THERE appears to be some confusion over the current status of Bill Thomas, an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church in Madisonville, Kentucky, who was catapulted into the media spotlight after his wife Angela wrote a piece in the Madisonville Messenger.
Apart from describing the Southern Baptist Convention as “the crazy old paranoid uncle of evangelical Christians”, she referred to the evangelical group as “raging Shiite Baptists”.
According to this report, the offending column was a response to the SBC’s opposition to a new Boy Scouts of America policy that welcomes gay members. She wrote:
Sexuality doesn’t come up and isn’t relative to typical scouting activities but now, thanks to Southern Baptists, the parents of little innocent scouts everywhere are having to have The Talk.
In the weeks since the column’s publication, the status of Bill Thomas’ job with the church has become unclear. First Baptist pastor Joe Leonard said he had accepted Thomas’ resignation and that he had not been fired, but Thomas wrote in a letter he had not resigned and had no intention of stepping down.
The Rev Russell Moore, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he was surprised the “shockingly sarcastic tone” of the column came from the spouse of a church employee.
I didn’t find the column to be the sort of light-hearted poking that one would typically find in satire. I found it instead to be more of a screed from someone who’s very hostile to where most Baptists stand.
Moore said the column also mischaracterized the convention’s stance on the Boy Scout policy. He said the SBC’s action last month:
Was a very balanced resolution that didn’t denounce the Boy Scouts.We expressed disappointment, but didn’t speak in harsh terms and also did not direct churches as to how they should respond.
But it seems that all was not well even before Thomas’ column hit the streets. First Baptist member Larry Wilson said Bill Thomas had earlier been accused of “intolerable insubordination” by a staff committee and was told to submit a letter of resignation.
Wilson said he believed Bill Thomas had ruffled feathers by supporting an openly gay church member. He claimed Thomas was told bar the member from joining the choir, but Thomas declined to do so.
Wilson said he enjoyed reading Angela Thomas’ column.
There were points in it that I thought were hilarious, it was funny, thought provoking. Maybe we are Shiite Baptists.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn