Anderson Cooper stunned as anti-LGBTQ+ church president tells him gay people can’t be Christian

The president of the Southern Baptist Convention Church has claimed that a good Christian cannot identify as LGBTQ+.

SBC president Bart Barber made the remarks in a Sunday (9 October) interview with journalist Anderson Cooper for CBS 60 Minutes, in which he explained why the church overwhelmingly opposes same-sex marriage.

“I believe that sinners should be converted out of being sinners,” he said during the interview. “And that applies to all of us.

“We’re committed to the idea of gender as a gift from God. We’re committed to the idea that men and women ought to be united with one another in marriage.”

When asked by Cooper if a person can be a good Christian, a member of the Southern Baptist Convention, while also being LGBTQ+, Barber replied simply with, “No.”

Souther Baptist Church president Bart Barber speaks during 60 Minutes.

Souther Baptist Church president Bart Barber speaks during 60 Minutes. (CBS/Twitter)

Elsewhere in the interview, Barber said that the church’s opposition to abortion was to preserve what he claimed was a “human person who deserves to live”.

“Our interest with abortion is not to police everybody’s sex life. Our interest with abortion is that we believe that’s a human person who deserves to live.”

In response to Republican Lauren Boebert’s belief that “the church is supposed to direct the government” in preventing legal abortions, Barber told Cooper that Christian Nationalism is “contrary to 400 years of Baptist history.”

Barber was elected as president of the controversially anti-LGBTQ+ church on 14 June after beating rival Tom Ascol with nearly 61 per cent of the vote.

His beliefs on divisive socio-political subjects remain generally consistent with SBC, believing that the LGBTQ+ community is inherently sinful.

Aside from its ultra-Conservative views and blatant anti-LGBTQ+ stance, the church has also become notorious for sexual abuse scandals.

When asked by Cooper why he chose to campaign for the SBC presidency, he said that he “felt like God was calling” him to “give leadership at this moment to help Southern Baptists move forward.”

In February 2019, a joint investigation from several organisations, including the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express found at least 400 Southern Baptist Church leaders had sexually abused over 700 victims across two decades.

It would take SBC messengers four months to approve a resolution condemning the sheer volume of abuse within its organisation, as well as establishing a committee to investigate further instances of abuse.

But after years of leaks and allegations which suggested the internal review was being mishandled, the church announced in August 2022 that it was facing a federal investigation into the abuse.