Deseret News falls for Southern Baptist gay hoax

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The Deseret News published an article online and in their paper from a news release that has since been revealed as a hoax by gay activists on the Southern Baptist Convention. The Deseret News later published an apology and acknowledged it had fallen for the hoax.

Gay activists sent out a press release that purported to be from the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention that urged the denomination to support gay marriage and urging acceptance of gays into “every level of Southern Baptist institutional life.”

The press release referred news media to a fake website and telephone number, but the Associate Press and major media caught the hoax and alerted the Southern Baptist Convention.

The activists sent a subsequent news release revealing the “prank” on June 28.

The Baptist Press reported, “The stunt was pulled off by a group calling itself the Center for Responsible Christian Living, but the group didn’t identity itself until later in the day and only after one major Catholic blog had posted the release as legitimate. The blog soon pulled it. No major media outlet reported the news as real. Several media members, in fact, called the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee to make sure officials knew of the hoax.”

The Deseret News published the story in their July 9 faith section, which quoted, word for word, the original and fake press release.

However, the article rescinding the article said that the Deseret News normally calls contacts on press releases and should have done so before publishing the story.

“The Deseret News regrets the error, and offers apologies to our readers for having failed to do our duty responsibly. Special apologies are directed to the Southern Baptist community,” the article said.

The Southern Baptist Church has no intention of pursuing legal action against those who perpetrated the hoax, Roger Oldham, vice president of communications for the church told the Deseret News.

““Thankfully, most of the media recognized it for what it was,” Oldham told the Deseret News. Then he added good-naturedly: “Of course, we’re sorry you were taken in by it.”

The Deseret News article:

Southern Baptists accept gay marriage

Published: Friday, July 8, 2011 6:59 p.m. MDT

NASHVILLE — The Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention recently announced its recommendation that the church adopt a new position on sexuality that affirms “God’s plan for marriage and sexual intimacy — two partners, for life” and concludes “that loving and committed homosexual relationships must have the right to acknowledgment in the eyes of God, as well as our own.”

The Executive Committee also recommended the Southern Baptist Convention adopt the following resolution:

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have not always clearly stood for gay rights and equality; and

WHEREAS, The growth in the LGBT population of Southern Baptist life is a strong indicator of our growing diversity; and

WHEREAS, The Bible affirms that all people are created in the image of God and are therefore equal and exactly as God intended; and

WHEREAS, All people need a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ;

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, the messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention, affirm our intention of standing publicly and privately for Gay justice and equality.

Be it further RESOLVED, That we repent of any past homophobia that not only hurt gay people but kept them ostracized from the church and pray for those who are still caught in its clutches; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we bear witness to the devastating impact of homophobia; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon individual Southern Baptists, as well as our churches, to reach across boundaries of sexual identity, establishing fraternal rather than paternal friendships; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That our agencies and institutions seek diligently to bring about greater diversity from the LGBT community at every level of Southern Baptist institutional life;

And Be it further RESOLVED, That the sanctity of marriage for all unions joined in love under God’s grace is holy and should receive marriage rights by the Southern Baptist ministry regardless of sexual orientation.

“There’s a sense that we’re behind the curve in the SBC, that we need to be moving forward with more diversity,” said Rev. Fred Luter, first vice president and the first African-American elected to a national office of the Southern Baptist Convention. “We’re becoming more aware of the fact we should strive to make church on earth look like church in heaven.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest evangelical denomination, having more than 16.2 million members in more than 43,500 churches nationwide.


Michael Aaron

Michael Aaron is the editor and publisher of QSaltLake. He has been active in Utah's gay and lesbian community since the early 80s and published two publications then and in the 90s.

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