Kentucky Baptists Face Hiring Dilemma

By Richard Nelson

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November 11, 2013

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A controversy has brewed in Kentucky Baptist life over one of its entities, Sunrise Children Services, considering to end its ban on hiring homosexuals. 

Sunrise Children Services is the foster care entity that receives funding through the Kentucky Baptist Convention, along with receiving the bulk of its operating revenue through state funding.

According to Baptist Press,

The president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention's children's services agency has recommended that the organization amend its hiring practices to ban discrimination against homosexuals, according to a PowerPoint presentation posted on the agency's website.

"I would rather homosexuals see the love of God through us than be denied employment by us," Bill Smithwick, president of Sunrise Children's Services, said in an Aug. 16 PowerPoint presentation to the agency's trustees. "I would rather see the ministry continue to help kids and share the Gospel than close."

Smithwick's recommendation received swift denunciations from prominent Kentucky Baptists, like Hershael York and KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood, who criticized Smithwick for sacrificing biblical faithfulfness to receive state funds.

News reports of last week's meeting indicate that the board of trustees rejected the recommendation made by Smithwick.

 

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Director, Commonwealth Policy Center