Humor Column By Wife May Cost Kentucky Pastor His Job
A humor column in a Kentucky newspaper that made fun of the Southern Baptist Convention’s opposition to the Boy Scouts of America decision to admit gay members, even referring to the convention as “Shiite Baptists,” could cost the writer’s husband his job as an associate pastor and minister of music at First Baptist Church of Madisonville, an SBC congregation, Savannah Oglesby reports for The Messenger of Madisonville.
Angela Thomas, a regular columnist for the daily paper, wrote: “Some might assume that because the Boy Scouts have addressed the issue, it must mean that Scout packs are filled with 10-year-old boys insisting on wearing their Scout caps at a rakish tilt and over-accessorizing their uniforms. … Sexuality doesn’t come up and isn’t relative to typical Scouting activities but now, thanks to Southern Baptists, the parents of little innocent Scouts everywhere are having to have The Talk. The Boy Scouts of America has been forced to confront this issue and cannot hide behind the freedom granted to religious organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention to condemn certain behaviors they deem unacceptable and excluded people based on their interpretation of the Bible.”
In addition to the Scouts, Thomas wrote, the convention also rejects “the Democratic Party, Disney, the TeleTubbies, and any Baptists that aren’t Southern,” Thomas wrote. “Southern Baptists have little by little abandoned public schools and civic organizations. They are too sanctimonious to participate in Easter egg hunts and trick-or-treating. Santa and the Easter bunny are simply the devil in disguise, and cable television and the Internet are his playground. The Boy Scouts are his evil minions.”
Thomas told Oglesby that the church asked the writer’s husband, Bill Thomas, to resign, and he declined, sending “a letter requesting more dialogue with the personnel committee. We haven’t heard an official response back from that, and that was on Monday.” The newspaper couldn’t reach the pastor for comment.
Thomas said her husband was asked about the column and replied, “I did read it, I agreed with what she said and I don’t censor what my wife does.” Oglesby’s story concluded, “She said a celebration of her husband’s 10 years of service at the church was scheduled for July 7, but for now, the event has been canceled.”
The Messenger, which has a pay-per-view website, has received two letters to the editor, one criticizing the column and one supporting it.
The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.