- (Photo: AP / The Courier-Journal, Michael Clevenger)
Gay rights activists were arrested Monday after protesting the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President's recent articles on homosexuality and genetic origin.
The 12 who were arrested were holding a sit-in outside the office of the Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. while another 10, who had joined the sit-in earlier that morning, stood outside the school. The activists were from Soulforce - a group that calls for "freedom" for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from religious and political oppression.
They wanted an apology from Mohler for an article, written on March 2, that was blasted by both gay rights activists and Christians.
"As it stands, his (Mohler's) voice is terribly misguided in believing that God does not affirm the identities of gay and transgender people," said a statement read by the activists.
In his web blog, Mohler stated that if science were ever to discover a biological basis for sexual orientation, it would not change the Bible's moral verdict on homosexual behavior as sin.
"Such a discovery, if it were to be accepted, would not change God's condemnation of all forms of homosexual behavior, nor would it mean that this represents the inviolable identity of any individual, he wrote in a later blog post. As I argued previously, moral responsibility does not require absolute moral choice. A soldier in battle may not have chosen to be in a situation of moral anguish, but he is still absolutely responsible for his decisions and actions."
And if then a successful "treatment" for sexual orientation is ever developed, he would "support its use as we should unapologetically support the use of any appropriate means to avoid sexual temptation and the inevitable effects of sin," he wrote, also stressing that he does not support genetic engineering.
Noting Mohler's "tremendous influence" in the evangelical community, Kyle DeVries, one protestor, said, "We decided to come here and demand a rescindment of those comments and a public apology for them," according to The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.
While protestors alleged "bigotry" in Mohler's comments, which were written in his web blog, the Southern Baptist leader had emphasized in his second article on the matter that everyone is a sinner from the start. He also said Christians are called to love homosexual persons "but we cannot love homosexuality."
"The only cure for sin itself is the cross of Christ," he wrote.
Mohler was not on campus during the morning protest, Seminary spokesman Lawrence Smith told The Courier-Journal. And he was also "unwilling" to talk with the protestors over the telephone, according to a Soulforce press release.
The 22 young adults were informed that their peaceful assembly would result in arrest at which point 10 left to stand vigil outside the Seminary. The remaining 12 were taken into custody under criminal trespassing charges.
According to Soulforce, the visit to the seminary was a temporary reroute during a 2-month tour where 50 young adults are traveling to schools that "actively discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity."
Seminary spokesman Smith noted that they are a "professional protest group" and "their aim is to create disruption and in some cases be arrested."