GREENSBORO, N.C.—Acknowledging Christians are complicit in hateful actions directed toward gays and lesbians, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship rejected “violence against LGBTQ persons” June 24.
The CBF governing board released what it called “a response to the mass shooting in Orlando” on the final afternoon of its three-day annual general assembly in Greensboro, N.C.
The previous day, participants in the CBF meeting set aside time for prayer and remembrance of victims of gun violence during the past year.
“It has been two weeks since a gunman killed 49 people and injured 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando,” said CBF Past Moderator Kasey Jones, senior pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C.
“Last week marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, where nine people were gunned down as they gathered for the Bible study. Lives of these precious people were taken and communities were left reeling. Let us remember today all those who have lost their lives to mass shootings in the U.S. since we last met at general assembly.”
The CBF governing board’s statement said: “Admittedly and sadly, the church has been said to be tacitly complicit in the Orlando attack because some Christians have either spoken in hateful ways about LGBTQ persons or have remained silent when other people spewed hate. No more.
“We stand united in our belief that every person is created in God’s image and endowed with a sacred dignity that cannot be taken away. We stand united in proclaiming that God loves each person and wants all people to know God through God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
God seeks unity among people, the statement added: “God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto Godself, making all of us into a single family. We stand united in condemning anyone who questions the full worth of LGBTQ persons before God or as citizens of our country.
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“We reject … violence against LGBTQ persons”
“We reject any language and condemn any person who advocates violence against LGBTQ persons.”
The statement acknowledged CBF “is not a like-minded fellowship about matters related to human sexuality,” and members do not agree on all points.
“Indeed, we proudly guard each other’s right to think and believe as the Spirit leads,” it said. “We trust that the Spirit will lead us to reason together and that our communion is stronger for our individual convictions.
“The value of each person’s life and the worth of each and every person before our Creator are matters on which we find such abundant agreement, strong commitment and resolute belief that we must speak when these truths are so brutally denied, as they were in Orlando and Charleston.
“To fail to do so would be to deny our common humanity and the faith, love and hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.”
Aaron Weaver and Carrie McGuffin of CBF contributed to this article.
Other articles about the 2016 CBF general assembly: