When Angela Thomas, the wife of Bill Thomas, an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church in Madisonville, Kentucky, wrote her column in the local newspaper, she probably hoped it would get some attention. But it is doubtful she anticipated the kind of attention it has gotten now.
Thomas wrote a piece critical of the Southern Baptist Convention's announced stance on the Boy Scouts of America, now that the Scouts have begun openly accepting gay members. In the newspaper article, Thomas used the term "raging Shiite Baptists". That phrase has caused quite a stir. Church officials say her husband has resigned over the fallout. He says he has not.
First of all, what did Thomas say about these "Shiite Baptists"? Here are a few select pieces of the article.
"Well, the Southern Baptist Convention has rejected the Boy Scouts of America. Thank goodness. It's about time. They've already rejected the Democratic Party, Disney, the Teletubbies, and any Baptists that aren't southern. So, it's only natural that the Boy Scouts would be next, most likely followed by Betty Crocker (probably a lesbian), baseball (always going to Disneyworld when they win the World Series)…"
"Some might assume that because the Boy Scouts have addressed the issue, it must mean that Scout packs are filled with 10-year-old boys insisting on wearing their Scout caps at a rakish tilt and over-accessorizing their uniforms."
"Sexuality doesn't come up and isn't relative to typical Scouting activities but now, thanks to Southern Baptists, the parents of little innocent Scouts everywhere are having to have The Talk. The Boy Scouts of America has been forced to confront this issue and cannot hide behind the freedom granted to religious organizations like the Southern Baptist Convention to condemn certain behaviors they deem unacceptable and exclude people based on their interpretation of the Bible."
Thomas went on to call the Southern Baptists "the crazy old paranoid uncle of evangelical Christians".
When asked by the local paper whether he had read his wife's column, Bill Thomas said, "I did read it. I agreed with what she said and I don't censor what my wife does."
It seems to be a foregone conclusion that Thomas will not stay at the Baptist church he works for. But the confusion over whether he has resigned, or will force the church to fire him, is still not settled.