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Activist Faith

Yesterday in Phoenix, AZ, Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright met with members from a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups seeking an official apology from the denomination regarding the treatment of of the LGBT community. While no official statement took place as a result, the meeting addresses the important question, “Should Baptists Apologize to the Gay Community?”

To answer the question clearly, a distinction regarding what is being apologized for must be made. On one hand, Baptist leaders do not wish to change their beliefs they teach based on the words of the Bible. Further, in a nation where religious freedom is embraced, people should have the opportunity to agree or disagree with various issues and beliefs.

However, this is different from an apology from the treatment of LGBT people by Baptist members and denominational leaders. In this area, there are numerous specific accounts in which those who claim to follow the teachings of Jesus have not only spoken their beliefs, but have treated those in the LGBT community in a way that does not represent the love or teachings of Jesus accurately. To this, Baptists could, and in my opinion should, apologize to those they have hurt.

Of course, Baptists are not the only ones in need of apology in this area. Christians from a variety of denominational backgrounds and many non-Christians could stand to treat those in the LGBT community much better than they do. One way to begin is to simply acknowledge our lack of love toward others and say, “I’m sorry.”

Personally, I am a Christian who happens to be a member of a Southern Baptist Church. To those in the LGBT community who have been hurt by the actions of those who claim to follow Jesus, I am truly sorry for the pain you and your loved ones have endured. The mistreatment you have experienced is not the example Jesus desires. While I disagree with your way of life, my desire is to love you unconditionally as Jesus loves me, showing respect and dignity every step of the way. In the end, I hope you will see Jesus in my life and desire to live more like him in the process.

Even if Baptists won’t apologize, I will. I. Am. Sorry.

[Please feel free to share your comments below or to email me here.]

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DILLON BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and co-founder of Activist Faith. Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books include Undefending ChristianityNot in My Town (with Charles J. Powell), and Thirst No More (October). Discover more at ActivistFaith.org.

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