Southern Baptists grapple with online hoax

A group perpetrated an elaborate online hoax on the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday, distributing a fake news release to the media claiming that the convention's Executive Committee is in support of gay marriage.
BY CARLA HINTON chinton@opubco.com Published: June 29, 2011
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The Southern Baptist Convention became the victim of an elaborate hoax Tuesday when a group distributed a fake online news release claiming support of gay marriage.

In a subsequent online news release, the group, calling itself the Center for Responsible Christian Living, based in Nashville, Tenn., claimed responsibility for the “friendly prank,” which included the fake news announcement and a related sham phone number and website.

“Our hope was to offer a vision of what might be possible,” the Center for Responsible Christian Living said in its statement.

Tuesday, a news release was distributed to an unknown number of media outlets stating that the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee had met in an “extraordinary emergency session” to draft a proposed “welcoming and affirming” resolution to be voted on at the convention's 2012 annual meeting.

The Southern Baptist Convention has long held the position that homosexuality is a sin.

The denomination states its position on sexuality on its official website at www.sbc.net:

“We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy — one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.' The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.”

The existence of the Center for Responsible Christian Living could not be substantiated Tuesday. In its statement, the center is described as a Christian think tank on theology and social ethics.

The group, in its online statement claiming responsibility for the hoax, said it was designed to point out that the Southern Baptist's Convention's “anti-gay stance is both irresponsible and unchristian.” The center's statement also recommended that people call the “real” Southern Baptist Convention to ask them to “make this vision (support for gay marriage) real.”

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Read more religion news on “know it: Religion and faith.” knowit.newsok.

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This can serve as a good reminder for writers and bloggers everywhere

to verify a source prior

to putting anything in print or on pixels.”

Brian Hobbs

Baptist General Convention

of Oklahoma's

director of communications

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