By Shannon Baker, BCM/D National Correspondent
GLEN BURNIE, Md.–It has come to the attention of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church plan to stage a protest against gay rights on Tuesday, March 13 at Glen Burnie (Md.) High School.
To be clear, Westboro is not affiliated with any Baptist or religious group and should not be confused with any of the churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, to whom the BCM/D belongs.
In fact, Westboro has twice protested against the Southern Baptist Convention—once at an annual meeting and another time at our corporate headquarters in Nashville.
The Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, which is comprised of over 500 Southern Baptist churches, does not endorse homosexual behavior based on our biblical beliefs, nor do we endorse demonstrators who espouse hate, shame, and condemnation or attacking those with whom we have different views.
Southern Baptists spoke out against such behavior in 1999, when messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution that said: “[W]e publicly denounce and deplore all violent attacks upon homosexuals, and that we express our abhorrence of the teaching that God hates any person on account of an immoral lifestyle.”
On the contrary, our faith is based on a profound hope that all individuals—including those at Westboro Baptist Church—will have the opportunity to experience an abundant life marked by the peace, presence and love of Jesus Christ.
We pray, as the demonstrators exercise their right to free speech, those affected will exercise their right to rise above the hate. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 3:35).
For background, see “’Hate-filled’ Westboro not Southern Baptist.”