Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baptist Air Force Chaplain Changes Denominations Over Gay Marriage Flap

I've written twice before about Col. Timothy Wagoner, a career Air Force chaplain who until recently was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") - at least he was until he was booted out of that denomination for not holding enough hate and animosity towards gay service members.  Wagoner's great sin was that he attended a civil union ceremony on an Air Force base for a same sex couple.  That was just too much for the modern day Pharisees at the SBC even though Wagoner had not officiated at the service.  Merely being supportive of gay members of the military was considered heresy.  The story has a happy ending, however.  Wagoner will remain on active duty and has affiliated with a less hate filled branch of the Baptist faith.  The Oklahoman has details.  Here are excerpts:

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.

1 comment:

Pamela Merritt said...

And yet they don't demand Westboro Baptist Church take the "baptist" part out.

Priorities I do not understand.