Florida church forces members to sign cruel anti-LGBTQ+ contract or face being kicked out

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville's senior pastor Heath Lambert appears in a YouTube video explaining why members of the church should sign an anti-LGBTQ+ pledge

A Florida church is forcing people of faith to sign an anti-LGBTQ+ pledge if they want to remain members of the church.

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville told members they have until 19 March to sign an anti-LGBTQ+ statement of “Biblical Sexuality” or to immediately resign their membership. 

“As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female. And that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice,” the agreement stated. 

“I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression.” 

First Baptist’s senior pastor Heath Lambert claimed the oath clarified the church’s position on what he describes as a culture that is “dying or drowning in sexual sin”. 

“If you put a swimming pool in your backyard and you say to the toddlers, have at it, and you don’t ever put a fence up … If you only talk about the good things and you don’t talk about the dangers, people are gonna die,” Lambert told Action News Jax

You may like to watch

“The reality is, our city is dying or drowning in sexual sin.”

However, there has been some disagreement in the community since First Baptist Church of Jacksonville posted its anti-LGBTQ+ statement. 

Riverside Avenue Christian Church’s reverend Erin Dickey said her church welcomes everyone – regardless of their gender and sexual orientation – as the mission of the church is to “love one another”. 

“The mission of the church is to love one another and to care for our neighbour to build a just and generous community,” Dickey told First Coast News. “Not to say who’s in or who’s out or to sign something to say yes this is what you have to believe here.”

First Baptist Church of Jacksonville has a history of opposing LGBTQ+ rights. 

It opposed the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, which prohibited people from being fired or evicted solely because of their sexual identity. The church sent shuttles of members to speak out against the ordinance. 

The ordinance eventually passed years later. 

The church approved the statement on sexuality and the requirement for all members to affirm it in October. 

First Baptist created a page on its website to explain its anti-LGBTQ+ position, and one passage detailed how the church thought the “lifestyle represented by LGBTQ+ is at odds with God’s truth, is unloving, and is unhelpful”

Lambert posted a video message about the sexuality statement in which he portrayed the church as being at “war” with a “sexual revolution” in a “confused culture”. He claimed the “secular warriors” of this “sexual revolution” are “seeking to eradicate any opposition to their extremist agenda”. 

Lambert also broadly spoke out against gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, which has been described as “life-saving” by LGBTQ+ advocates, and lambasted trans inclusion in sports.