Faith in America, a pro-LGBT organization which will be protesting at the annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, next week, recently announced that they will be lobbying for the nation's largest Protestant body to remove homosexuality and transgenderism from their "sin list."
"Ultimately, we at FIA believe LGBT people should be removed from the sin list. We know interpretations and new revelations come to light. We believe the Church will one day stop diminishing the lives of those who are LGBT and we strive to help this come to pass," the organization said in a release.
"We are optimistic people and see the glass 75% full! We appreciate and respect how the SBC has changed teachings and interpretations based on new, important information. We applaud how in 1995 the SBC issued a formal apology to People of Color for their role in the inhuman practices of slavery and segregation."
The group announced the launch of a 3-year program called "Save Your Kids!" which they say was developed to address religious-based practices that condemn LGBT teenagers and youth. They also note that they are in talks with the SBC's leadership to hold a meeting on this issue but a date had not been finalized.
"They are aware of our presence beginning on June 13 at their Phoenix meeting of SBC Messengers. While the SBC has initially articulated their disagreement with FIA regarding homosexuality as a sin, they also offered their desire to meet and find initiatives and ways forward that do not harm our youth. We find the potential progress here and look forward to soon meeting with SBC leadership."
Officials with the SBC acknowledged the ongoing discussion with FIA in a Baptist Press report but noted that removing homosexuality and transgenderism from the "sin list" would not happen.
SBC executive Frank S. Page told the publication that the group wanted to meet with leaders at the June 13-14 meeting in Phoenix but a full schedule prevented that. They offered instead to meet with the organization's representatives in Nashville, Tennessee, after the convention.
"I am always delighted to share the truths of the Gospel with anyone who wishes to meet with me," said Page. "Scripture predicts a time when people will stray from biblical truth. We are saddened when we encounter erroneous teaching and pray for a return to biblical faithfulness."
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also affirmed in a statement that they will hold fast to biblical teachings on sexuality but added that Christians are encouraged to share the love of Christ with everyone, including the LGBT community.
"As gospel Christians who believe that every human being is made in the image of God. Southern Baptists have stood for the dignity of all human persons for decades," Moore said.
"At the same time, we cannot and we will not ignore the teachings of Jesus himself, as some would wish Southern Baptists and others to do. To minimize or adjust a Christian sexual ethic would be to abandon the very message Jesus handed to us, and we have no authority to do this," he added. "As Baptists, we want to be the first to be known by our love and compassion to those in the world around us, but we also must hold fast to the 'faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 1:3)."