Ignoring protests in the streets of Phoenix, leaders of Southern Baptist churches adopt a new initiative, urging church members and ministers to lovingly convince homosexuals to become heterosexual. Warren Sprouse, the minister of an unaffiliated baptist church in Wilmington, says, "Is there a difference between gluttony and homosexuality? a sin is a sin is a sin." Sprouse supports the initiative, calling same sex relationships a lifestyle choice. "It isn't to say you can't stop it, its hard, but you can stop it."
Outside the convention hall, gay baptists and their supporters denounced the iniative. Inside church leader Richard Land said "Homosexuals can find freedom from this sinful, destructive lifestyle. They can be redeemed. They can be liberated." "I consider myself redeemed and I am gay," says Michael Moore, a local gay activist, and a Christian. "I was born gay, I will always be gay, they won't be able to change that."
But the Southern Baptists plan to try, its a position they say is compassionate and rooted in the Bible. Moore says he won't accept the invitation or take offense. Delegates at the convention represented 42,000 churches and 16 million Southern Baptists nationwide. In Wilmington and the surrounding area, there are over 50 Southern Baptist churches.
Reported by: Ellen Goldberg