A long-serving Air Force chaplain has left the Southern Baptist Convention after the conservative denomination publicly questioned his attendance at a same-sex civil union ceremony at his base in New Jersey.The chaplain, Col. Timothy Wagoner, is remaining on active duty and has affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which holds more moderate views on homosexuality and some other issues than the Southern Baptists.“I find very little that is more important and nothing that is more exhilarating than providing for the religious freedoms and spiritual care of all service members and their families — and will joyfully continue to do so,” Wagoner said Friday in an email to The Associated Press.
Wagoner’s exit from the Southern Baptist Convention, which SBC leaders welcomed, is a direct fallout from the repeal a year ago of the “don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that had prevented gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.Wagoner — the senior chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst — had made clear he would not officiate at such ceremonies, which the Southern Baptists do not condone. However, Wagoner had told the AP that he decided to attend as a show of support for the base community, for Umali, and for the Evangelical Lutheran chaplain, Col. Kay Reeb, who presided over it.
I wish Wagoner happiness in his new denomination and hope that he continues to see LGBT people as worthy children of God. Would that more Christians would realize that it's really very simple to walk away from hate dominated denominations and find more tolerant and loving alternatives.