DALLAS, June 24 (AP)--Texas' largest Baptist group may leave the increasingly conservative Southern Baptist Convention, a move that would dramatically drain membership and financial support from the national organization.

The Baptist General Convention of Texas, the largest state convention in the denomination, is openly discussing severing ties with the national body, which two years ago called for wives to "submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband."

"We're not interested in siphoning off a lot of funds from Texas to fund a Jerry Falwell-clone church," the Rev. Clyde Glazener, president of the BGCT, told The Dallas Morning News for Saturday's editions.

The moderate Texas group funneled more than $45 million from Texas churches to the national body in 1999 and accounted for 14% of its budget, according to the newspaper.

The differences have raised the possibility that the state convention will create a new Baptist denomination at its annual meeting in October.

The national convention, at its annual meeting in Orlando June 14, also alienated moderates by declaring that women should no longer serve as pastors.

The Southern Baptist Convention, based in Atlanta, claims 15.8 million members at more than 40,000 churches and is the nation's largest Protestant denomination.

If the 2.7 million members and 6,000 churches in the BGCT separate from the national group, the Texas convention would become the ninth-largest denomination in the country.

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