August 28, 2001
Dr. James Merritt, President
Southern Baptist Convention
First Baptist Snellville
PO Box 647
Snellville, GA 30078
Dear Dr. Merritt,
I certainly do hope you have received the last two letters I have written to you. I wrote to you on June 25th and July 28th. This is now the third letter I am writing to you asking for an opportunity to sit down and talk with you.
I have enclosed in this letter a note from a Soulforce delegate in New Orleans this past June. This is a note that was placed in the coffin that we wanted to present to you and the rest of the Southern Baptist Executive Committee Board members. It tells the story of the sad reality in many Southern Baptist churches today. It is the story of a gentleman who attended an adult Sunday School class in a Baptist church for nearly fifty years with the knowledge that among the fifteen couples there were seven gay or lesbian sons and daughters, a gay brother and a gay nephew. Yet, they did not talk about this.
Brother Merritt, this is the sad tragedy and reality in our churches. There are gays and lesbians, family members and friends sitting in the pews of thousands of Southern Baptist churches and no one ones to talk to each other. The silence is killing lives, turning young people away from the church, and demonizing what God has created. We must come to the table together and talk about reality. We must find a way to communicate with one another and find a third position that advocates love and acceptance of our sisters and brothers. Please stop ignoring me and the reality that there is a crisis in the church that must be addressed.
I am pleading with you to acknowledge my correspondence with you. I am pleading with you to agree to sit down at the table together and trust God to lead us in the beginning of dialogue with one another.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest protestant denomination in the United States. You could be leading the way in Christ’s example with gays and lesbians. For too long churches have been the last ones to realize the amazing grace of God. The God of my understanding is not a static God. We are ever growing and deepening in our understanding of what it means to live out the gospel. Let us come together with our common beliefs in Jesus Christ, living out the gospel, and reaching all of humanity and work towards a position that is satisfying to God and to each of us.
Once again, I wait for your call and your letter. I am praying you will be led by your commitment and dedication to know the Truth and to seek God’s will in this matter.
Your sister in Christ,