A Progressive Theo-Political Blog Bringing You The Best and Worst of Baptist Life.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Martin Luther King Jr. - A Republican???

The National Black Republican Association is running radio ads that say "Martin Luther King Jr. was a REPUBLICAN."

Frances Rice has even written an essay at NBRA entitled "Why Martin Luther King Jr. Was a Republican."

Civil Rights Leader and Friend of King, Congressman John Lewis has responded to these poisonous ads. I'm posting his response in full below...

Rep. John Lewis Says Ads Corrupt King Legacy

“The radio ads issued by the National Black Republican Association,” said Rep. Lewis, “claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican are deceptive and misleading.

“I knew Martin Luther King, Jr. He was my friend. He was my colleague. We worked together, and I know that he voted for John F. Kennedy, the Democratic candidate for President, in 1960. I know he voted for Lyndon Johnson for president in 1964 and not Barry Goldwater. And if he had lived, he would have voted for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and not the Republican candidate Richard Nixon.

“These ads are an insult to the legacy and the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr. They are an affront to all that he stood for and to everyone who worked with him and followed him. They should be withdrawn and denounced by the Republican Party. Both parties made mistakes and blunders when it came to the issues of civil rights and race, but the great majority of African Americans identify with the Democratic Party because of its great history of championing the causes of those who have been left out and left behind, the cause of civil rights and social justice.”

Well said, Congressman Lewis.

Most Southern Baptists STILL Support Iraq War??

According to Richard Land, head of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, they do...
"I still think Iraq is one of the more noble things we've done. We went there to try to restore freedom and to bring freedom to the Middle East."

An Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted earlier this month indicated that 42 percent of white evangelicals disapprove of the job Bush has done as president. But Land contends Bush has lost less support from Southern Baptists than "virtually any other constituency." The Nashville-based SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with over 16 million members. "I don't think there's any question that the vast majority of Southern Baptists still strongly support this president and his policies," Land said.

Dr. Jim West disagrees in his post - "Richard Land Does Not Speak For All Southern Baptists"

He certainly doesn’t speak for me and I know a rather impressive number of Southern Baptists for whom he also does not speak. Even if, in his more delusional moments, when he actually believes that he truly does speak for Southern Baptists, if you visit communities where soldiers have been brought home in flag draped coffins or visited Southern Baptist Churches where funerals for those dead soldiers are conducted, you will find a large number of people who would gasp at the suggestion of him speaking for them...
Why is Land lying? Because he wants to position his brand of Southern Baptist life with the far right wing of the Republican party- in hopes of wielding influence in the upcoming election. His claims are outrageous, and reprehensible.

Any honest Baptist who followed closely the 1980's Takeover of the SBC, knows Richard Land for what he is...

An Opportunist.

Land led the Fundamentalist-brigade in their decade-long struggle to defund the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. After a fifty-five year relationship, Land finally got his way as the SBC officially dissolved all financial ties with the BJC in 1991. Guess who became the new Church-State expert for the SBC? Richard Land. Guess whose organization was given most of the BJC's budget? Richard Land's. Only one person benefitted from the defunding of the Baptist Joint Committee. Richard Land was that person.

Now, the world must realize that when Richard Land says, "mosts Baptists believe," as he does, he misrepresents reality.

It's quite unfortunate that Richard Land speaks for ANY Baptists.

As Baptists committed to the cherished principle of Religious Liberty, let us remember the words of the late Foy Valentine...

In the name of George W. Truett and in the name of Liberty’s Lord, let Baptists rise up now to stop these detractors. And let Baptists with one heart, one mind, and one will raise high the banner of religious liberty/church-state separation. As Chaucer put it, if gold rust, how shall Iron be clean? What our forebears secured at great sacrifice letus not basely relinquish.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A New Southern Baptist Dictionary...

In the mail today, I received a nicely-shrink wrapped copy of the SBC's 2006 Annual (not sure why it was addressed to me, though).

While watching a Seinfeld re-run and flipping through this nearly 600-page document, I found one Motion so utterly ridiculous that I could not help but chuckle.
28. William I. Gay Jr. (NC) presented a motion: Refrain from Using the Word "Gay" as Meaning "Homosexual"

"That the Southern Baptist Convention refrain from using the word "gay" when referring to homosexuals in sermons, publications, and in the media. I would also ask the pastors in our denomination, and in other enominations to cease referring to homosexuals as "gay" in their sermons and in their publications."

President Bobby Welch later ruled the motion out of order.

Too bad the motion didn't pass....I can see the Jon Stewart clip now...

On Electoral Integrity...

Will the Next Election Be Hacked?

In the October issue of Rolling Stone, Robert F. Kennedy uses research from a recent Princeton University study to prove that electronic voting machines can't be trusted in their current state. Kennedy writes...
The debacle of the 2000 presidential election made it all too apparent to most Americans that our electoral system is broken. And private-sector entrepreneurs were quick to offer a fix: Touch-screen voting machines, promised the industry and its lobbyists, would make voting as easy and reliable as withdrawing cash from an ATM. Congress, always ready with funds for needy industries, swiftly authorized $3.9 billion to upgrade the nation's election systems - with much of the money devoted to installing electronic voting machines in each of America's 180,000 precincts. But as midterm elections approach this November, electronic voting machines are making things worse instead of better. Studies have demonstrated that hackers can easily rig the technology to fix an election - and across the country this year, faulty equipment and lax security have repeatedly undermined election primaries.
Kennedy's comprehensive report is quite frightening to those of us who champion for the integrity of our electoral system. Read it!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Dangers of Calvinism....

Lonnie Wilkey, editor of the Tennessee Baptist Convention's newspaper (Baptist & Reflector), has a new column entitled "Calvinists Have No Sense of Urgency - Jesus Did."

And a snippet...

The danger with Calvinism as I see it is that it could cause Southern Baptists in the pew to think they do not need to witness, give through the Cooperative Program to missions, or pray for lost souls. That would be a tragedy. To be fair to Calvinists there are some who say that there is a need to witness and share the gospel. But they do not seem to have that sense of urgency that Jesus had. One of the last things Jesus said to His disciples (and to us) is the Great Commission, recorded in Matthew 28:19-20. I can’t imagine Jesus saying those words at that particular time if it didn’t matter.

I can only go by the example Jesus set. He had an urgency for saving lost souls and He passed that urgency on to us.

In the article, Wilkey admits that he's no theologian and writes from a layman's perspective with no seminary training. Most Southern Baptists have no seminary training.

I do wonder how many in the pews share the views of Wilkey?

I'm willing to bet that number is a tad bit higher than 10%....

Monday, September 25, 2006


Florida Baptist Witness covered the event HERE.

Declaring their intention to “give voice to younger leaders across the Southern Baptist Convention” who support the SBC’s conservative resurgence and its emphasis on biblical inerrancy, over 40 pastors and seminary professors met just outside Orlando Sept. 25 for the first of a two-day meeting dubbed “The Joshua Convergence.”

Presenting seven “Principles of Affirmation” in the context of a worship service, young leaders from throughout the country spoke of truth, gratitude, service, holiness, unity, identity and mission.

The document expresses “deep thankfulness for those who have taken [our] Convention back to its theological and spiritual moorings,” crediting “godly men and women” with the furtherance of “seminaries that champion God’s Word, evangelistic mission agencies, and a Convention committed to the Great Commission.”

Each of the affirmations leads with a scripture verse from the Old Testament book of Joshua and other verses are sprinkled throughout the document.

Go Read All 7 "Principles of Affirmation." Of the 7, I found the first one to be most revealing.

“1. Truth—‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night .…’ Joshua 1:8

“We affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and the need for Southern Baptists to continue ‘to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3). We maintain that any departure from the sufficiency of Scripture in preaching, evangelism, counseling, missions, ministry, or ecclesiology strikes against the very truth and authority of God's Word. Pride and human sinfulness will draw believers away from biblical truth if they are not eternally watchful. The battle for the Bible must be renewed in every generation. We take our stand to continue in that battle.

The Battle for the Bible must be renewed in every generation, huh? Time for the Fundy's to teach these young "leaders" Patterson's Power Politics 101.

If you haven't already, read my original post below on The Joshua Convergence.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Joshua Convergence

Recently, I wrote a post entitled "A Fundamentalist Attack on Wade Burleson." In this post, I listed quotes from men who had explicitly or implicitly referred to Burleson as a "liberal." Dr. Bradley Reynolds of SEBTS was included in this group.

Now, Dr. Bradley Reynolds is heading up a meeting of young SBC leaders. This "annual meeting" known as the "Joshua Convergence" will be held today and tomorrow in Winter Park, Florida.

Here are a few snippets taken from the "Joshua Convergence" website.

The purpose of The Joshua Convergence is to give a voice to younger leaders across the Southern Baptist Convention who are strongly committed to biblical inerrancy, who support the goals and leadership of the conservative resurgence, and who unashamedly embrace biblical standards of separation and morality, in order that the Southern Baptist Convention might continue to hold to the authority, inerrancy, and sufficiency of Scripture in the future and that the nations might be transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

An anonymous blogger known only as SWBTS Underground had this to say about the upcoming Joshua Convergence get-together...

I want everyone paying attention. No one has been inactive in this battle over leadership and authority in the SBC. It is about to flesh out into in all-out war. It is going to be a rehash of the Conservative Resurgence, but with one key distinction- both sides feel like they are taking the true conservative position, both sides feel God is on their side, and both sides now have vendettas and past wounds to avenge. This is a scary time in the SBC.

There is going to come a day soon when you will assuredly be called to voice your approval and support to one side or the other, whether it be in your church, your school, or your job.

As the old hymn goes - Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war! It's Rally The Troops time. Patterson's minions are putting on their war-paint, digging the trenches, and preparing for guerilla warfare Pressler-style. The SBC Wars won't stop until the "other side" is in a body bag. Rather, the SBC Wars won't stop until the Fudamentalists stomp out all dissent and the "other side" ceases to exist.

And you actually thought the so-called "Conservative Resuregence" was about the BIBLE???

Onward Christian Soldiers!

Do you smell an implosion??? Maybe, Bruce Gourley was on to something....

Don't Ask, Don't Tell....

Over a year ago, I discovered a fascinating blog penned by a UNC-Greensboro student, Matthew Hill Comer. Through the comment sections of his blog, Matt and I have discussed various subjects ranging from the nasty antics of Religious Right Republicans to the Democratic Party's lack of a prophetic voice. While we do not always agree with one another, I've learned alot from our discussions and his posts.

Last Thursday morning, Matt made the national news after he was refused enlistment into the United States Army.


Because Matt is gay.

Read the whole story at the DailyTarHeel...

(Greensboro, North Carolina) Nine people were arrested Thursday at a military recruiting station in Greensboro, North Carolina where they were protesting the military ban on gays serving openly. The demonstrators were all members of the Right to Serve campaign organized by the LGBT nondenominational group Soulforce. Four members of the group entered the recruitment office to sign up for the military. When they said they were gay they were automatically rejected under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" The four, joined by five others who got into the office, staged a sit-in. Police were called and the nine were hauled off in handcuffs. They were charged with trespassing and later released a Soulforce spokesperson said.

I just don't get "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Only one law in the United States mandates firing someone because of his or her sexual orientation, and that law is the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. An average of two people per day are discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." A 2006 Blue Ribbon Commission Report sponsored by the University of California estimated that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has cost taxpayers over $360 million. Among the 11,000+ servicemembes discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" were more than 800 personnel with skills critical to national security (including at least 55 Arabic speakers, 9 Farsi speakers, and over 244 doctors, nurses, and medical specialists).

I don't know about you - but government-sanctioned discrimination doesn't settle too well with me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress...

The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and Five to Watch)

Over the course of the 109th Congress, the issue of congressional ethics has taken on new resonance. Where questionable conduct was once shrugged off as “business as usual,” now both the public and the press are demanding greater accountability from members of Congress. An August 2006 Harris poll shows that 77% of Americans have a negative view of Congress and while a May 2006 Gallup poll indicates that 83% ofAmericans consider corruption a serious issue, and 64% believe that dealing with corruption should be a high priority for Congress.

In the last two years, the careers of three members have ended as a result of corruption: former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) has been indicted in Texas and is facing possible federal indictment in the Jack Abramoff scandal; Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham is now serving an eight-year jail term for bribery though the federal probe into his activities remains open and may yet encompass other members of Congress; and Rep. Bob Ney has agreed to plead to guilty to crimes that will likely result in a minimum two-year prison term. In addition, several other members, including Reps. William Jefferson, Alan Mollohanand, Jerry Lewis, and Sens. Conrad Burns and Bill Frist are also under federal investigation.

Last year's list included only 13 members. Of this year's 20 corrupt members, 17 are Republicans and 3 are Democrats. It seems many members of Congress have serious ethical problems. These ethical issues must be taken into consideration at the polls. You won't find this die-hard Democrat voting for an ethically-challenged candidate in November.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Democrat Causes Church-State Concerns

As the race for Tennessee's US Senate seat (vacated by Bill Frist) enters the homestretch, Harold Ford Jr., the African-American Democratic candidate, released a new campaign commercial which was filmed in a BAPTIST CHURCH. Here's the snippet from The Jewish Daily Forward...
In an attempt to woo religious voters, Tennessee's Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate has filmed a campaign commercial in his childhood church, with a large white cross looming over his right shoulder. "I started in the church the old-fashioned way... I was forced to," said Rep. Harold Ford Jr., sitting in a glossy wooden pew. "Here, I learned the difference between right and wrong."

As a student who is currently studying the relationship between Church & State, I am concerned by Ford's use of religious iconography to woo voters. Many Church-State experts have expressed their concerns as well...

“To politicize… conservative Christianity… and just say ‘Here’s the Democratic version, I don’t think either one serves the interest of religion and certainly not the interest of the body politic,” said Marc Stern, general counsel of the American Jewish Congress. “It’s not a healthy development.”

Because tax-exempt, not-for-profit organizations are forbidden from participating in partisan activity, Stern said that the church likely ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service code, unless it made its facilities available to all the candidates on equal terms.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the liberal Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, did not challenge the legality of the advertisement, assuming that the church was willing to provide equal time to other candidates. But he did describe it as cause for concern.

“This is, unfortunately, indicative of the infusion of religious rhetoric and imagery in the elections there these days,” said Saperstein, who recently attended Constitution Day celebrations in Tennessee. He added: “The manipulation of a church and religious symbols to add religious legitimacy to an attack on an opponent undercuts respect for religion in America and suggests a religious test for office that is divisive. The last thing we need is candidates using their churches to implicitly support their political accusations. In contrast, the first half of his remarks talking about his going to church as a child, where he learns about right and wrong, was about him, not his opponent, and helps explain who he is. That part of the commercial did feel appropriate.”

