Pastors, donors rip Baptist school over gay bishop's invite

AP News
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Posted: Mar 11, 2015 2:56 PM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The president of the historically black American Baptist College says some individuals are considering removing financial support after pastors criticized the school's inclusion of a lesbian bishop in a lecture series.

A group of Baptist pastors calls the invitation to Bishop Yvette Flunder of Oakland, California, to be a speaker and worship leader next week "irresponsible, scandalous, non-biblical, and certainly displeasing to God." The pastors ask school President Forrest E. Harris in a news release to disinvite Flunder, who is affiliated with the United Church of Christ and is legally married to another woman, her partner of 30 years.

The pastors also ask National Baptist Convention, USA, President Jerry Young to declare where he stands on the issue.

The pastors group and the college in Nashville, Tennessee, are affiliated with the historically black National Baptist Convention.

American Baptist College is known for its role in the civil rights movement. Students have included famous civil rights leaders such as John Lewis, the Georgia congressman who helped organize lunch counter sit-ins as a young man and was among the protesters beaten at Selma, Alabama, 50 years ago this month.

In a phone interview, Harris noted the college's long commitment to social justice. "We will not tolerate intolerance," he said.

Harris said the school's mission is to "expose students to worldviews, philosophies and cultures that enables them to become critical moral thinkers and world citizens." He said he hopes donors will continue to support the school.