Gay church member calls effort to oust Younger ‘reprehensible,’ says pastor’s opponents are ‘intolerant’
FORT WORTH — A gay member of Broadway Baptist Church this week called the actions of a group that recently tried to oust Senior Pastor Brett Younger "reprehensible."
Scott Green, who’s been a member of the downtown Fort Worth church for 19 years, also accused the group, Friends for the Future of Broadway, of "hatred and intolerance" toward gays.
On Sunday, March 9, members of Broadway Baptist’s congregation voted 499 to 237 to reject the group’s request for Younger to "vacate the pulpit." The group alleged that Younger, who’s been senior pastor for seven years, has led the moderate Baptist church in too liberal a direction.
The effort to oust Younger came on the heels of a controversy that erupted last fall when gay couples asked to be pictured together in a directory celebrating the church’s 125th anniversary.
Younger, like Green, supported a compromise approved by the congregation in February that calls for all family portraits to be eliminated from the directory.
"For now, it brings to an end many months of contentious debate over leadership style and, more importantly, the broader direction of the church," Green said of Sunday’s vote in an e-mail to Dallas Voice. "Many in the congregation, I believe, saw through the reprehensible words and actions of the Friends for the Future of Broadway. Their true desire was to imprint on the church their own brand of dogma. In the end, hatred and intolerance collapses and falls in on itself. It ultimately fails."
Robert Saul, a spokesman for Friends for the Future of Broadway, denied that the group’s effort had anything to do with the question of whether the church should welcome gays. Broadway has long had gay members under an unwritten policy that’s been compared to the military’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell."
Instead, Saul said, there were "honest differences about the pastor’s leadership."
Saul said almost 300 of the church’s roughly 1,500 members have or want to leave the congregation as a result of the turmoil, and that 162 members signed the petition calling for the vote.
"Our desire was for the congregation to be able to vote," Saul said in an e-mail. "Now the members have spoken. We respect the will of the majority and pray for the congregation’s healing, recovery and continued service to the community that befits a 125 year-old church."
Green said he doesn’t represent one of the gay couples that asked to be pictured together. However, he’s the only gay member of the church who’s spoken publicly about the issue.
"Broadway can now, under Brett’s leadership, begin to heal the wounds caused by these folks, and move forward united with the work of the church," Green said. "Because of this very public debate, Broadway now has the unique opportunity to further lead by example, and show others that one can be gay and live a life of faith and service. During many of my years at Broadway, the staff has been supportive of me, and I have always felt ‘at home.’ I trust that, after a time of further reflection, we will continue to move in the direction of full inclusivity."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 14, 2008