Southern Baptists Solve Shrinking Membership By Reminding Girls They Aren’t Allowed

The Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, voted Wednesday to finalize the expulsion of two member churches because they have women pastors, something they’re quite sure Jesus would not approve of. The Prince of Peace hasn’t even once shown up to disagree with anything else Southern Baptist leaders have done since the denomination was founded in 1845, when the SBC broke with other Baptists so it could advocate slavery without any backtalk.

The SBC had actually expelled the two churches in February, along with three others that didn’t appeal the decision. At the SBC’s annual meeting in New Orleans, delegates — called “messengers” because it’s more Bible-y — refused to reinstate California’s Saddleback Church, the megachurch led by rightwing evangelist Rick Warren, who didn’t even get a pass for hating gays and abortion or even for calling Barack Obama an enemy of Christianity years ago, even though he’d been inexplicably invited to pray at the first Muslim president’s inauguration.

Previously!

Defensive Obama Team Defensively Defends Stupid Rick Warren

Obama On Rick Warren: ‘Uhh… Hope?’

Rick Warren Joins Furious Wingnuts: Obama’s ‘Freedom To Worship’ Is War On Religion

Bonus: Yr Editrix on Saddleback, from the Before Times at OC Weekly

But Saddleback has some lady pastors, so it couldn’t be reinstated, and neither could the smaller Fern Creek Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky. Lord knows you wouldn’t want to risk a lady pastor leaning over the pulpit and accidentally brushing against the Holy Bible with her dirtypillows.


The SBC’s “statement of faith” holds that only men can be pastors, because of some Bible verse that is as indisputable as the fact that Earth was created out of nothing about 6,000 years ago (to the great surprise of the Sumerians, who had already figured out agriculture, math, and writing at the time). So it wasn’t terribly surprising that the votes were overwhelming; 9,437 to 1,212 to reject Saddleback’s appeal, and 9,700 to 806 to refuse readmission for Fern Creek.

“I knew they would uphold the expulsion. However, I guess I am a bit naive. I did not think it would be that drastic a result. I thought there were more people left in the Southern Baptist Convention who support the autonomy of the local church, if not women in ministry,” said the Rev. Linda Barnes Popham, Fern Creek’s pastor.

She said some messengers came up to her to say while they disagree with her, they “appreciate our passion for the Gospel.”

She’s from Kentucky, so she should certainly know that the messengers couldn’t be taken literally when they said “well bless your heart.”

Before the vote, Warren appealed to the good sense and Christian forbearance of the messengers, apparently forgetting for a moment that he is himself a Southern Baptist:

“We should remove churches for all kinds of sexual sin, racial sin, financial sin and leadership sin – sins that harm the testimony of our convention,” Warren told the convention. But churches with “women on pastoral staff have not sinned,” he said. “If doctrinal disagreements between Baptists are considered sin, we all get kicked out.”

Well sure, and Jesus never said anything about gay people or abortion, but here you are. Or aren’t anymore.

The Associated Press helpfully clarifies that since all Baptist churches are independent, the convention can’t boss them around, but it can expel them, or in the official parlance, can declare they are “not in friendly cooperation,” or in severe cases of doctrinal disagreement, “not in friendly cooperation, motherfucker.” The AP also notes this appears to be the first time any churches have been booted for having women pastors.

The AP also notes that posting a big NO GURLS ALLOWED sign on Southern Baptist pulpits, the messengers also did some less dickish things like

upholding the expulsion of Freedom Baptist Church in Florida over its alleged mishandling of a sexual misconduct allegation.

They also voted to give a task force in charge of implementing abuse reforms more time to work. The task force launched last year.

The task force has also set up a website that includes a database of “pastors and church workers credibly accused of sex abuse,” so thank Crom those particular groomers aren’t being covered up. Any more.

The messengers also returned to terrible form by passing a resolution condemning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, who, the resolution said, are pursuing “a futile quest to change one’s sex and as a direct assault on God’s created order.”

You could say the same of automobiles, modern medicine, and Michael Bay movies too.

