Southern Baptist Convention ousts two churches for LBGTQ-inclusive policies

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) voted to oust two of its churches Tuesday for being too inclusive on LGBTQ+ matters, the Associated Press reports.

The decisions were made during a hearing by the church's executive committee, which acts as the governing board for the Nashville-based SBC when it is not in session, the Tennessean notes.

The SBC, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, banned the two churches for affirming homosexual behavior. 

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Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler expressed his approval of the committee's actions on Twitter, writing, "These actions were necessary and proper."

Towne View Baptist Church of Kennesaw, Georgia, one of the banned churches, first admitted a gay couple to its congregation in 2019. 

"We knew that this wouldn't pass unnoticed," Rev. Jim Conrad said in a Friday interview with The Tennessean

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The outlet reports that over 30 percent of Towne View's congregation left the church over the decision.

Conrad explained that his church was warned a year ago about their potential ousting, and then received a follow-up warning last month, but that the ban is a blessing in disguise.

"It's given us a chance to tell our story," Conrad said. 

He added, "We feel like we've followed God's leadership and we endured a lot of pain, people leaving, but those that have remained are committed that there is a place for this kind of church in our community and the response has been very overwhelming." 

St. Matthews Baptist of Louisville, Kentucky, the other ousted church, was previously kicked out of the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2018 for making financial donations that benefitted the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which had recently allowed the hiring of LGBTQ+ employees at the time, according to the AP.