A story in Saturdays Deseret News erroneously reported that a Southern Baptist leadership group has recommended that the Southern Baptist Convention approve gay marriage.
The story, on page 2 of Saturdays Deseret News Faith section and posted online, also erroneously reported on a resolution from the group in which they repented of past homophobia. The story also appeared online.
The story is completely false.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not backed gay marriage, said Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. In fact, in June the Convention passed a resolution affirming the Biblical definition of marriage.
The Deseret News published the story based on a press release received at the Deseret News offices. It is Deseret News policy to call on all press releases and verify the information received. This did not happen in this circumstance. The Deseret News regrets the error, and offers apologies to our readers for having failed to do our duty responsibly. Special apologies are directed to the Southern Baptist community.
The Deseret News was one of many media outlets who received the false press release. Fox News reported on the hoax in late June and followed up on the story with information that the hoax had been perpetuated by a group calling itself the Center for Responsible Christian Living and that they had created the press release and a phony website as a friendly prank.
The Tennessean also reported on the hoax and indicated that a group calling itself the Center for Responsible Christian Living issued a statement saying it launched the fake website and calling on Baptists to reverse their view on homosexuality.
Roger S. (Sing) Oldham, vice president for convention communications and relations for the Southern Baptist Executive Committee, told the Baptist Press that the SBCs approach to homosexuality is not only biblical but loving.
Southern Baptists do not think it irresponsible or unchristian to uphold clear biblical teachings on human sexuality and marriage," Oldham said. "Gods expectation of sexual purity is woven throughout every part of Scripture, across generational and cultural lines. The Bible is equally clear that all who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ alone, will be forgiven and delivered from the bondage of sin. To deny such a fundamental biblical teaching as Gods redemptive purpose is the height of irresponsibility and would clearly be un-Christian.
Speaking to the Deseret News Saturday afternoon, Oldham indicated that the SBC has no intention of pursuing legal action against those who perpetrated the hoax.
Thankfully, most of the media recognized it for what it was, he said. Then he added good-naturedly: Of course, were sorry you were taken in by it."