Just to make sure affiliated churches don’t go getting any funny ideas about women being allowed to have authority over men, the messengers voted to amend the denomination’s constitution to make absolutely clear that Southern Baptist churches are to

“affirm, appoint or employ only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.” To go into effect, it needs to be approved at the next annual meeting.

Sarah Clatworthy, member of Lifepoint Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, advocated for the amendment, urging the SBC “to shut the door to feminism and liberalism.”

“In a culture that is unclear about the role of men and women, we have to be crystal clear,” she said. “We should leave no room for our daughters or granddaughters to have confusion on where the SBC stands.”

We will simply observe that no matter what Ms. Clatworthy says about doctrine, there’s no guarantee that Baptists’ daughters or granddaughters will buy into it going forward — as, indeed, they aren’t doing now, what with 2022’s decline in membership being the single greatest drop-off in a 16-year-trend of shrinking attendance. Also, we aren’t quite sure what one would need to do to be worthy of clat in the first place.

After being declared unfriendly and uncooperative, Warren issued a statement calling for Christians to party like it’s AD 99:

“There are people who want to take the SBC back to the 1950s when white men ruled supreme and when the woman’s place was in the home. There are others who want to take it back 500 years to the time of the Reformation,” he said. “I say we need to take the church back to the first century. The church at its birth was the church at its best.”

That would be pretty sweet, what with speaking Aramaic like Jesus, the Romans keeping the streets clean, Paul’s letters being fresh in your email inbox (including presumably the ones he didn’t write, because who’d fact-check ’em even then), and of course the opportunity to really be martyred instead of pretending that martyrdom consists of Target having a Pride display, the end.

[AP / Onion / AP / Photo (cropped and photoshooped) by Gerry Dincher, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Florida Bill Doing Best To Out-Worst All Other Bans On Gender-Affirming Care

As Yr Wonkette covered yesterday, and as brought to our attention by the invaluable Erin in the Morning, the state of Florida (Motto: “America’s Useless Appendage”) is considering a whole swath of terrible legislation that if passed, would make life even more miserable for LGBTQ+ people there. It’s understandable, really — there are so many Republicans in the state Legislature, and they all want a turn at proving that they can hate LGBTQ+ folks as much or more than their peers.

Read More:

Florida LGBTQ Hate Bills Want Some Bigot To Have ‘Parental Rights’ Over Everybody Else’s Children

Red States About Five Minutes Away From Legalized Lynching Of Trans People

What IS Gender Affirming Health Care For Kids Anyway, Because Texas Is Super F*cking Lying About It Right?

Today, we’ll take a closer look (again, thanks to Erin Reed) at just one of those very bad ideas, Florida HB 1421, which drunkenly tells other states’ bans on gender affirming care for trans youth, “Hold my beer” before jumping on a skateboard and launching itself into the abyss. A Florida House subcommittee yesterday voted to move HB 1421 out of committee. After hearings in a second committee, the bill is likely to be sent to the full House, where it’s likely to pass. It’s Florida, and Republicans have an 85-35 majority of seats.

It’s not only an extremist bill, it’s also so broadly written that in attempting to outlaw gender-affirming care for minors, it also may make mastectomies for breast cancer illegal and ban hormone treatments for menopause. We can’t entirely guarantee that’s a mistake. The bill doesn’t simply ban gender-affirming treatment going forward: It would force detransition on trans youth. All minors currently receiving puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy would have to end treatment by December 31 of this year. Such forced detransitioning is almost certain to lead to suicides, not that the psycho bigots supporting the bill care.

As ever: If you’re having thoughts of harming yourself, call the national suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.

This being Florida, the bill keeps getting worse. One provision would allow the state to take trans kids from their parents to “protect” them from getting gender-affirming care in another state.

