The American Baptist College, a Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, is under fire from a group of pastors for inviting a married lesbian bishop to speak at the institution's 58th Garnett-Nabrit Lecture Series this month.
Bishop Yvette Flunder of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, who's married to her same-sex partner Shirley Miller, is featured as one of the main speakers set to make an address during the lecture series on March 18, according to a schedule of events published by the college.
Rev. Randy G. Vaughn of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church told 12 News that he and other Baptist pastors from across the country will be in Nashville on March 18 to protest the school's decision.
"We do not wear our sin as a badge and parade it," said Vaughn. "When will the downward spiral end?"
Vaughn said he's worried that the acceptance of homosexuality within the church will "damage the family unit." The traditional Christian belief taught in his congregation is that marriage should only be between one man and one woman.
"We don't feel you have the right to live any way and be respected in the congregation of our faith," he said. "There is nothing holy about lesbianism as there is nothing holy about heterosexual adultery."
The Christian Post reached out to both Vaughn and the American Baptist College for comment Monday but none was available at the time of publication.
In a message on the website of the City of Refuge United Church of Christ, which was started by a majority of people who identify as gay, Flunder explained that the church's acceptance of homosexuals was helping people to be free.
"Trying to establish a relationship with a God that barely tolerates you but cannot truly accept and certainly will never celebrate you can do incredible damage to ones self-esteem. The tortured historical and theological view that suggests that some people are just flawed or born to be the underclass and should never expect to be on God's 'A' list, has been the convenient method used to hold women, immigrants, the poor and LGBT people in chains of self-depreciation," Flunder wrote on the website.
"We all need community. When access to existing communities is not available, marginalized people must seek to develop community for and among themselves. We at City of Refuge UCC are giving birth to a fresh, emerging Christian community. We believe that now, as in the time of Jesus' earthly ministry, seemingly marginalized people respond to a community of openness and inclusivity, where other people from the edge gather. City of Refuge UCC welcomes people to be who they are by embracing a theology of acceptance — a radical inclusivity that leaves no one behind," it ends.