American Baptists walk a tightrope

Controversy over homosexuality
The controversy over homosexuality has consumed our agenda, our discussion time and our energy; yet the controversy still threatens to break us apart.”

That statement came not from Methodists or Presbyterians but from a meeting of regional church officials in the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., a denomination with 5,700 congregations and 1.4 million members which has managed to maintain a low national news profile on sensitive issues.

The dilemma for American Baptists, said the statement adopted November 20 and released December 2, is that while the prevailing view in the denomination is that homosexual intimacy is “incompatible” with Christian teaching, American Baptist policies allow for respectful dissent. As a result, “individuals and congregations who hold different viewpoints exist among us.”


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