KY Baptists focus on protecting children under their care

From One News Now:

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is calling for change at a ministry for abused children to make sure it’s in line with scripture. The change is directed at the head of Sunrise Children’s Services, an agency affiliated with the KBC.

KentuckyThe Convention last week issued a vote of “no confidence” in Sunrise CEO Bill Smithwick after he proposed hiring homosexual at the children’s ministry – reportedly in hopes of preserving millions of dollars in state and federal funding. Although the Sunrise Board subsequently voted to keep its ban on the hiring of homosexuals, the KBC voted to replace all members of the board.

Paul Chitwood, executive director of Kentucky Baptist Convention, tells OneNewsNow that any hirees need to be a good role model for the children and live according to biblical standards.

“These are children whose lives are broken,” he explains to OneNewsNow. “They are victims of abuse and neglect – some [of them] horrific abuse. These children have suffered greatly – they need physical healing, they need emotional healing, they need spiritual healing.”

One bone of contention is that Smithwick wanted the change in the event of congressional passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) or the state handing down similar non-discrimination edicts for those who contract with the state. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Sunrise has state contracts totaling $26 million annually and receives donations of $1 million a year from the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

Chitwood is convinced Sunrise ought to follow the Bible rather than the money. “Now if it comes down to it, I’m convinced that if the state demands like that be employed to maintain their funding, then the organization needs to surrender that funding and do what it can with Baptist money and the money of other donors,” he concludes.

Although the no-confidence vote isn’t binding, the Convention has the authority to approve trustees for Sunrise – and 11 new trustees, including Chitwood, will be joining the board. So he believes it will have an impact.

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