Baptists, gay activists clash over anti-discrimination ordinance
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A plan to add sexual orientation to the city's list of classes protected from job and housing discrimination has angered the Southern Baptist Convention, which may reconsider staging its 2005 annual meeting in its hometown.
Bill Merrell, an SBC vice president, said the possibility was raised in an official communication to a Nashville tourism official that said: "This alters the nature of Nashville as a convention city for us."
With about 16 million members, the Southern Baptist Convention is the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
About 150 employees of the convention's executive committee work in Nashville, as do about 1,500 employees of LifeWay Christian Resources, the denomination's publishing arm. LifeWay was established in Nashville in 1891, while the executive committee has been based in the city since 1927.