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'Shiite Baptists': Pastor to lose job after wife pens critical column

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM   |   Comments

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July 10 (UPI) -- Assistant Pastor Bill Thomas is still in danger of losing his job over a satirical newspaper column his wife wrote in which she criticized Southern Baptists, calling the group "the crazy old paranoid uncle of evangelical Christians."

In response to the Southern Baptist Convention condemning Boy Scouts of America for allowing gay members, Angela Thomas wrote in The Messenger of Madisonville that Southern Baptists had become "raging Shiite Baptists."

"Santa and the Easter bunny are simply the devil in disguise and cable television and the Internet are his playground. The Boy Scouts are his evil minions," she wrote.

“Some might assume that because the Boy Scouts have addressed the issue, it must mean that Scout packs are filled with 10-year-old boys insisting on wearing their Scout caps at a rakish tilt and over-accessorizing their uniforms,” Thomas wrote. “Sexuality doesn’t come up and isn’t relative to typical Scouting activities but now, thanks to Southern Baptists, the parents of little innocent Scouts everywhere are having to have The Talk."

She went on to say that the Boy Scouts don't have the option to "hide behind the freedom granted to religious organizations" to condemn and exclude people based on their interpretation of the Bible.

In response, First Baptist Church of Madisonville asked for Bill’s resignation. What happened in the weeks since is unclear.

First Baptist Church Pastor Joe Leonard said he had accepted Thomas's resignation, and said the opinion piece was not the cause of his departure. "That column precipitated some conversation with him, but that is not the reason he resigned. And because of confidentiality I can't divulge the conversation and what went on."

But Thomas, who has worked at the First Baptist Church for ten years, and is also Minister of Music, wrote a letter to the paper saying he had not in fact tendered it. Instead, he had asked for further review.

Angela Thomas’s stance on the Boy Scouts came as something of a surprise, as her past columns have targeted "liberals who don’t pray," "poor white trash mothers not teaching their children right" and "wasteful government programs like the WIC food program."

But Bill Thomas says he was aware of what his wife wrote. "I did read it," Thomas told The Messenger. "I agreed with what she said and I don’t censor what my wife does."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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