August 15, 2012
Air Force Chaplain Leaves Southern Baptists After Civil Union Uproar
Attendance at same-sex ceremony drew scrutiny from SBC.
Fallout from an Associated Press story has forced an Air Force chaplain to leave the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) after 30 years and affiliate instead with a more-moderate Baptist denomination.
Col. Timothy Wagoner left the SBC for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) in July, amid denominational fallout from an AP story that reported Wagoner’s attendance at a same-sex civil union held at his Air Force base in New Jersey.
Although Wagoner reportedly made it clear that he would not officiate same-sex unions, he did attend the June civil union of two officers he had commanded at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. Wagoner told Baptist Press (BP) that the AP misquoted his reasons for attending the ceremony and instead implied his personal support for same-sex civil unions.
"My intention was never to embarrass or misrepresent the Southern Baptists whom I have faithfully served for 30 years as a pastor and military chaplain," he told BP.
However, his explanation failed to placate SBC critics, leading to Wagoner re-aligning himself with the CBF.
CT has previously reported how the repeal of the U.S. military's "Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell" policy has drawn complaints from SBC chaplains.