by Ashley Phosphate
Mt. Pleasant – The recent decree from the Vatican opening the door for Episcopals to enter into communion with the Catholics has been met with resistance from the state’s Baptist establishment.
Citing a lack of support for the ordination of gay clergy and homosexual marriage, South Carolina’s Episcopal Diocese voted on Saturday to distance itself from the leadership of the Episcopal church, creating a vacuum of leadership that other denominations are trying to capitalize on.
“We’ve been anti-gay for longer than the Episcopals ever thought about it,” said Patrick Lemmings of the South Carolina Baptist Foundation. “We’ve been saying all along that gay ministers and gay marriage are unholy and that anybody who thought the same thing had a home in Baptist churches in South Carolina,” he said.
The Vatican issued its proclamation in an attempt to allow disaffected Episcopals to participate in communion and other sacred rites while not having to accept liberal theological interpretations.
“Again, if you ask anybody who’s been against more of that pro-gay agenda than any other denomination they’ll always say, ‘It’s the Baptists,’ and we’re proud to say that they’d be right,” said Lemmings. “We have always welcomed those who’ve been against gays or stem cell research or any other abomination. And we’ve always been first in being against that sort of thing so for some papal bull from Italy to come across the ocean and try to steal parishioners from an American denomination is crazy,” he said.
The Vatican acknowledged that Baptists in South Carolina have been first to speak out against issues in the past, but it also encouraged the disaffected to join them. Vatican spokesmen also pointed out that Christian Roman emperors were executing homosexuals over a thousand years before the Protestants began to branch off from the faith.