they disagree with us on the inclusion of persons who identify in the LGBT community.”
First Baptist Church of Austin, which also allows LGBT deacons and same-sex weddings, responded to BGTC in an open letter alleging that the convention was influenced by other churches that threatened to withhold financial contributions until the congregation was expelled.Â
“Once we begin to listen to the voices who wield power and financial strength in this way, we have begun a slippery slope to fundamentalism and irrelevancy,” First Baptist Church of Austin wrote. “A religious system that drifts into listening to those with money and prioritizes those in power is the very thing Jesus Christ criticized and fought against â€” in fact, this is where the line is most often crossed between being a faith community and becoming an empire.”Â
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RNC Chair Asked Nominee for $500,000 in Possible Pay-to-Play Scheme for Ambassadorship: Report
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel appears to be enmeshed in an possible pay-to-play scheme, asking a nominee for $500,000 after his ambassadorship nomination ran into trouble.
When the confirmation for President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the Bahamas stalled in the Senate, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Rona McDaniel dashed off an email to the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester.
“Would you consider putting together $500,000 worth of contributions from your family to ensure we hit our ambitious fundraising goal?” McDaniel wrote in an email, according to CBS News, which reports the email came “as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the balance.”
Manchester, who had donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, replied quickly.
“As you know I am not supposed to do any, but my wife is sending a contribution for $100,000,” he wrote. “Assuming I get voted out of the [Foreign Relations Committee] on Wednesday to the floor we need you to have the majority leader bring it to a majority vote … Once confirmed, I our [sic] family will respond!”
CBS spoke with Manchester, telling him, “You know what this looks like.”
“Well — it looks like it to you. But it’s not the facts,” Manchester responded. “My wife gave out of separate funds and she in fact loves Donald Trump.”
Manchester told CBS it’s just “part of politics.”
“You give and you give and you give and you give some more and more and more,” he said.
He ultimately was forced to withdraw.
This is not the first ambassador nominee who has given huge sums to the RNC or to team Trump. Gordon Sondland, who is at the center of the Ukraine scandal, became Trump’s ambassador to the European Union despite having no experience for the role. He also gave Trump’s inauguration committee $1 million. The New Republic reports many of Trump’s ambassadors are high-dollar donors.
Among them, Kelly Knight Craft, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, “donated $1 million alongside her husband.”
No Way Pence Didn’t Know What Trump Was Up to in Ukraine After Aide’s Revelations: CNN Panel
A CNN panel discussion on testimony given by a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence said her revelations about what she knew about President Donald Trump’s Ukraine dealings can only mean Pence knew and is lying.
Speaking with New Day hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota, contributor Kaitlan Collins stated Jennifer Williams’ description of Trump’s Ukraine phone call was expected to set Trump off, which it did when the president raged at her on Sunday as a “Never Trumper.”
“We kind of saw this coming, that they anticipated the president could be frustrated by her testimony,” Collins explained. “Because in the weeks before, when she was going to testify behind closed doors, we saw them distancing themselves from her. Yes, she works in our office, but she’s the State Department employee detailed to our office.”
Collins added Williams, “was on the call with the president. She traveled with Pence when he went to Warsaw to meet with the Ukrainian president.”
“She’s not some low-level staffer,” she continued. “She’s also not an eager witness. No one even realized she was on the call until someone else on the call named her to house investigators, that’s why she was called to testify in the first place.”
Former White House official Joe Lockhart jumped int to say Pence had to know what William had heard during the call.
“I think the other thing about Jennifer Williams, and it’s not getting as much attention, is she does place Vice President Pence in an awkward position,” Lockhart suggested. “He either has to argue he doesn’t read his briefing book, doesn’t listen to his staff, or I was in on this. It’s one or the other. So far he’s escaped scrutiny here, but he was briefed on his way to Warsaw by her and apparently, it was in his briefing book”
Trump’s Alleged ‘Checkup’ at Walter Reed Was ‘Non-Routine and Scheduled Last Minute’: Report
President Donald Trump’s unexpected trip to Walter Reed medical center did not follow “routine” protocols for a presidential medical exam, CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported on Sunday.
A source familiar with Trump’s visit to the hospital told Diamond that staff was not notified prior to the president’s visit.
President Donald Trump’s visit to Walter Reed on Saturday did not follow the protocol of a routine presidential medical exam, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Medical staff at Walter Reed did not get a staff-wide notice about a presidential visit to the medical center in Bethesda, Maryland, ahead of Trump’s arrival, according to that source.
During normal circumstances, medical center staff would have received instructions about a “VIP” visit ahead of time.
“That did not happen this time, indicating the visit was a non-routine visit and scheduled last minute,” Diamond reported.
A second source also told CNN that the trip to Walter Reed was “abnormal.”
The White House is on record insisting that the visit was part of the president’s annual “routine” physical exam.
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