What say you? Are you concerned by this type of manipulation?

For more info on Harold Ford Jr, check out Dr. Robert Parham's latest piece at EthicsDaily.com entitled "Will Southern Baptists vote for an African-American?"

Ann Coulter: New Leader of the Religious Right?

Last month Frederick Clarkson of Talk2Action posed this same question.

Clarkson writes...

Is author and pundit Ann Coulter on her way to becoming the new leader of the religious right?

Well, maybe not exactly. Not yet anyway. But if her new book is any indication, she wants to be a contender. Godless: the Church of Liberalism, is a vintage screed that like many a tome before it, riffs off of the central frame of the religious right for the past generation or so.

Later in the artcle, Clarkson examines just how "Christian" Coulter actually is...

Ann Coulter says she is a Christian; she says she attends Reedemer Presbyterian Church in New York City -- however the church says she is not a member and has no information that she has ever attended. She is however, a Christian nationalist, asserting the bogus notion that the U.S. was founded as a "Christian nation." Unlike most people for whom their religioius identity is an important part of their private identity and their public persona, Coulter makes little effort to stress her Christianity except when scoring political points or make a sale. She makes no mention of her Christianity in her bio on her personal web site.

Today, Bob Allen of EthicsDaily.com reported that Ann Coulter helped the Christian Coalition of Georgia raise 150K at a fundraiser over the weekend. The purpose of CCOG's fundraiser was to raise money to pay for voter guides for the upcoming mid-term elections. Coulter spoke mostly on the subject of abortion. However, Coulter saved her most controversial retort for the very end when she referred to the Republican senators who defied Bush over the rules for interrogating terrorist subjects as "the al-Quaeda contingent."

Coulter will be the featured speaker this weekend at an event sponsored by James Dobson's Family Research Council.

Why has the Religious Right crawled into BED with such a vile human being who espouses hate and does not seem to practice her "faith" with a group of fellow believers?

Is Ann Coulter the New Leader of the Religious Right? Decide for yourself...

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them!!!

Bruce Gourley at A Baptist Perspective has an excellent critique of Gregory Tomlin's latest CBF-Bash piece.

Gourley asks...

So just what is the real story behind this latest “we hate the despicable CBF” piece from SBC liars and spinmasters? Why do SBC leaders continue to feel compelled to lash out in anger at little ole’ CBF? Why are these fundamentalist Baptists infatuated and infuriated over how CBF functions in the first place?

Are SBC leaders really as insecure as their actions indicate? Does berating CBF allow a little bit of a distraction from their own growing choruses of lament over the historically-unprecedented decline of baptisms and evangelism within the SBC, not to mention the leadership scandals? As the failures of the SBC fundamentalist leadership mount, will CBF be the brunt of ever greater anger and rage?

It seems to me the SBC is dying. And if it is not, the leadership sure is intent on blowing it to smithereens.

Gourley also notes that the SBC counts among its member churches ALL Churches aligned with the Baptist General Convention of Texas "regardless of whether the individual congregations contribute to the SBC or not, despite years of requests from some non-SBC local Baptist churches to the SBC to take them off SBC roles." Talk about Dishonesty!

Speaking of dishonesty, I wrote a post last month which demonstrated that the SBC.net website (SBC Church Search) still lists CBF/BGCT aligned churches such as Waco's Calvary Baptist Church and 7th & James Baptist Church as Southern Baptist congregations. In the comment section of this post, two bloggers suggested that the SBC Church Search gets the contact information from the churches themselves and unless a church takes the time to ask to be removed, the assumption is they are still SBC churches. This "spin" is inaccurate. SBC Church Search lists multiple NEW Churches which are CBF-only as Southern Baptist. These Churches have NEVER been affiliated with the SBC but yet are still listed as Southern Baptist!

Are all Churches listed on SBC Church Search included in the SBC's annual profile? Why does the SBC include ALL Churches aligned with the BGCT??

Talk about fudging the numbers....

Clearly "spinmaster" Gregory Tomlin and Les (Burleson is a Liberal) Puryear have an axe to grind with the CBF. Just how long will Tomlin's silly charade continue???

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rosie and a bowl of Raisin Bran

Since my accident, I've been forced to live life with one-decent leg. I spend more-or-less ALL of my time awake on the couch. Now that I'm actually awake and at home in the mornings, I've discovered a new quasi-interesting television show to watch while I eat my cereal. This show is THE VIEW. Rosie O'Donnell has made me giggle loudly ever since A League of Their Own. She earned my respect as a major figure in the Million Mom March against gun violence. Rosie's attack on Tom Selleck in 1999 for his involvement with the NRA was a classic moment in TV History.

According to a recent "article", Rosie's co-star, Elisabeth Hasselbeck doesn't know how to deal with Rosie. A snippet...

According to an inside source cited by Rush & Molloy, Hasselbeck "gets so upset all the time" and "can't contain her feelings," thus leading to the daily river of tears, especially because "no one can control Rosie." It seems that Ro's staunch (and strongly expressed) lefty political views are just too much for the right-winged Elisabeth; indeed, "View" watchers have been waiting anxiously for the pair to really push each others' buttons on such topics as gay marriage and the war in Iraq.

Nothing could make for a more enjoyable breakfast than watching a cat-fight between Rosie and Hasselbeck over the Iraq War!

Note: I don't agree with every word uttered from Rosie's mouth. However, I refuse to bash Rosie yet based on her most recent controversial comment since the term "radical Christians" was never defined.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mohler on UTube

Funny. Funny. Funy.

Calvinism on the rise....in the SBC

Results from a recent Lifeway Research survey show that Calvinism is on the rise in the Southern Baptist Convention. Duh. According to the survey, 1 in 10 SBC pastors consider themselves to be a 5-point Calvinist. And a snippet...
While LifeWay Research found the number of Southern Baptist pastors embracing five-point Calvinism to be relatively small, it is undeniable that the conversations on Calvinism within the Southern Baptist Convention have brought renewed interest to the theological system. Proponents of Calvinism, or Reformed theology, view it as a healthy return to early Southern Baptist heritage. Others see Calvinism as a negative trend and fear it is threatening to take over the SBC. In its inaugural survey, LifeWay Research sought to document the prevalence -– or lack thereof –- of Calvinism within the SBC.

Reformed theology is quite popular these days especially with teenagers and young adults. But WHY? Southern Baptist Tom Ascol of Founders Ministries has an answer...

"The revival of Reformed theology is growing among younger pastors and ministers in training. This is largely a young church leader movement. Boomers and busters are willing to put aside preconceived notions. More and more seminary and college students are coming to see that the doctrines are nothing more than an accurate summary of the biblical teaching of salvation." (53) Understood from this perspective, campus ministry, Christian contemporary music, and popular Calvinist speakers are three avenues that introduce students to Calvinist concepts who then go to the Bible and see that Calvin "rightly divide(d) the Word of truth."

It remains to be seen how Non-Calvinists in the Southern Baptist Convention will respond to the growth of Calvinism within their denomination. Exactly how threatened are Non-Calvinists by this "negative trend"? Looking past the current IMB squabble, if doctrinal conformity remains a MUST in the SBC - will a Battle Royal between the two camps even be avoidable???

For more see:

“Youth for Calvin: Reformed Theology and Baptist Collegians”

Word Document Version

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Burleson's 'Big Tent' meets Molly's 'Large Room'

Wade Burleson has often declared that the Southern Baptist Convention is a BIG TENT. Time and time again, Burleson has expressed his desire to see this BIG TENT kept wide open and not zipped shut.

In a May 19th post, Burleson wrote...

We must broaden the base of service in the SBC to include more than just a few who are recycled in their appointments. This broadening of the tent of service will insure that the SBC will remain broad in cooperation, grasssroots in the authority structure, and viable for the next generation of Southern Baptists.

However, Burleson is not the first person to argue for a more inclusive Southern Baptist Convention. He's just the last.

14 years ago, Rev. Dr. Molly Marshall, Associate Professor of Theology at SBTS, contributed a chapter to Robison B. James & David Dockery's book, Beyond The Impasse? Scripture, Interpretation & Theology in Baptist Life. The title of Dr. Marshall's chapter was - "Setting Our Feet in a Large Room." A few excerpts follow...

Psalm 31:8 offers this assurance of God's covenantal faithfulness: "you have set my feet in a broad place" (NRSV). The psalmist is speaking not only of God's enduring care, but of the spacious freedom the faithful people of God enjoy. Perhaps the image of a "large room" can help us in these days of heightened animosity among competing parties in our denomination, each attempting to lay claim to the true Baptist "room." Moving beyond the impasse may be possible only through a renewed acknowledgment and commitment to the anchor of our faith, the love of God expressed to us through Jesus Christ. This common confession provides our entrance into the broad place which, we might discover, is more expansive than our current climate might suggest. It matters greatly that we attempt to strengthen our bonds as Christians in the one body of Christ during this time of rapid fragmentation. (p. 169)
"Entering a Large Room"

More than a few among us are concerned that Southern Baptists have been captured more by the "theology of glory" than by the "theology of the cross." Our denominational successes have contributed to an imperious attitude toward other Christian traditions, toward Christian brother and sisters within our denomination and, we confess, toward the scandalous cross on which our faith depends. Because the denominational "product" sold so well for so long, we have had little patience with those for whom faith was a "dimly burning wick" (Isa. 42:3). Weakness and hiddenness, the garb of the cross and the means of God's disclosure, were expendable parts of the commodious gospel regnant among us. (p. 179) We must "return to the image of the 'large room' as the place all can enter through the common confession of the crucified, buried, and risen Saviour."

