Abby Ohlheiser: So, did you hear that, following New York’s lead, The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) now recognizes and embraces same-sex marriage? It’s on the internet, so it must be true. Or not. The hoax, which comes hot on the heels of an SBC resolution calling for the “urgent need to protect biblical marriage” was pulled off by a group that calls itself the Center for Responsible Christian Living, the Baptist Press reports.  The prankers sent out a press release early this morning announcing the false change of heart.

The Yes Men-style (but, as far as I can tell, not initiated) hoax employed a fake SBC website (with a different URL and design from the official site), a working telephone number, and a fast news cycle.  It seems that only the National Catholic Reporter ran the story as true, and they have since removed the link from their blog.

Fox has picked up the story of the hoax and trendily upgraded it to a “cyberattack,” picking up on the “hacker” status an SBC spokesperson awarded their pranksters.

Overall, it seems that the fake story was nipped at the bud, and that the SBC are taking it in stride.  Max Brantley at the Arkansas Times has a hint as to why that might be:

“Think about it. The Southern Baptist Convention welcome openly gay people? A great hoax needs a germ of believability.”

Indeed, one has to wonder what result the pranksters were aiming for.

UPDATE: Here’s what they were aiming for, as of last night:

Today, on the 42nd Anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City (a watershed moment in the historwelcomeresolutiony of Gay Rights), and four days after New York became the 6th State in the country to legalize Gay Marriage, the CRCL sought to highlight the Southern Baptists’ anti-gay stance as both irresponsible and unchristian.

To do this, CRCL Ministers conceived of a “friendly prank,” releasing a phony pro-gay statement on behalf of the SBC Executive Committee. “Our hope,” said an anonymous CRCL spokesperson, “Was to offer a vision of what might be possible. Now we’re calling on everyone to contact the real Southern Baptist Convention (615-244-2355) and ask them to make this vision real.

Read the rest of their post-prank press release at the fake Southern Baptist Coalition site.