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only thing

The mothers in my private Facebook support group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, were very encouraged when First Baptist Church Greenville adopted an LGBT non-discrimination policy. Their willingness to allow same sex couples to marry, ordain LGBT people and embrace the complexities of gender identity give families like ours hope for the future.

However, we were disheartened when Dwight Easler of the South Carolina Baptist Convention sent a letter to First Baptist Church Greenville calling on them to recant their LGBT non-discrimination policy or be disassociated. (You can read the story here and here.)

In response we sent this letter, with more than 150 signatures, to Mr Easler and all the board and staff members of the South Carolina Baptist Convention:

Dear Mr. Easler and all SC Baptist Convention Board and Staff Members,

We write to you as Christian mothers of LGBT kids. We are part of a large private Facebook group. We presently have more than 550 members and continue to grow. The focus of our group is to develop and maintain healthy, loving relationships with our LGBT kids and to make the world a safer, kinder, more loving place for our kids to live.

Recently we were very encouraged when we heard about First Baptist Greenville’s LGBT non-discrimination policy. However, your request for First Baptist Greenville to recant its policy or face the possibility of being disassociated from the South Carolina Baptist Convention is very disheartening to us.

We write not only on behalf of our children but on behalf of all LGBT people.

Religious rejection is the most common reason LGBT youth are driven from their homes. Last year at least 200,000 LGBT youth experienced homelessness in the United States and many of them were rejected because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

In addition to LGBT youth making up 40% of homeless youth population (even though LGBT people only make up 5% of the overall population) we know that LGBT people in general often struggle with depression, self-loathing and thoughts of suicide as a result of Christian teachings.

Although there are reputable theologians on both sides of the religious debate there is nothing in scripture to absolutely condemn or support same sex relationships. However, Jesus Christ is never recorded as having said a word in judgment or condemnation of homosexuality or of LGBT people.

Even if we were to concede that something in scripture did condemn LGBT people or same sex relationships we would appeal to you to consider that there are biblical writings endorsing conduct that we now recognize as wrong. There are passages that endorse the rape of enemies’ wives and the murder of their children, and some that endorse slavery and even genocide. However, they are not maintained as part of church teaching today. Such passages are recognized to be cruel and immoral, and reflective of the ignorance of more primitive times. Therefore, we ask you to recognize that the condemnation of homosexuality is also cruel and wrong, and rooted in a primitive, obsolete understanding of human sexuality. We ask you to join the growing number of Christians, Christian faith communities and Christian organizations who choose to welcome and embrace LGBT people with love and acceptance.

When our theology produces hopelessness, depression, self-loathing and self-harm we are obligated to examine our beliefs in order to discover where we have gone wrong. The good news of Jesus Christ should be life giving and life producing. Good theology should produce good fruit.

As Baptists you are among the largest and most influential religious organizations in the U.S. The message that all same sex relationships are wrong and unacceptable continues to produce bad fruit. No matter how lovingly it is delivered it continues to produce death … relational death, spiritual death, emotional death and even physical death.

We share, with you, the belief that God is love. We know in our hearts that any suffering LGBT people endure is ultimately a violation against love. How tragic if anything under the banner of Christianity would contribute to that violation.

We call on you, in the name of love and justice, to embrace the radical idea of inclusion and acceptance of ALL God’s children that Paul put forth in Galatians 5:6 when he wrote “the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Whoever has ears let them hear,

Abby De Fiesta Cortez
Adele Berardi
Alise D Chaffins
Angie Laws
Anita Jewell Carter Cockrum
Barb Cressy
Becky Cantrall
Beth Breems
Bethany Kirwen
Bonnie Miranda
Bridget Murphy
Carla Short Spivey
Carol Beth Wiggins Baswell
Carol Fuss Reed
Carole Bass
Caroline Williams Joyce
Cassy Taylor Campos
Cathleen Frantzen Schaber
Cheri Nill
Cheri Simpson
Chris Behne
Cindy Morgan
Colleen Kane
Crista Mason
Dana Huntington-Smith
Danette Mohring
Dawn Bennett Jones
Dawn Pulley Ervin
Deb Gallagher
Debbie McCullough Hayhurst
Debbie Wasielewski Tavarez
Debby McCrary
Debi Jackson
Debi Tucker Boland
Deborah Carlyle Enman
Denise Ramirez-Tatum
Derry Cronin Gleason
Diana Dermit McCarthy
Diane Blevins Smith
Donna Holmes
Doris Wright
Gena Rogers
Genell Brown
Georgi Persons
Heather Clevenger
Heather Gee-Thomas
Irene Gilliland
Jacqueline Rutledge
Jan Roberts
Jane Clementi
Jane Moody
Jaron Terry
Jennifer Dunnam Stringfellow
Jennifer Schaffner Burkhardt
Jennifer Seeger
Jennifer Stake White
Jerri Surles Collins
Jill Spicer
Joani Lea Jack
Jody Miller Vanderzell
Joy Denton
Judith K Volkar
Julie Greene
Julie Kennedy Eaton
Kathi Nicholson
Kathy Renne Post
Katie Willhite Brooks
Kay Otting
Kay Whistler
Kelli Lewis Decker
Kim Freeman Weill
Kim Kendall
Kim McMahon
Kim Sonntag
Kimberly Jones
Kimberlyn Graham
Kori Pavkov
Kyle Jump
Lannette Sargent
Laura Sparks Turner
LeAnn Fenner
Lenora Lea Gill
Lesa Edwards-Schepers
Lesley Davis
Leslie Jones Webster
Linda Ling
Linda Rooney
Linda York O’Connell
Lisa Bray
Lisa Golden Dugger
Lisa Maniscalco Hildebrand
Lisa Osborne
Liz Dyer
Lori Love-Wise
Lynette Joy
Madai Girard
Mally Baum
Mally Shell Hatch
Margie Candler
Maria Breeden
Marianne Minier Walker
Marjorie Rudolph
Marlene Lund
Martha Maust
Mary Kay Weil
Melea Broekers
Meredith Webster Indermaur
Michele Freemyer Grabbe
Michele Manuel Fuselier
Michelle Bradshaw McComb
Miriam Pendley
Monica-Niki Elenbaas
Morven Roberts Baker
Nancy Barron Booher
Nancy MacDonald
Nancy Thompson Flikkema
Nancy Villegas
Nicole Havlen Hair
Nina Carley
Pam Swendig
Pauline Daly
Rachel Drouillard
Rachel Sargent
Regina Pitts Woods
Rita Daruvala
Rob Ullinger
Robin Gowan
Robinette Nacca-Cooke
Ʀosaııie Ĺane
Rose Stucchio
Roxanna Villars Gambrell
Sandra Van Dyne
Sara Cunningham
Stacey Frazier
Stacey Jackson Baeumler
Stacy Gouge Drake
Susan Berland
Susan Cloys Seaman
Susan Metcalf
Susan Foss Naranjo-Stultz
Susan Wardzinski
Susy Rowe Barnhill
Tamara Totoro Dick
Tammy Watson
Tammy Wenzinger
Tammy Wylie Barnes
Tana Lightbown Hendricks
Teresa Parker
Teri Stueland Kay
Terri Cook
Terri Nolt
Terri Schempf
Theresa Moore Martinez
Tonda Campbell Hoyt
Vicki Kemp Whorton
Vicky Barnes
Zenia Robertson

(If you are interested in joining the private Facebook group for moms of lgbt kids send an email to lizdyer55@gmail.com and put “Mom’s Facebook Group” as the subject.)