We must "first of all, examine the cross of Christ which allows us to enter our true 'home" through our reconciliation with God; second, examine how Scripture bears witness to this chief disclosure of God and thereby points the way for us; and third, examine the manner in which gospel and Scripture enable us to extend the glad welcome into God's spacious salvation." (p. 179)

Getting beyond our present impasse will require humility, repentance, and the will for "convictional cooperation," as Mohler winsomely calls it. Only the providential grace of our God can bring about a new spirit of cooperation only the wisdom borne of God's Spirit can instruct a way forward together." (p. 188)

Ironically, Burleson's image of a "Big Tent" is a wee-bit-bigger than Dr. Marshall's "Large Room."

Though Wade has been accused of being a liberal, he remains a SBC International Mission Board trustee. Also falsely accused of being a liberal (i.e. universalist), Dr. Molly Marshall was forced to resign by SBTS President Al Mohler in 1994 - merely two years after advocating for a "Large Room."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Fundamentalist Attack on Wade Burleson

Wade Burleson - A Flaming Liberal?

No, not quite.

But according to his detractors, Wade Burleson is Liberal.

In a discussion thread at Marty Duren's SBC Outpost, Wade Burleson listed a few telling quotes from SBC Bloggers who explicitly or implicitly dropped the liberal-bomb...

It is with a heavy heart that I ask your forgiveness. You see, I’ve been duped. . . . his true colors have finally been revealed. He is a closet CBFer. Our IMB board does not need men like Wade Burleson. I repent of my support for Wade Burleson.
-Les Puryear, Pastor of Lewisville Baptist Church, NC (August 19, 2006)
Fellow Southern Baptist to assume there are no liberals amongst us is a most naive and dangerous assumption. There are. And they would like nothing better than for us to lower the standard of inerrancy under the guise of widening the tent.
-Dr. Bradley Reynolds, Professor of Christian Education, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (August 2, 2006)
“While Wade Burleson has not said anything like that, just because he nailed the 95 Thesis to the Moderates doors does not really affirm anything for me. While I knew this before now, it just affirms for me his antagonistic tendencies...from my reading of Wade’s blog, he has never advocated anyone being named to a board or as a trustee who is not willing to sign the BFM 2000, and I don't recall him ever saying anyone that is in the CBF should be allowed to serve.” Go back and read his posts again. He tacitly encouraged bringing Dan Vestal, Winfred Moore,and others back to the table. Also, if someone signs the BF&M and then says they do not agree with certain elements of it, is that not the same as not believing and supporting it?
-Tim Rogers, Pastor in Statesville, North Carolina (Sept. 13, 2006)
-Please see UPDATE below concerning Tim Rogers quote.
It appears that the disgruntled moderates and liberals within the SBC have simply regrouped and revised their strategy. Now, it seems that they have cloaked themselves under the veil of conservativism.” They say that they are conservatives, that they believe in inerrancy, and that they were for the Conservative Resurgence. Then, they turn around and say that they want the SBC to become more “cooperative” with other “conservatives” that do not affirm inerrancy; they are constantly criticizing the SBC, the IMB Board ofTrustees, conservative leaders in the Resurgence, the BF&M, and they portray the Conservative Resurgence as some kind of “denominational takeover,” etc., etc., etc. Obviously, the “handwriting” appears to be identical to that of the moderates and liberals from the past – those that want the SBC to take a “leftward” turn theologically. It appears that they want to sew discord within the SBC and either “widen the tent” or burn it to the ground! I, for one, am fed up with the antics of these liberals and moderates – BTW, this includes those who refer to themselves as “conservatives” in a very “liberal” sort of way — within the SBC.
-Jeremy Green, Senior Pastor of Second Baptist Church, Waco TX

Admittedly both "disturbed and perturbed," Burleson proceeded to lash out at these Fundamentalist Bloggers.

I have chosen not to post in response to their comments because I refuse to dignify remarks like theirs with a comment on their respective blogs. I am absolutely ashamed that my brothers in Christ would stoop so low to call me a liberal.

I have sought to point out that when any of us call those men and women who have chosen to separate from the SBC names, we are acting like lost people without a Savior. Our Christian friends of OTHER denominations are not our enemy.The CBF is another denomination. Anyone affiliated with the CBF should be encouraged to support their denomination, not the SBC, and we should pray for them and love them. Nobody is asking the CBF to rejoin the SBC. For me to seek to be gracious to men like Dan Vestal, WITHOUT asking him back to the SBC — which neither he nor I WANT — is the Christian thing to do.

Furthermore, he who calls me a liberal in my view of the Word of God and the fundamentals of the faith is himself lying. All one has to do is listen to my sermons which are all exegetical, expositional and reverent of the text. I believe everyone of these men named above have sinned against me, my family and my ministry.

Later in the thread, Burleson states that he upset some folks in Virginia by visiting FBC Richmond while at a meeting of the SBC's International Mission Board. Apparently, these Virginians allege that FBC Richmond's pastor denies the virgin birth. Burleson continues...

