Southern Baptist Convention votes to keep Pence as speaker
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The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted on Monday to keep Vice President Pence as a speaker at its annual gathering in Dallas this week after a Virginia pastor voiced objections to the address. 

Pastor Garrett Kell expressed concerns that a speech from Pence could make it seem like the denomination is aligned with one political party more than another.

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"We must do all that we can to preserve the purity of the gospel, and this invitation works against it," Kell said, according to The Tennessean.

The pastor's request did not garner enough votes to do away with the vice president's address. 

“As a committee, we feel to not show hospitality to those in authority would be a bad testimony for Southern Baptists,” Grant Ethridge, the chairman of the convention's committee on order of business, told The Tennessean, addressing Kell's concerns. 

"I believe we respect the position regardless of whether or not you supported or voted for the person," he continued. 

The convention announced on Monday that the vice president, who is an evangelical, would speak the event on Wednesday. 

"We are excited to announce Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Lewandowski: Trump-Putin meeting advances goal of world peace Indiana has spent over million on cleanup of failed Pence family gas stations: report MORE will be attending this year's SBC annual meeting to express appreciation to Southern Baptists for the contributions we make to the moral fabric of our nation," SBC President Steve Gaines said in a statement. 

The address comes as the Christian denomination faces backlash for comments from former Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson in which he said women who are abused by their husbands should pray for them and that women should “be submissive in every way that you can.”

The board of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary voted to remove Patterson as the leader of the Forth Worth, Texas, institution.

“After much prayer and a more than 13-hour discussion regarding challenges facing the institution, including those of enrollment, financial, leadership and institutional identity, the Board determined to move in the direction of new leadership,” the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary board said in a statement on Tuesday.

The board did not reference Patterson’s comments or criticism of him in its statement.

Patterson will be named president emeritus and will reside on campus as a “theologian-in-residence” for a new Baptist Heritage Center. He reportedly will be compensated for the role.