NEW YORK (RNS) The agency that commissions Southern Baptist military chaplains says no Baptist chaplain will be allowed to perform, attend or support a same-sex wedding either on or off base.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board released guidelines on Aug. 29 stating that endorsed chaplains will not “offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.”
The updated guidelines were issued in response to the military’s repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the Supreme Court’s decision this summer to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
“A lot of our chaplains were asking for clarification,” said Mike Ebert, spokesman for the NAMB, which is based outside Atlanta. “We wanted to clearly articulate in writing for the Department of Defense that these are our expectations.”
Last year, an Associated Press article included mention of a 20-year Southern Baptist Air Force chaplain who attended a same-sex wedding on his base. Col. Timothy Wagoner initially assured his NAMB superiors that his quotes were misunderstood. He later resigned his Southern Baptist Convention endorsement and was re-endorsed by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.