Added 8:29 a.m. January 8, 2006 – Please read this apology/explanation about this post: More thoughts about Baptists, some rethinking

This is an update to a previous post: Oklahoma Baptist leader who spoke against gay marriage busted for propositioning a cop for oral sex

KOTV.com: Tulsa Church Pastor Put On Adminstrative Leave Following His Arrest

ChannelOklahoma.com: SBC Has No Plans To Remove Pastor

NewsOK.com: Pastor on paid leave from Baptist church after arrest at hotel

Soul Force Press Release: Rev. Lonnie Latham–Another Victim of the Southern Baptist Lie Regarding Homosexuality

Mediagirl.org: Beware the pious self-hating homosexual preacher

It sounds like that the congregation is taking the right stance on this (giving Rev. Latham paid leave while it investigates), but I still don’t see the denomination as a whole examining really why this happened and what role, if any, the church’s stance on homosexuality had on this situation. I know that many of my readers will see this story as being proof that all humans are sinful and even ministers make mistakes, and I agree in part… we all are hypocrites when it comes down to it. In fact I’ll give one example from my own life — I remember in college that I wrote an outspoken piece that discussed the dangers of premaritial sex in my then conservative political column in the student newspaper… yes, I have definitely had a political conversion to say the least… yet about a month later I had lost my virginity and was engaging in premaritial sex with my new girlfriend.

So I agree that in many ways, this situation is no different than that. Often we humans are good at telling others how they are sinful, while at the same time secretly engaging in the sins we so readily denounce.

However, I think there is more to this story than that. If (and this is a big “if”), this minister truly is gay and was born that way, then his situation is pretty sad. And not only will he be hurt by it, but also his family, his church, and so many others. It seems to me that if his church had not taken the stance it had, then maybe this situation would never had come out the way it had. Certainly the church is not solely to blame, but surely it bears some responsibility. And honestly this isn’t a unique story. I’ve known (and read about) many people who knew all their lives that they were gay, but due to societal/family/religious preasure had lived the lie of straight lifestyle, until something happened that made it impossible to continue.

I probably think about things too much, but I can’t help but think what it would be like if I (a heterosexual, woman-loving man) was born in a world where homosexuality was the norm, and where society expected and even demanded that people be gay. I can’t imagine how hard that would be to live as a heterosexual in that kind of world, to either have to face societal condemnation for being who you are, or to force yourself to do something that feels unnatural.

So I guess that’s why I feel sorry for people who are caught in that struggle in the world we actually live in, and I wish that the Church (in the universal sense) was a place that folks could turn to and receive unconditional love and acceptance, instead of hatred and rejection.