Why I’m still Baptist

Jackson Campbell
5 min readOct 6, 2023

Reclaiming a rebellious, centuries old identity that was hijacked by conservative evangelicalism

If you have seen my social media or any of my content by now, you have most certainly seen that I call myself a “Queer advocate & Minister in the Baptist tradition.” To most folks, that is quite a puzzling identity. I frequently get responses like, “You work at a Baptist church? How does that work?” or “Doesn’t the Baptist Church hate gay people?”

Sigh.

If you wonder the same thing, I don’t blame you. It is almost universally understood that Baptists are conservative, homophobic, xenophobic, racist (the white ones), against drinking alcohol, and backward in just about every facet of their social life. To understand why that is the case, you must understand who controls the narrative. Unfortunately, that is the Southern Baptist Convention. They pretty much align with all of the above ideas. The SBC has, for many years, worked against the best interests of the marginalized. But the loudest ones aren’t the only ones. The loudest ones are usually the most ignorant. I’m not one of those ignorant Baptists.

I am a Baptist. I am an original Baptist. I identify with the deep-rooted heritage and values of the historic Baptist tradition.

So what does it mean to be Baptist?

Well, we’re a diverse tradition. Baptists are like snowfl — nevermind. You get it.

For many, the Baptist tradition is about the freedom to be who I am without a governing authority (aka the machine) trying to tell me or my peers what to do or believe. Baptist churches were founded because they weren’t interested in the state religion and its bullsh*t. They weren’t interested in blindly following what everyone else had to say.

For many, the Baptist tradition is about breaking bread. We love potlucks. We love eating together. We take seriously the ritual of dining with one another as Jesus did. All the important stuff took place at dinner tables.

For many, the Baptist tradition is about the personal, conscious choice to commit to faith. When someone has matured enough to declare their faith in Christ, they are fully immersed in the Baptismal waters, symbolizing burial…

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