Alabama church faces anti-LGBT protests after electing lesbian pastor
An Alabama church his facing protests from die-hard evangelicals after electing a lesbian pastor.
The Beloved Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, a liberal Christian denomination that has long been LGBT-inclusive.
Earlier this month, the BCC elected out lesbian pastor Rev Jennifer Sanders to lead their church by a vote of 34-0.
She said at the time: “Beloved has always been a congregation with a justice-oriented commitment in its interpretation of the faith.
“I work from a liberation theology perspective. It’s not a single-issue perspective. It’s about how we honor the presence of the Holy Spirit in every person.”
“It’s part of who I am, but it’s not the whole of what we do. My commitment to racial justice, to people with disabilities, my commitment to economic justice and environmental justice, are part of that, just as much a part of my commitment to rights for LGBTQ people.”
However, the church has already attracted protests.
AL.com reports that a day of silence held at the church earlier this week was interrupted by two loud anti-LGBT protesters, brandishing a sign reading ‘Repent or Perish’ while using a megaphone to disrupt the silence.
Speaking to the outlet, Rev Sanders explained: “There has been condemnation from Biblical literalists in tones that can at best be described as disturbing.
“Yesterday, for five of the eight hours during Beloved’s community day of silent prayer and meditation, a family of street preachers with signs that said REPENT OR PERISH stood across the street with a megaphone making loud witness of their very narrow interpretation of scripture.”
“I went outside and spoke to them early on. They would not shake my hand or introduce themselves, though I did eventually learn their names from the wife.
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“As the man, whose name is Jim, stood with his sign in my face, he kept hurling at me verses from the first chapter of Romans.
“In the midst of his avalanche of words he said ’the Gospel has nothing to do with accepting people as they are.’ His accusation was that that’s what we do here. He was accusing us of accepting people as they are.”
She told her congregation: “”Though their theology is violent, I do not think they are physically violent. They are street preachers of deep conviction and fierce spirit. If you encounter them, please be kind.”
Rev Sanders added that gay clergy are “pretty rare” in Alabama, continuing: “I and this church, separately and together, have received incredible support.”