Gay acceptance tests limits of tolerance for some in the Chattanooga area

Conservative pastors say this is a fight they didn't pick. Rather, society carried its culture wars right into the sanctuary.

But the churches aren't wavering.

For many mainline denominations, the hard-line stance on homosexuality hasn't changed in centuries. Because giving ground here would be more than just a practice in tolerance. It would be a turn away from scripture, a rejection of God's design for man. To them, standing firm against homosexuality is a matter of answering God's call to shepherd the flock.

"We don't set our teachings by polls and popular opinion," said Hixson Presbyterian Church Pastor Robert Johnson. "Popular or not, we stand in what we believe is a truth."

But for those who value both traditional Christian beliefs and the rights and acknowledgement of gays and lesbians, such dogma can be troublesome.