The topic of women taking on leadership positions in the church has always been a divisive issue and now some women are making their stance known. Leaders of Virginia's Baptist Women's Missionary Union have publicly said they agree with the idea of women in the ministry, despite the differing views coming out of the Southern Baptist Conference. Local ministers and pastors say that God doesn't judge on gender and neither should we. " I believe the same god who ordains men as pastors is the same god who can ordain a women," says Valerie Ghant, Associate Minister at First Baptist Church. "I believe the clear trajectory of scripture teaches that women are equal to men in all respects not only in the world but also in the church," says Jack Mercer, Pastor of Harrisonburg Baptist Church. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention says that with 43,000 churches in the convention, he recognizes that not everyone is going to agree.