Click on title for link to Commercial Appeal article.
I'm quickly throwing this together now so people can discuss it if they want. I want to finish reading through the comments on the Commercial Appeal's site and will post some links and further commentary later.
Update: Since I have neither the time nor the desire to read 2000+ comments, here is the follow-up article. Steve Gaines' public statement (the unedited version) is below.
Commercial Appeal >> June 23, 2010 >> Ousting gay coach necessary, Bellevue Baptist pastor says
Steve Gaines Speaks
I don't think this would have ever been an issue if someone hadn't, as indicated in the article, tipped off the church, perhaps someone who knows her or assumed she's gay based solely upon her appearance. The latter is a terribly slippery slope down which no one should be going. Besides, I saw her on the news, and her appearance didn't "scream" anything to me. She is simply, as she describes herself, athletic in appearance.
I've even wondered if there wasn't some threat against the church involved. For example, "You're letting this softball team with a gay coach play on your fields. If you don't tell her she's not welcome, we'll go public with this." If that was the case, how'd that work out, guys? Of course I don't know if that happened or not and am not suggesting it did, just wondering.
I don't think we've heard the whole story by any means. To say the "no PDA" rule prohibits gay people from playing on softball teams seems rather lame. As one CA commenter asked, "Were they having orgies on the mound when someone hit a home run?" It doesn't seem likely that was the issue, rather an excuse.
I can sort of see where the church was stuck in the middle on this one. It was a no-win situation if someone were threatening to "out" her (which apparently someone did).
However, Bellevue created these potential problems when they opened the fields up to outside teams. Just like they created the annual
This certainly doesn't help Bellevue's witness to the Memphis they claim to "LO♥E" so much and their "God Loves You Just the Way You Are" campaign. I guess it's okay to come as long as you don't come out. But for heavens sake, they need to clean up their own house first! If a fraction of the stories I've heard are true, Bellevue has a LOT of housecleaning to do.
I'm not condoning homosexual behavior either, but apparently if you go to BBC and are "just" an adulterer, fornicator, child molester, drug addict, rapist, felon, liar, or stay in the closet, that's okay. Just don't touch alcohol or openly associate with a gay person.
Bellevue has forever blown any opportunity to be a witness not only to this woman but to her teammates and much of the rest of the community. Actually, based upon the comments I've read so far it seems the ridiculous mishandling of the Paul Williams situation already did irreparable damage to Bellevue's reputation in the eyes of many.
Oh, wait. I think I've got it! Maybe the church's defense can be this is what they meant by the "no smoking" rule.