The September/October cover of 'Gospel Today' showcases five female pastors including Pastor Sheryl Brady of The River in Durham, N.C.; Bishop Millicent Hunter of The Baptist Worship Center in Philadelphia, Pa.; Pastor Claudette Copeland of New Creation Christian Fellowship in San Antonio, Texas; Pastor Tamara Bennett of This Is Pentecost Ministries in Sacramento, Calif.; and Pastor Kimberly Ray of Church on the Rock in Matteson, Ill.
News broke last week that the Fayetteville, Ga.-published glossy had been removed from its regular position on magazine shelves at more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores in the United States and "placed behind the counter like it was pornography," according to the magazine's owner Teresa Hairston.
Since its inception in 1989, this is the only time that the publication that has featured the likes of Star Jones, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child, Denzel Washington and Rev. Run on its covers has ever received such recoil, Hairston told me.
"It's the first time," she explained. "It's really kind of sad when you have people like Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton providing encouragement and being role models for women around the world that we have such a divergent opinion about women who are able to be leaders in the church. I was pretty shocked!"
Lifeway Christian Bookstores are owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, who openly endorses the Republican party.
Hairston believes that the organization contradicts itself in approving a political party that is promoting a woman for the vice presidency, while condemning a publication for endorsing women in ministry.
"I think that if a conservative republican organization like Southern Baptist Convention can endorse the republican ticket, they are going to be hard-pressed to try to put a woman in the White House and keep her out of the church house," she offered.
Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, which runs the stores for the Southern Baptist Convention told the 'Atlanta Journal Constitution' that the magazine's cover subject goes against their doctrine.
"It is contrary to what we believe," Turner told the paper.
Southern Baptist Convention bases those beliefs on their interpretation of New Testament Scriptures in the Bible.
Southern Baptist representatives at national meetings have adopted statements saying women should not be pastors, but each church is independent.
Southern Baptists are not the only ones to reject the idea of women preachers.
The Catholic faith does not believe in women priests and the Presbyterian Church in America does not ordain women.
Hairston remains in disbelief that her cover story on a growing trend in ministry received such a push-back from the organization.
When asked whether she thought the topic would be this controversial, she replied: "Absolutely not!"
"We weren't trying to pick a fight," Hairston reminded. "We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches."
The magazine mogul, who also founded The Gospel Heritage Foundation, appeared during CNN correspondent Roland Martin's debut segment on the nationally syndicated 'Tom Joyner Morning Show' today to address the matter.
When Martin challenged the 10 million radio listeners in Joyner's 120 markets to "give Lifeway Christian Bookstores hell" over the matter, Hairston countered with: "I'd rather give them heaven!"
Gender discrimination on behalf of Southern Baptist Convention and Lifeway Christian Bookstores struck a person chord for Martin, whose wife; Reverend Jackie Martin was once a Lifeway teacher.
Rev. Martin, as the political pundit put it, "was given her papers" after they discovered on her website that she had become an ordained minister.
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