For heaven’s sake. I went to the church to see their historic courtyard bell, the Pastor’s secretary gave my wife and me a tour of the church and we ran into the Pastor in the hallway.I do not know him. I do not know if he denies the virgin birth. Obviously, if he does, and since I don’t know he would be a theological liberal. I do know this. He was nice to me.I was nice to him. If I was nice to a liberal, so be it. I did not ask him any questions except about THE BELL. For heaven’s sake people, if we still have an environment where conservatives are called liberal when they are civil and Christian to liberals, then we are a long way from a convention that reflects Christ.

Wade Burleson's response to his Fundamentalist Detractors is commendable. Burleson could have joined in on the CBF-Bashing. Instead, he took the high road and offered his respect for Daniel Vestal and declared that Fellowship Baptists and other Christians are not the enemy! Well put, Mr. Burleson!

Moderate Baptists know all-too-well the tactics of Fundamentalists. It begins with being called a liberal. Of course as a liberal, you don't believe the Bible. Next comes the false virgin birth rumor. Moderate Baptists deny the virgin birth especially CBF-sympathetic pastors. Yep that's the rumor. Moderate Baptists have their own version of the Bible as well. The CBF Bible. I've heard that lie as well. Finally, we come to the "So-And-So denies the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ." Still today, Fundamentalists make the erroneous claim that Moderate Baptists deny the Resurrection. WHO? Name Names! Yet another unanswerable question...

As long as Wade Burleson remains kind and courteous to other Christians especially Moderate Baptists - the vicious rumors, lies, and accusations will not cease-and-desist but instead get worse.

So sad but oh, so true.

UPDATE: On this blog and the said discussion thread, Tim Rogers has denied that he explicitly or implicitly called Wade Burleson a "liberal." Rogers wrote "I do not know whether you are a liberal or not. I do not know where you have seen me say you are a liberal." In the same discussion thread, Burleson wrote "there are other very specific comments where you called me a liberal (remember Scott's blog with Don Hinkle?). No need to post them here." Nonetheless, this has become a He-Said He-Said situation. Please take these factors into consideration concering Mr. Rogers quote. In the case of Reynolds and Green (and others) - it is quite obvious that Burleson has and is being accused of being a liberal. Please see Burleson's latest post concerning these accusations.

Democrats To Curtail Abortions

Democrats Roll Out Plan to Curtail Abortions
According to descriptions from people who have seen the measure, the package also would provide grants for sex education with an "abstinence focus" but would require that the programs include complete instruction on contraceptives.

Abortion providers would be required to notify patients of procedure risks. In the past, abortion-rights groups have often fought such patient notification proposals because they considered the wording overly alarmist. But the abortion providers would fashion notifications with guidance from medical groups, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which does not oppose abortion rights.

There are also provisions for adoption tax credits, funding for nurses to make home visits for teenage and new mothers, funding for day-care programs and expanded funding for health care for low-income mothers and children.

Encouraging. But are Republicans willing to compromise on issues like sex education???

Darfur Revisted

Christians Worldwide Gear Up to Pray on Darfur Day

People around the world are preparing to pray for Darfur this weekend, remembering the more than 200,000 that have been killed in the genocide and seeking action to stop the violence. Darfur Collective prayers in churches and at official buildings, mass demonstrations, and meetings with legislators will mark the Global Day for Darfur in cities around the world on Sunday. In New York, a Save Darfur Rally - similar to the one in April that drew 50,000 people to Washington’s National Mall - will take place on Sunday at Central Park.

George Clooney: Troops or Death?

Actor George Clooney on Thursday told the U.N.'s most powerful body that if it did not send peacekeepers to Sudan's Darfur region millions of people would die in what he called the first genocide of the 21st century.

"After September 30 you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones," the actor warned. The mandate of African Union peacekeepers in the region expires at the end of the month and the Sudanese government has refused to approve their replacement by a U.N. force. "The United States has called it genocide," Clooney told council members. "For you it's called ethnic cleansing. But make no mistake -- it is the first genocide of the 21st century. And if it continues unchecked it will not be the last."

Clooney and his journalist father, Nick Clooney, spent five days in Darfur in April, gathering personal stories of the death and suffering that has ravaged the African region. Both Clooneys have continued working since their return to publicize the plight of refugees

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Mohler's 20% Theocracy Proposal

Bruce Gourley on Mohler's 20% Theocracy Proposal

Truly, good stuff. Check it out and other posts at the Mainstream Baptists Group Blog.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Forrest Pollock on Islam...

Two months after the 9/11 attacks, Reverend Franklin Graham (son of Billy) called Islam "a very evil and wicked religion" during a television interview with NBC. In his book entitled "The Name", Graham wrote that "The God of Islam is not the God of the Christian faith...the two are different as lightness and darkness."

