CORDOVA, TN (WMC-TV) - For the first time, the public is hearing from Bellevue Baptist Church, where officials recently banned a softball coach after she admitted to being a lesbian.
In a video posted on line, Bellevue Baptist Church pastor Steve Gaines tells his congregation about banning lesbian softball coach Jana Jacobson and her team from the church league.
"Even when it comes to a coach on a softball league, we have to make sure that person is the kind of leader we would want to put before our church family," Gaines says.
In a two-and-a-half minute clip from Sunday's service, Gaines says leadership guidelines also apply to church staff.
"Not everyone qualifies to be a staff member," Gaines says in the video. "You have to meet certain requirements in your life. Not everyone qualifies biblically to be a deacon. You have to meet with certain requirements. Not everyone qualifies to be a bible fellowship at Bellevue. You have to meet certain standards for living."
Gaines adds that everyone is welcome at Bellevue, but not everyone can be a leader at the church.
"That is something we take very seriously, because leaders influence other people," he says.
Gaines says Bellevue recently opened some church activities to the community.
"When you do that, there are going to be some people that come in that live different lifestyles that don't know Christ," he says in the video.
Gaines says everyone is a sinner, but if you're openly engaged in cohabitation, adultery, porn-addiction, "or the sin of homosexuality, then we cannot put that person in a leadership position, and so that's the decision and why it was made."
Gaines says church leaders didn't go looking for Jacobson's sexual orientation - the information was made known to them.
Jacobson is now looking into her legal rights.