On Tuesday, messengers to the annual Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) meeting in Louisville were quick to toss out Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth for being too inclusive of homosexuals in their congregation.

The decision was based on Southern Baptist leaders’ investigations and perceptions rather than any policy decisions by the Texas congregation that asked to continue their 125-year connection with the denominational group.

SBC leaders, however, wanted stronger/clearer anti-homosexual assurances from the church in order to “protect the reputation of the Convention,” said attorney August Boto, executive vice president of the SBC’s Executive Committee, according to an ABP report.

That’s where Boto and those he represents keep missing the boat. Either SBC leaders can’t step back far enough to see how they are truly perceived or they relish being known for their smug, quick-to-judge, self-assured, log-in-the-eye reputation.

A little New Testament reading could be of help. Jesus had a soiled reputation for hanging around with the “wrong people.”

The Pharisees, on the other hand, were intent on staying pure in reputation by avoiding association with anyone who did not think or act exactly like them. (In fact the name “Pharisee” is derived from a word meaning “pure.”)

Boto and other SBC leaders should have no fear. Their widespread reputation is secure.

Oh, well. Here we go again. Another year of explaining to friends, colleagues and casual acquaintances: “No, no. I’m not that kind of Baptist.”

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