Last August Macon’s First Baptist Church of Christ, a church aligned with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, voted to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in the church. The resolution passed via secret ballot voting with 73 percent of the 230 members present.
The Macon Telegraph has indicated that since the Supreme Court decision to legalize gay marriages nearly three years ago “attitudes have greatly shifted.”
Hunter Godsey, who has not been oblivious to bakeries that have resisted making cakes for gay weddings, had no problem getting a cake baked for his marriage to Jon Simpson.
The wedding took place at the Macon church on May 5, where Godsey is a deacon. The Telegraph reported, “The couple had over 500 people at their wedding. Godsey and Simpson, who have lived together for a year and half, said they encountered no direct anti-gay sentiment in the community.”
Wayne Crenshaw, who wrote the article for The Telegraph, added, “Hunter Godsey, whose father Kirby Godsey is chancellor of Mercer University and its former president, said his church’s vote to allow gay weddings was not because of him. He said he and Simpson had not even decided to get married at that time, and he said their wedding was not the first same-sex wedding in the church.”
Interestingly, it was during Dr. Kirby Godsey’s presidency at Mercer University that Georgia Baptists learned about the Mercer Triangle Symposium, a GLBT Rights Student Organization, and ultimately led to the Georgia Baptist Convention separating itself from Mercer, an institution it had held as one of its prized institutions for over 100 years.
Beacon High School is an elite educational institution located on the west side of Manhattan in an area known as Hell’s Kitchen, home to aspiring actors and Wall Street financiers. The school has had a bent toward leftist ideology for some time, and made the news this week for calling their students to have a moment of silence for the slain members of the militant Islamic group protesting the establishment of the American Embassy in Jerusalem.
The violence erupted along the southwestern border of Israel with 50 of the 62 people killed belonging to the Islamic group known as Hamas.
According to the New York Post, one father, who is Jewish, complained, “I am extremely upset, because I did not send my child to a New York City public school to pray for Hamas operatives.”
Multiple complaints surfaced after Beacon School called for the moment of silence. It was an announcement that created an upheaval that spread across the national media like wildfire.
As many of you know the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1962 that prayer in the public schools violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution. During the 1980s many schools opted for the so-called “minute of silence” as a substitute for any kind of formal prayer in schools.
However, in the Wallace v. Jaffree case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an Alabama statute that authorized a “one minute period of silence in all public schools for meditation or voluntary prayer” also violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause.
Other laws have been passed regarding what the First Amendment of the Constitution permits and what is does not permit, and I do believe that the Bible teaches that we should love our enemies, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us (Matthew 5:44). However, it is strange, perhaps even maddening, that we would allot moments of silence or prayer for those who oppose us and not for those who defend us.
I got an email from a gentleman from New York City this past weekend. He was not happy with one of my editorials and didn’t hesitate to express his displeasure. I wrote him back and tried to be gracious in my response. He wrote me again and apologized for being so critical. I responded and forgave him.
However, in his reply we found some common ground. I discovered he was pro-life, because he included in his second email the following question, “How can I vote for a party that advocates killing unborn babies? God referred to pregnant women 26 times in Scripture as ‘with child.’"
I have written dozens of editorials and articles promoting life from conception to natural death. I have declared that the woman “with child” carries within her womb not a fetus, but a child, a human being created in the image of God.
However, I have never thought of trying to find out how many times the Bible mentions a pregnant women as being “with child.” That in itself is a powerful argument for life whether it is convenient or inconvenient, whether it is perfect or imperfect.
When we encounter people who disagree with some of our views, we shouldn’t write them off as enemies. We should find common ground and try to build a harmonious relationship. I think I could make a friend out of the man who emailed me from New York.
I would like to talk to the leadership of the Beacon school in New York. I think we could find some common ground and perhaps develop a friendship.
Hunter Godsey served as the youth minister at First Baptist Church for five years and then as a missionary to Central America for another five years. He has been a member of the church for four decades and plays the organ. He is obviously well thought of by his fellow church members, because they have elected him as a deacon. Although I don’t know Hunter, he is very likely an honest man. I am sure we could find some common ground as with the two aforementioned individuals from New York – all for the sake of the Gospel.