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The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
A resolution that was overwhelmingly approved by voting delegates at the Tennessee Baptist Convention last week is in line with Tennessee lawmakers intentions for the upcoming general session in January.
The 841 registered messengers at the convention, meeting at Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, voted for the resolution which exhorts parents to protect their children from sexual immorality “such as and not limited to LGBTQ+, homosexuality, Lesbianism, same-sex marriage, drag-queens, gender dysphoria, etc.”
The Tennessee Baptist Convention is a state association of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.
The resolution was presented by messengers and the language then debated before a final version was settled on by the resolutions committee. The final language opposes gender-affirming surgeries and hormone treatment for children with gender dysphoria, and any effort to make legal “the notion that one’s sex can be self-determined rather than by biological reality as ordained by God.”
The “Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act” has been filed by two Republican lawmakers and prohibits any medical treatment that “alters a child’s hormonal balance” and procedures “that remove their organs to enable the minor to identify as a gender different from their biological sex.”
If the bill becomes law next year, it will provide some of the nation’s strongest protections for minors within the realm of “gender affirming care.”
Earlier this year, Vanderbilt Pediatric Transgender Clinic agreed to pause such procedures after pressure from Tennessee State House members asking that gender transitioning surgeries being performed on minors be halted.
In a letter written by the deputy CEO and chief health system officer at VUMC, C. Wright Pinson stated that roughly five gender-affirming surgical procedures had been administered per year since the clinic opened in 2018.
Southern Baptist churches have a long history of opposing transgender ideology, passing a resolution in 2014 that addressed gender dysphoria as something that has its roots in the fall of mankind as taught in the Bible.
While resolutions are non-binding on churches that are part of the Southern Baptist denomination, this new resolution encourages Baptist churches in Tennessee “to faithfully and unapologetically confess the biblical sexual ethic in all of its fullness, including the fact God created humanity male and female.”
Transformation Ministries of Memphis pastor, Bob Parikh, who authored the resolution, urged other messengers to include some of his original language before it went to resolutions committee.
“The words like homosexuality and sodomites are biblical words,” Parikh said.
Chair of the resolutions committee, Heath Smith who is pastor of McPheeters Bend Missionary Baptist Church said that the final language was carefully considered.
“As we are to stand on the truth emphatically and preach the truth without apology, we must also speak the truth in love knowing that a lost world is watching,” Smith said. “That is why the resolution we presented did not have that specific wording that he is desiring to include. There is a lot of wording that would not necessarily share the truth in love to our friends we are seeking to win to Christ.”
But messengers did vote to include some of Parikh’s original language, echoing the convictions of many conservatives in the state when they included the following: “that we are against schools teaching children pornographic material under the label of ‘sex education’” and that children should be protected from “sexual perversions” such as drag queens.
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson is sponsoring a bill that would define drag queens as adult cabaret performers and make their performances illegal for children. A first time offense would be a Class A misdemeanor, and a second offense, a Class E felony with possible jail time of up to 6 years in prison.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.