June 24, 2016
The following statement was adopted by the CBF Governing Board on June 24, 2016, as a response to the mass shooting in Orlando.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a network of Baptist Christian churches and persons who come together for the purpose of doing for the Kingdom of God, so CBF is not in the habit of issuing proclamations. Most of the time it makes more sense for our churches and people to speak for themselves. There are, however, extraordinary moments in our life together when something so wonderfully good or something so unspeakably evil happens that we feel compelled to speak with a common voice. The recent mass shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando was so unspeakably evil that it calls for a unified response from all good people of faith. CBF stands united in our grief for the senseless and tragic loss of life resulting from this terroristic attack.
The callous and premeditated murder of 49 people at a gay night club by a zealot living out a gross distortion of Islam sends us searching for words sufficiently potent to describe its horror. And this terrorist attack came almost exactly a year after the massacre of nine African-Americans at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These atrocities have this in common — their perpetrators sought to terrorize an entire population of people and to call others to follow in the wake of their evil actions. Violence, whether motivated by racism or religion, is an affront to the God who created each one of us in God’s image and likeness.
Admittedly and sadly, the Church has been said to be tacitly complicit in the Orlando attack because some Christians have either spoken in hateful ways about LGBTQ persons or have remained silent when other people spewed hate. No more. We stand united in our belief that every person is created in God’s image and endowed with a sacred dignity that cannot be taken away. We stand united in proclaiming that God loves each person and wants all people to know God through God’s Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. That is to say: God is in Christ, reconciling the world unto Godself, making all of us into a single family. We stand united in condemning anyone who questions the full worth of LGBTQ persons before God or as citizens of our country. We reject any language and condemn any person who advocates violence against LGBTQ persons.
CBF is not a like-minded fellowship about matters related to human sexuality; indeed, we proudly guard each other’s right to think and believe as the Spirit leads. We trust that the Spirit will lead us to reason together and that our communion is stronger for our individual convictions. The value of each person’s life and the worth of each and every person before our Creator are matters on which we find such abundant agreement, strong commitment, and resolute belief that we must speak when these truths are so brutally denied, as they were in Orlando and Charleston. To fail to do so would be to deny our common humanity and the faith, love, and hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.