N.C. Baptist delegates approve anti-gay policy


The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina voted Tuesday to bar from membership any congregations that affirm or approve of homosexuality.

The move enacts one of the most rigid anti-gay policies among the nation’s Christian churches.

The organization is affiliated with the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant group.

The vote changes the convention’s long-standing laws, which previously only had one simple requirement for membership: support the convention with both cooperation and financial contributions.

Now any churches that "knowingly act to affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior" can’t belong to the group.

A convention spokesman says 17 churches that belong to a group that welcomes gays as equal members will come under immediate scrutiny.

The vote came during the second day of the three-day convention in Greensboro. Voting was done by voice and not counted, but convention officials declared that the measure had passed by the necessary two-thirds majority.

With more than 4,000 churches and 1.2 million members, the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina is the second-largest association of Baptist churches in the nation.