Gay church member pleased with vote; minister’s fate uncertain
FORT WORTH A gay member of Broadway Baptist said he’s pleased with the congregation’s recent compromise on whether to include photos of same-sex couples in a church directory.
But 48-year-old Scott Green, who’s been a member of Broadway Baptist for 19 years, acknowledged that the underlying issue is likely to resurface.
The congregation of Broadway Baptist voted 294-182 on Sunday, Feb. 24, to approve a recommendation from the deacon board that the directory include "candid, small and large group pictures," but no family photos.
That means the directory commemorating the downtown church’s 125th anniversary won’t include portraits of gay couples, but it won’t include portraits of straight couples, either. The deacons’ recommendation was aimed at resolving a controversy that erupted last fall when gay couples requested to appear in the directory together.
"In the end, each side gave a little, and the outcome puts all members, for now, on an even footing," Green said in an e-mail to Dallas Voice a day after the vote. "In the long run, though, Broadway still needs to come to terms with its position on inclusivity."
Green said he was glad the congregation voted down another proposal under which the church would have published a second directory with portraits of straight couples and gay members pictured individually.
"This would have negated everything that the deacons worked so hard to achieve," Green said.
Although the directory flap appears to be settled, the fate of the church’s senior minister remains unclear.
A group called Friends for the Future of Broadway is seeking to oust the Rev. Brett Younger. The group claims Younger, who supported the deacons’ recommendation on the directory, has led the congregation in too liberal a direction.
The church, viewed as moderate in Baptist circles, has long had gay members. But some argued publishing photos of gay couples in the directory would signal a shift from accepting gays to affirming them.
The deacons said their recommendation would not jeopardize the church’s Baptist affiliations.
In his e-mail, Green quoted from Younger’s sermon prior to the vote, in which the minister said, "If we look into the eyes of a gay Christian, we may have to rethink some of our opinions."
Green and more than 200 other members of the church have signed a letter in support of Younger. "Many of us have struggled for years with being gay," Green said. "We have been told that we are ultimately going to Hell. In reality, many of us are people of faith. Slowly, I think, other Christians are beginning to see that being gay and being a Christian are not mutually exclusive."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 29, 2008.