Minister Denounces President Bush’s ‘Compassionate Homophobia’

June 22, 2005

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

'There is nothing Christian about discrimination.'Rev. Steven Baines

On June 21, President Bush addressed the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. Praising the convention's support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, the president said: "Southern Baptists are practicing compassion by defending the family and the sacred institution of marriage."

Reverend Steven Baines, an elder in the Disciples of Christ and member of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force National Religious Leadership Roundtable responds with the following statement:

"As an elder in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and a former Southern Baptist minister, I am disappointed that the president and leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention continue to present their discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans in the guise of compassion.

"The president's speech failed to explain how a Federal Marriage Amendment that would block thousands of American families from the protections they need for their stability and security can be seen as an act of compassion; just as the Southern Baptist Convention has failed to explain how supporting this discrimination contributes to its Christian witness. There is nothing Christian about discrimination.

"Instead of dressing up their bigotry as 'compassionate homophobia' the president and the Southern Baptist Convention can show real compassion by guaranteeing full equality for same-sex couples and their families. This would be more in line with the ethic of compassion for the marginalized and oppressed that is the foundation of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures the president claims to revere so strongly."

First convened in 1998, the National Religious Leadership Roundtable of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is an interfaith collaboration of more than forty denominations and faith-related organizations. The Roundtable seeks to reframe the public religious dialogue on issues involving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community by amplifying the voices of LGBT-affirming people of faith, countering religious voices of bigotry and intolerance, and working to advance full equality for all.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.