BALTIMORE - The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention said Wednesday that the denomination won't relax its position on same-sex marriage and transgender identity, even as courts across the country strike down gay marriage bans and the group tries to bolster membership.
Also on Wednesday, the president of a seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, offered a tearful apology for his controversial decision to admit a Muslim student.
Southern Baptist Convention President-elect Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, told The Associated Press that although America's attitude toward gay and transgender individuals is rapidly changing, the convention does not intend to alter its position that gender identity cannot be different from biological sex and that homosexuality is immoral.
"We stand strong on what the Scripture says about marriage between a man and a woman. At the same time we do know that we have this issue facing our culture," Floyd said. "But due to the situation today, we must hold the word of God in one hand and the love of God in the other, and have compassion and love to bring people into the fellowship."
On Tuesday, the convention approved a resolution opposing efforts by governments to "validate transgender identity as morally praiseworthy" at its annual convention.
The resolution and meeting come as the group attempts reverse declining membership and baptisms.