Bill Leonard is James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies at the School of Divinity, Wake Forest University. In a column yesterday, titled Baptist Shame, Leonard spoke out in condemnation against Charles Worley’s remarks about gay concentration camps.
Tonight I am ashamed to be a Baptist. Born into Baptist “cradle role” in the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Texas, and baptized on profession of faith in that congregation when I was 8 years old, I’ve been a born-again Baptist for over five decades.
Leonard draws a historical parallel:
In 1980, a Baptist evangelist declared on national television that, “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” a remark that in many ways advanced this type of homiletical diatribe into the American public square.
E. Glenn Hinson, then my colleague at the Baptist seminary in Louisville and one of the most Christ-like human beings I have ever known, said of that statement, “Such is the stuff of which holocausts are made.”
Hinson’s statement sparked great controversy inside and outside the seminary. His words were true then, and perhaps even truer now. Such concentration-camp language is shameful, whether used in 1930s Europe or 2012 North Carolina.
I recommend the entire column.
This is disgusting. By now, you may have seen it all over the media (e.g., here). Charles Worley, “pastor” of the Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC called for a concentration camp for gays and lesbians.
I figured a way out, a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers but I couldn’t get it past the Congress – build a great big large fence, 50 or a hundred mile long. Put all the lesbians in there, fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. And have that fence electrified so they can’t get out. And you know what? In a few years they will die out. You know why? They can’t reproduce. If a man ever has a young’un, praise God he will be the first.
I asked Bob Stith, National Strategist for Gender Issues at the Southern Baptist Convention, for his reaction and he said Worley’s words were “a vile outburst” and said,
I think it is important to say in the strongest terms how disgusting and unchristian his comments are.
He added that the church is not in the Southern Baptist Convention.
The church website is down, but the Google cache indicates that it is an independent Baptist Church which believes the King James Version of the Bible is inspired. The “KJV only” churches are almost always in the extreme right wing of the church world. This church is a part of something called “The Only Hope” network. The church is also on this list of fundamentalist Baptist churches and this website seems to support Worley.