The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina voted today during its meeting in Greensbor to cut ties with congregations that affirm or approve of homosexuality.
The moves means the one-point-two (m) million-member convention has formally adopted a rigid anti-gay policy that allows the group to investigate whether member churches are gay friendly.
The convention says the measure is was one of the most rigid anti-gay policies among the nation's Christian churches.
Convention spokesman Norman Jameson says the convention didn't want to take the stance but says it was forced to because "homosexuality is the only sin that has its own advocacy group."
The vote changes the convention's long-standing laws, which previously only required its members to support the convention through cooperation and financial contributions. Now any churches that "knowingly act to affirm, approve, endorse, promote, support or bless homosexual behavior" will be barred from membership.
Now, should two church members request an inquiry, the convention has the formal authority to act. Jameson says 16 churches in North Carolina will come under immediate scrutiny under the policy. Those churches are associated with the Alliance of Baptists, a Washington-based group that welcomes gays as equal members.