This year the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America marks the 15th anniversary of its stand for Justice and Sexual Orientation
. The statement was unanimously approved by the board of directors of the BPFNA in May 1995. Affirming the belief that “all human beings are created and loved by God,” the BPFNA “welcomes into our movement all persons of faith who desire to be peacemakers and workers for justice, regardless of sexual orientation.”
BPFNA applauds President Obama’s recent memorandum requiring hospitals to “respect the rights of patients to designate visitors,” thus allowing partners of gays and lesbians to be present during hospital stays. We join the President in the hope that this call for justice will be “affirmed by most Americans.”
Justice and Sexual Orientation
calls the BPFNA “[t]o work with our brothers and sisters to secure full civil and human rights within the larger culture.” We are pleased that our work in this area is already constructive and influential.
As was true 15 years ago, the issues surrounding sexual orientation are still complex and emotionally laden. To assist churches in holding conversations on these issues, the BPFNA produced a resource, Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth: a resource for congregations in dialogue on sexual orientation
, which has been widely used.
The BPFNA is now developing new approaches to further and deepen this dialogue with the clear conviction that all are welcome at the Lord’s Table. The Arcus Foundation
recently provided funding for the BPFNA, the Alliance of Baptists
and the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists
to look at the Baptist landscape and the need to assist congregations in moving to a welcoming place, and begin planning ways to expand our work together in this area.
Stephen D. Jones, BPFNA board president, noted, “Those who went before us 15 years ago on the board of the BPFNA rightly determined that justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons cannot be excluded from our compassion or attention. We applaud that earlier effort, and our own table continues to be a table of a shalom for everyone.” The BPFNA gathers, equips and mobilizes Baptists to build a culture of peace rooted in justice, laboring with a wonderful array of peacemakers to change the world.
►Read the "Baptist Peace Fellowship Statement on Justice & Sexual Orientation"