Some people out there are vehemently unhappy with the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) take on gay marriage. One "group" was so unhappy with the organization's stance that it decided to launch an elaborate Internet hoax. The prank, which was carried out on Tuesday, has left Baptist officials scratching their heads.
The plot included a fake web site, news releases -- even a phone number -- all intended to falsely convince reporters and the public that America's largest Protestant denomination had changed its stance on gay marriage. FOX News has more:
The release was sent to an unknown number of reporters and directed readers to a website designed to replicate the real Southern Baptist Convention website, along with working telephone numbers where individuals identified themselves as employees of the SBC Executive Committee...
The news release came from a group calling itself the “Southern Baptist Conference of America.” The release falsely announced that the Southern Baptists had met in “extraordinary emergency session” to affirm gay rights and repent “of any past homophobia that not only hurt gay people but kept them ostracized from the church.”
The scheme was so extensively planned out that it even included fake quotes from actual denomination officials. Additionally, upon calling the posted phone number, reporters reached individuals who claimed to be staff members -- even interns -- for the SBC.
Denomination President Bryant Wright had affirmed his belief that the attacks came as a result of the religious group's ongoing opposition to same-sex marriage. According to FOX, he said:
“I have a hunch that maybe somebody that was unhappy with our ongoing stand for sexual purity decided to set up this false website."
According to SBC's web site, its official stance on gay marriage is as follows:
"We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy — one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.' The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ."
According to the Baptist Press, the stunt was organized by the Center for Responsible Christian Living (which, ironically, does not have a web site). The group, via a press release, vindicated Wright's belief that the attack was due to SBC's gay marriage stance, stating that they launched the project to expose the denomination's perspective on marriage as "both irresponsible and unchristian."
The Center, which describes itself as a think tank, but has yet to be substantiated, also wrote, "Our hope was to offer a vision of what might be possible" and described the initiative as a "friendly prank." The group declined to identify any official spokespersons.
If this scheme is anything like the ongoing glitter attacks being launched by gay marriage advocates, there could be more elaborate scheming to come.