A black Southern Baptist evangelist says he wants to take back language stolen from the struggle for civil rights and used by gay-rights activists to make the push for same-sex marriage sound more acceptable.
“When the homosexual movement jumped on the bandwagon of the civil rights movement in order to get gay marriage through, where were the black leaders in this country who say they trust in Jesus?” Voddie Baucham, an African-American evangelist from Spring, Texas, said last year at the Southern Baptist Convention Pastors Conference.
“I want to know: Where was Jesse Jackson’s voice when the homosexuals were using the civil rights movement?” he said, quoted by the Baptist Press. “Where was Al Sharpton? Where were our black pastors? Where were you?”
Baucham is proposing a new SBC resolution this year calling on churches to investigate whether their local schools promote a homosexual agenda.
While he doesn’t necessarily regard himself a black leader, Baucham said in an e-mail interview with EthicsDaily.com that he recognizes God has given him a “unique voice within the SBC, and like it or not, there is a great deal of responsibility that comes with that honor.
“I am not here to be a token, but a voice,” said the popular author and speaker who is described as a “cultural apologist” and draws comparisons with intellectuals like the late Francis Schaefer.
Baucham co-wrote the resolution with Bruce Shortt, a Houston attorney who last year failed in an effort to bring to a vote a similar resolution that would have called for a mass exodus from government-run schools.
The new resolution, submitted May 9 to the SBC Resolutions Committee, claims “homosexual activists” have hijacked language of the civil rights movement to make their case for gay marriage.
Much of that emphasis, it continues, focuses on schools in the form of homosexual clubs, sex-ed materials that present homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and through programs with “deceptive” titles like “Safe Sex,” “Diversity Training,” “Multicultural Education,” “Anti-Bullying” and “Safe Schools.”
Bauchum said much of this is happening with little opposition from people afraid of being called intolerant or bigoted.
“The homosexual movement co-opted the language of the civil rights movement, and suddenly anyone who questions their behavior is painted with the same brush as Adolf Hitler or the Ku Klux Klan,” he said.
Last year at the Pastors Conference, Baucham said: “I understand that, as a black man in America, people won’t call me a narrow-minded bigot. Membership has its privileges.”
Baucham added that he has been called other things that are just as uncomplimentary, but those labels don’t keep him from speaking the truth.
A former football player at Rice University, Baucham has been called an “evangelist to intellectuals” and compared to Francis Schaefer, a conservative Christian theologian, writer and speaker who was one of the first to promote the idea of a Christian worldview.
Baucham’s first book, The Ever Loving Truth, parallels the challenges of being a Christian in a postmodern culture to the New Testament writers, Peter and John, who as followers of Christ stood for truth in a non-Christian environment.
“Much of what we are experiencing in post-Christian America is eerily similar to what the early church experienced in pre-Christian Rome,” he writes. The difference is the response. “They challenged their culture; we tend to conform to ours.”
Baucham is a graduate of Houston Baptist University with a master’s degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, a D.Min. from Southeastern and additional post-graduate study at Oxford.
Since founding Voddie Baucham Ministries in 1993, the young evangelist has become one of the most sought-after Bible teachers in America.
He is an adjunct professor at The College of Biblical Studies in Houston and Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and delivered last year’s Staley Lectures at North Greenville College in South Carolina.
LifeWay Christian Resources, the SBC publishing arm, signed Baucham to a three-book agreement along with rights to develop a multimedia small group Bible study complete with DVD video, print and music.
Baucham will be featured again at this year’s SBC Pastors Conference, which precedes the June 21-22 SBC annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
“Voddie Baucham seems to be emerging as a prophetic voice for today, proclaiming truth in our generation,” said David Hassell, project manager with the newly formed LifeWay Ventures Group.
Baucham contends that philosophies like religious relativism are incompatible with Christianity and that diversity is neither mandated by the Bible nor realistic. He says truth is under attack in today’s culture, and neutrality is not an option for Christians.
While last year’s resolution declaring “government” schools officially godless and hostile to Christianity didn’t fare well, Baucham said he believes the SBC ought to consider his resolution because 80 percent of Southern Baptists send their children to public schools.
“Those schools have violated a sacred trust,” he said. “Under the guise of ‘tolerance’ and ‘safe sex,’ they are teaching our children that biblical truth is at best outdated, and at worst intolerant.
“They are teaching our children to embrace the sinner and the sin. In fact, they are teaching our children that the Bible is wrong to call homosexuality a sin (or denying that the Bible does so at all).
“Moreover, they are teaching our children that homosexuality is a viable alternative to the covenant of marriage. And most parents are completely unaware.”
“I believe the SBC must take a stand against the aggressive homosexual agenda in our schools, or offer a written apology to the Disney Company for our 1996 boycott,” he said.
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.