Baptists Reject $3,000 Gift From Gay-Oriented S.F. Church

United Press International

Leaders of the California Southern Baptist Convention rejected a $3,000 contribution from a San Francisco church because it accepts homosexuals in its congregation.

The Dolores Street Baptist Church offered the donation for the convention's Cooperative Program, which sponsors missions, seminaries and other multichurch activities.

But the convention's executive board, on the first day of its two-day meeting in Fresno on Thursday, voted unanimously to reject the money.

"The decision to turn down the contribution was based upon the interpretation of biblical principles which place Dolores Street Baptist Church in conflict with the purpose of the convention," said the Rev. Sid Peterson, chairman of the convention's executive board.

The Rev. Richard Neeley, pastor of the Grand Avenue Baptist Church in South San Francisco, argued against accepting the money.

"We, as Southern Baptists, understand the Bible to teach that homosexuality is not an acceptable life style to be promoted," Neeley said. "Accepting their money is like saying we are in agreement with them."

Rev. Jim Lowder, pastor of Doloros Street, whose congregation is about 30% gay, has said in the past that the Bible "affirms homosexual relationships that are faithful, loving, life-enhancing and caring."

Neeley said the San Francisco Peninsula Southern Baptist Assn. voted in 1985 to disfellowship the Dolores Street church from its regional association.

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