As with several similar bills around the country, the law also forbids insurance plans from covering gender-affirming care for adults, because the bill’s sponsor, the dubiously named Rep. Randy Fine — a former gambling industry executive, not a doctor — says he believes all medical care for trans people is merely “a cosmetic-type procedure, and not necessarily a procedure that would improve their health.” Yes, of course he’s ignoring the consensus among medical organizations that transition is the treatment for gender dysphoria, and that, yes, it saves lives.

Because the bill bans the state from paying for any gender-affirming care, it would also result in forcible detransition for incarcerated trans people. The bill’s sponsor was very clear on that when another state representative asked. Further, the blanket prohibition on puberty blockers and hormone therapy would probably prohibit some treatments for stunted growth in children. Another legislator said that, as she read the bill, it may ban contraception for minors, although Fine said he didn’t think it would.

HB 1421 also prohibits any changes to birth certificates to reflect an adult’s gender identity. State Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D) had questions about why a bill supposedly aimed at “protecting” children would do that; Fine (again, not a doctor) explained that “your biology cannot be changed,” to which Skidmore replied, “Doctors would disagree. […] You can change your biology. That’s the point of gender-affirming care and surgery.”

Fine then muttered something about chromosomes, which kind of ignores the fact that hormone therapy very definitely changes a person’s biology, what with the differences in hair growth, body chemistry, and so on. But not chromosomes!

Fine went on to explain that gender-affirming care for minors is “child abuse,” although he acknowledged that’s his personal opinion, not actually a law. But co-sponsor Rep. Ralph Massullo — who somehow is a doctor — insisted it was just like “If you chop your sons arm off it’s child abuse,” so there’s a doctor who knows his stuff. Massullo also explained, contrary to the medical consensus, that since gender dysphoria is all in trans people’s heads, they should see a therapist and get cured through good old conversion therapy, which doesn’t work.

The most glaringly insane part of the bill is the former gambling executive’s medically muddy definition of “gender clinical interventions,” a term that isn’t actually from medicine. HB 1421 defines such interventions as

procedures or therapies that alter internal or external physical traits.

The term includes, but is not limited to:

1. Sex reassignment surgeries or any other surgical procedures that alter primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

2. Puberty blocking, hormone, and hormone antagonistic therapies.

The bill allows a few exceptions, such as for treatment of infants born with ambiguous genitalia, and of course for treatments to reverse gender-affirming care, but that’s about it; as House Democrats pointed out, the broad prohibitions on altering “primary or secondary sexual characteristics” appears to ban mastectomies, breast reduction or enhancement, maybe prostate surgery, and who knows, maybe even penile implants for treatment of erectile dysfunction.

But wait! Since it only applies to minors, Fine figured that wouldn’t be a problem. During questioning by state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D), Fine was surprised to hear that minors can even have breast cancer, though he remained skeptical of that anyway, and mocked what he said was the “pervasive problem of youth breast cancer.” Probably just an excuse to get top surgery, right sir?

Oh yes, and because it’s so sloppily written, the bill would also ban insurance from covering breast cancer mastectomies — for adults too, since the insurance ban is for all “gender clinical interventions,” regardless of the patient’s age.

Will Larkins, an 18-year-old high school student, testified against the bill, telling the committee members that his transgender friends would be directly harmed by the bill, not “protected.” He begged the lawmakers to at least agree to a Democratic amendment that would allow youth who have already begun treatment to continue it.

“That health care has saved their lives. You will kill them. I am telling you right now — look me in the eyes — you will kill them if you pass this bill and you don’t pass this amendment. […] You will kill them if you force them to detransition.”

The committee rejected the amendment, because there are no trans people in Florida, just punching bags to beat up on for the cameras.

This is where we wish we could tell you that HB 1421 is so obviously unconstitutional that there’s no chance it will pass and be signed into law, but you’ve been here for a while and you wouldn’t ever fall for a hopeful lie like that. We don’t even think they’d listen to our new hero, Grace Linn, that wonderful centenarian wonder woman. But who knows? Bet she’d make a trans lives matter quilt if she thought it would help.

[HuffPo / Florida HB 1421 / Erin Reed on Twitter / New Republic / Image generated by DreamStudio Lite AI]

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