In rural Kentucky, the call to be a preacher can come at an early age. Nick Wilson was born with it.
"We were always in church," he says. "Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, Bible school, revivals. That's what life was."
His father, a grandfather and two great-grandfathers were Southern Baptist preachers. So is his brother. His sister married a preacher, and Wilson intended to follow the line.
After college, he attended the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., a training ground for Baptist preachers since 1859. But his ministry plans soon ended, because no congregation was interested in ordaining him. They all wanted a family man, and Wilson didn't measure up.
"First off, I'm single. That's a problem," he says. "They really want you to be married. But then if you throw in gay, it's over with."
Wilson says he knew from the time he was six or seven that he was "different." In time, he became open about his sexuality, even taking his boyfriend to church. But in the Southern Baptist world, homosexuality is morally unacceptable, so he was disqualified from the ministry.
"The scriptural view is what's ultimate," says Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary and an intellectual leader in the evangelical world. "The Apostle Paul very explicitly in 1 Corinthians says that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." [There's more from Mohler and the culture war being fought among Evangelical Christians in Tom Gjelten's Morning Edition story.]