File this story about Westwood Baptist Church under utterly ridiculous and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Every time I see a story like this, I say to myself, “please don’t let it be Louisiana, please don’t let it be Louisiana, please don’t let it be Louisiana, please don’t let it be Louisiana, please don’t let it be Louisiana…”
However, this week’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot award goes to Pastor David Venable and Westwood Baptist Church in Keithville, Louisiana. Keithville lies to the south of Shreveport near the Louisiana/Texas border in Caddo Parish. Unlike the southern part of the state which is predominately Catholic, the northern part of Louisiana is heavily Protestant and Baptists are probably the largest Christian denomination in the area.
Westwood Baptist Church recently released a letter citing perceived attacks from the gay community in their decision to kick out all groups that used their building for meetings, including Alcoholics Anonymous:
“As I am sure you are aware, God’s church, his written word, and its values and principles have come under a constant and aggressive attack from the homosexual and lesbian community,” the letter begins, before going on to say that “Churches and Christian businesses alike, across our nation, are being forced, by our legal system, to accommodate these groups in the use of their buildings/facilities to perform marriage ceremonies, receptions, etc.” due to a court decision they say was based on the fact the churches and business were accepting and accommodating other public entities, and therefore must also accommodate the homosexual and lesbian community.”
Church officials say they aren’t turning anyone away from the church and all people are free to worship at the church, but Pastor David Venable says in order to stay in line with God’s word, the church had to make a tough and carefully considered decision. (Source)
First of all, no wonder more and more younger people are turning away from religion. When a church like Westwood Baptist Church continues to demonize members of the LGBT community and uses the Bible to justify this hatred, it’s a turn off to the younger generation. I was raised in a very conservative Catholic environment and was taught homophobia, but I grew out of that after becoming an adult. One of the reasons that I no longer go to church is because of their unwillingness to accept the fact that being gay isn’t a choice, and that it isn’t any of their business anyhow.
Second, people like Mike Huckabee and the north Louisiana reality show stars from the Robertson clan are perfect examples of how conservative Christians are doubling down on homophobia instead of concentrating on the things that actually matter, like taking care of the poor and the sick – or in this case, those with alcohol problems. Christianity believes that humans are all sinful, faulty creatures in need of being saved, but at the same time, these churches don’t want anyone who isn’t their idea of perfect.
Churches really need to get back to taking care of the poor, the sick and tending to the spiritual needs of their congregation – and stay out of partisan politics. If they can’t do that, then those who continue political action should have their tax-exempt status pulled.
This post to Westwood Baptist Church’s Facebook page from Stephanie K., who happens to be one of our fans, sums up the problem:
Everyday I read an article that helps me know that walking out of the SBC was the wisest move I made. What happened to “Fear not”? How many of those people who showed up for their AA meeting had a relapse because of your silly fearful letter? Maybe one was struggling and needed that support to stay sober for one more day. Fear isn’t from God. Shame on you for failing to see the ministry needs you have right in front of you for some distant political bogeyman being used as a wedge issue.
Feel free to go to the Westwood Baptist Church on Facebook and politely but firmly let them know how you feel about their decision.
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