Louisiana Baptist Church Kicks Out Alcoholics Anonymous Over Fear Of Gay Marriage

Image via lgbtqnation.com

Image via lgbtqnation.com

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.


Comments

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  • Nemisis

    Unfortunately, this type of moralized hate is prevalent through-out the Southern states, and in some cases is extreme to the point of fist fights in one neighborhood I lived in. Two different Baptist churches on opposite street corners. Each church claimed the other was going hell due to a perceived lack of real faith.

    ___

    I think theology should be part of the public school curriculum.
    An elective for sure, but hear me out before anyone needs an nitro pill.

    I don’t mean any specific religion. I mean the study of religion in general.
    Why
    religions form, how they fall, regional concepts, global concepts and
    again no focus on specific teachings of any specific religion and a short chapter on Atheism. Should be
    about a semesters worth provided they stick to the no specifics plan.

    I recommend this to promote a greater tolerance through a greater understanding of a people and their ancestral motivations.

    My mother was Protestant, my father Catholic and my ancestors are Irish.
    Fun was had all around and the result is I’m against most forms of religion.
    If
    you are for organized religion great for you.
    I won’t tell you how to
    live or what to believe in.
    I only ask you show me the same level of
    respect.

    • Cemetery Girl

      Personally, I’m not sure if that should be an elective. Make it a requirement, in the very least a requirement for the college track. There are many colleges that mandate a class like this as a core class, get the ball rolling early. Sadly, many parents would probably oppose it. (Heaven forbid that junior decides that following another religion instead of the family religion is right for them.)

      • Nemisis

        I chose elective due to the expected reaction from the zealot crowd. Mandating exposure to opposing concepts is just asking for trouble especially if the concepts are exposing the inner workings of faith.

  • wildwildwest

    I just can’t even consider going to a
    church that doesn’t welcome all of God’s children. So, that said, count
    me out. Sorry. Love one another. That’s it.

  • Ivan Renko

    I’m not clear here why AA was singled out as being kicked out of the church. AA uses a meeting room at the church and pays a small fee for that use. That’s usually about it. It’s not a church affiliation. And it’s likely that particular AA home group can easily find another meeting place as a replacement.

    • Ankynan

      Knowing Baptists well and having lived in SE TX about an hour from there, I suspect it’s a general mistrust of “those prone to sin”, like alcoholics, amongst which group there probably are some LGBTQ folks. But I can guarantee that the church is full of drunks, philanderers, crooks, & even a few closeted LGBTQ. I don’t know many Baptists in the South who DON’T drink, but they buy their beer/wine/booze in another town & carry it in brown paper grocery bags. Then they drive to the one Catholic church to dispose of their bottles in the dumpster.

      • Ivan Renko

        That’s wrong, and you didn’t read the story or the explanation given by the pastor. If your suspicion was correct, then the church wouldn’t have allowed AA meetings there in the first place. And your comment sounds like many of the recent comments on their Facebook page reacting to headlines such as this one, all of whom also got it wrong.

  • Ankynan

    Thanks, Manny. Went there & told them. I grew up attending a Baptist church, but left it as soon as I discovered the Episcopal church (known to many as “Catholic Lite”, or “Catholic without the guilt). We welcome ALL.

  • oneofthe sinners

    “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do to me.” If you believe the Bible, they are kicking Jesus to the curb.

  • Burton Bagby-Grose

    Such misguided folks who lack a true understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ are just plain pathetic.
    As a pastor in the United Church of Christ, a denomination that values and requires graduate theological education, I know about this ignorance and meanness from the many Baptist refugees to whom we minister.

    • Ivan Renko

      Burton,

      Do you agree with this blog using AA as a pawn in its actism against Westfield Baptist Church for their actions to preclude being forced to perform same-sex marriages at their church, and encouraging readers to post their anger on church’s Facebook page, invoking fake sincerity for alcoholics who might relapse because of a possible, but not likely, missed meeting?

      Their FB page has several pictures of children’s gatherings. Comments from people here right alongside them. Children who arent involved in this issue who otherwise might be thrilled to see their pictures of them and their friends on that page. Do you think this sort of activism encouraged by this blog is warranted.

  • mag00

    Why do these people forget one of the most fundamental concepts of church which is that EVERYONE IS WELCOME. None of these people have sinned before? Not ever? Only non-sinners allowed in their church? Ridiculous.