North Carolina Baptists adopt strictest ban on gay-friendly churches
Deny membership to gays or face expulsion
Dec 12, 2006
Baptist churches in North Carolina will have to deny membership to gays or face expulsion from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Messengers to the convention’s annual meeting voted November 14 to add language to its governing documents that will exclude from convention membership any church thought to affirm homosexual behavior.
It is the most rigid antigay policy of any statewide organization affiliated with the nationwide Southern Baptist Convention and is similar to an SBC policy approved more than a decade ago. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, with more than 4,000 churches and about 1.2 million members, is the second-largest state body that relates to the SBC.
After a show-of-ballots vote, leaders of the state convention determined that the amendment passed by more than the required two-thirds margin—as it did last year during the amendment’s first reading.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).