Deux églises baptistes du Texas risquent l'exclusion pour leur bienveillance à l'égard des LGBT

Deux églises baptistes du Texas risquent l'exclusion pour leur bienveillance à l'égard des LGBT

>> Texas Baptist association threatens to expel Dallas, Austin churches over LGBT policies

Les responsables de la Convention générale des Baptistes du Texas (Baptist General Convention of Texas- BGCT) - affiliée aux enseignements généraux de la Convention du Sud, la plus grande Église protestante aux États-Unis, menacent d'exclure les églises « Wilshire » de Dallas et la « First » à Austin, en raison de leur position ouvertement favorable à l'accueil des personnes LGBT.

En 2010, la BGCT avait déjà réprimandé la « Royal Lane Baptist Church » de Dallas, en suspendant son soutien financier, pour avoir nominé des diacres ouvertement homosexuels.

« Le comportement sexuel entre personnes du même sexe » est contraire à la foi Baptiste : «  c'est un péché ! Le reconnaitre publiquement mettrait en péril l'harmonie de nos échanges et coopération : vous ne pourrez plus assister à notre réunion annuelle, ni d'ailleurs exprimer votre affiliation ou prétendre à quelque fonction au sein de la Convention, comme siéger lors des conseils et comités », stipule la lettre.

Les représentants de l'église d'Austin ont réagi mardi en soulignant dans un communiqué qu'ils avaient diligenté leur travail théologique de façon assidue, « guidés par l’Esprit et les saintes écritures » mais aussi les témoignages et arguments de tous les fidèles. Évoquant « un processus réfléchi », ils se disent « fiers d'accueillir et reconnaître tous les enfants bien-aimés de Dieu. »

Valentine Monceau
stohomophobie.org

>> Two Baptist churches risk expulsion from the Baptist General Convention of Texas for adopting stances that open doors to the LGBT community.

Baptist News reported that two churches, First Baptist Church of Austin and Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, received letters from convention leaders informing them that they were « on notice » for taking welcoming stances toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

The BGCT is one of two groups in Texas aligned with the Southern Baptist Convention and includes, among its core beliefs, the statement « Homosexual behavior is a sin. »

On Tuesday, First Baptist Church of Austin responded to the convention's letter charging the congregation with effectively choosing « to withdraw itself from harmonious cooperation » after last year's adoption of a policy to welcome members of all sexual orientations into the community.

« As a church, we did our diligent theological work, being guided by the spirit, meditating on sacred scripture and hearing the stories and struggles of our own members, » the Austin church's letter states. «  As a result of that thoughtful process, we are proudly and openly welcoming and affirming of all God's beloved children. »

The letter suggested the BGCT's actions had been unfairly influenced by other churches that disagreed with the Austin policy and threatened to stop giving money to the convention until the church was "excluded from fellowship."

« Once we begin to listen to the voices who wield their power and financial strength in this way, » the letter continued, « we have begun a slippery slope to fundamentalism and irrelevancy. »

Meanwhile, Dallas' Wilshire Baptist received a letter from the BGCT threatening expulsion dependent on the results of a recent vote taken to elucidate the church's position on hosting same-sex marriages or allowing gays and lesbians to serve as deacons.

« Should your church choose to publicly affirm same-sex sexual behavior, » The Baptist Standard quoted the letter as reading, « 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. »

The last time the BGCT scolded a church over such issues was in 2010 when it said it would stop taking funds from Dallas' Royal Lane Baptist Church after it started appointing openly gay deacons.

A resolution at the 1982 BGCT annual meeting stated, « The homosexual lifestyle is not normal or acceptable in God’s sight and is indeed called sin. »

In 1996, the BGCT Executive Board approved a report from its Messenger Seating Study Committee that said: « The Bible teaches that the ideal for sexual behavior is the marital union between husband and wife and that all other sexual relations—whether premarital, extramarital or homosexual—are contrary to God’s purposes and thus sinful. Homosexual practice is therefore in conflict with the Bible. »

In 1998, the convention’s Administrative Committee and Executive Board voted to decline any financial contributions from University Baptist Church in Austin after the congregation ordinated a gay man as a deacon. Messengers to the BGCT annual meeting subsequently affirmed the action. The recommendation as approved dealt not only with University Baptist, but also « any church which openly endorses moral views in conflict with biblical teaching. »