The following year, the Reverend Jerry Vines, former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, proclaimed to an audience of several thousand that "Islam was founded by Muhammad, a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives - and his last one was a 9-year old girl. And I will tell you Allah is not Jehovah either. Jehovah's not going to turn you into a terrorist that'll try to bomb people and take the lives of thousands and thousands of people."

Today, EthicsDaily.com reported that in a sermon to students and faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Florida pastor Forrest Pollock described Islam as a religion of violence and urged unqualified support for Israel. Touted by some as a possible candidate for the SBC Presidency in 2007 or 2008, Pollock made headlines in June when he nominated Frank Page for President of the Southern Baptist Convention. And Pollock in his own words...

"A careful examination of the September 11 attacks reveals that 19 out of the 19 terrorists who flew the airplanes into the twin towers and into the Pentagon and attempted to blow up the White House were not quoting John 3:16. They were quoting the Quran," he said. "They were not a bunch of belligerent Baptists or mean-spirited Methodists."

"But some will say Osama bin Laden and his ilk are just a fringe, they're kooks," he continued. "Well, what does the Quran say? At the end of the day you've got to go to the holy book and see what it says. Surah 9:5 says, 'Fight and slay the pagans.' That is the infidels. That's you and me." "The Bible we preach from says love your enemies, do good to those who spitefully use you, and the Quran says kill Christians and Jews," Pollock said. "Now I ask you, is that a religion of peace, a religion of universal brotherhood and tolerance and inclusiveness?

It seems that the Rev. Pollock has become quite the expert on the Quran - must be all those Islam courses he took at Southwestern!

Mr. Pollock, not all Muslims are terrorists. Likewise, not all Christians are terrorists who bomb abortion clinics and murder doctors. Nor are all Christians racist bigots. You are guilty of selectively quoting verses which fit your agenda. Muslim Extremists do the same. It would be as terrible a mistake for you to see Osama as an authentic represenative of Islam as to consider James Kopp, the alleged murderer of an abortion provider in Buffalo, New York, a typical Christian or Baruch Goldstein, who shot 29 worshipers in the Hebron mosque in 1994, a true martyr of Israel.

I've known quite a few Muslims in my 23 years of life. Not one was a terrorist. Most were deeply committed men of faith. They said prayers, fasted, and read from their Holy Book daily. I witnessed these young men practicing a peaceful religion. They were absolutely horrified and frightened by the events of 9/11.

Mr. Pollock, I am amazed that the President of SWBTS, Paige Patterson, decided to allow the video of your chapel message to be posted online. However, only a week before, Patterson found the chapel message of African-American pastor Dwight McKessic unfit for public dissemination because he spoke positively about the missionary-forbidden "private prayer language." Patterson censors McKessic but not your Ann Coulter-ish babblin??

Nevertheless Mr. Pollock, your lies and rhetoric give Baptists a bad name.

I encourage you to attend a future Interfaith Prayer event - get out there and meet a few real-live Muslims for a change....

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Red and Blue God

"Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church: Eyewitness Accounts of How American Churches are Hijacking Jesus, Bagging the Beatitudes, and Worshipping the Almighty Dollar" -Becky Garrison

Hat Tip to Carlos at Jesus Politics for posting a link to this fascinating book.

A couple quotes from reviewers listed below:

"Somehow, somewhere the true spirit of Christianity has been co-opted by a political and economic movement. Somehow the true meaning of the cross has been sublimated by "straw man" rhetoric over guns, gays, and abortion. What the hell's going on here? Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church is funny, infuriating, angry, dogmatic, insightful, and very, very scary. A fascinating, compelling read."
—Ole Anthony, publisher, The Wittenburg Door, The World's Pretty Much Only Religious Humor and Satire Magazine

"Like Sarah giggling behind the tent flap (Genesis 18:12), Becky Garrison compels us to confront the pomposity and presumptuousness of our over-ripe piety and our egocentric claims to insights vested only in the Divine. Irreverence or prophetic irony? Read it and decide for yourself."
—Bill J. Leonard, dean and professor of church history, Wake Forest University Divinity School

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The Next Rwanda...

Lydia Polgreen's New York Times article entitled, Darfur Trembles as Peacekeepers' Exit Looms gives us a look at the fears the Sudanese are currently experiencing....

“What happened in Rwanda, it will happen here,” said Sheik Abdullah Muhammad Ali, who fled here from a nearby village seeking the safety that he hoped the presence of about 200 African Union peacekeepers would bring. But the Sudanese government has asked the African Union to quit Darfur rather than hand over its mission to the United Nations. “If these soldiers leave,” Sheik Ali said, “we will all be slaughtered.” “We beg the international community, somebody, come and save us,” Sheik Ali said. “We have no means to protect ourselves. The only thing we can do is run and hide in the mountains and caves. We will all die.”

Meanwhile, the secretary general of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, has warned that the Sudanese government would be "held colectively and individually responsible for what happens to the population in Darfur."

Annan is wrong. The Sudanese government can not be held solely responsble for what will happen in Darfur once the African Union troops leave.

The International Community must be held responsible.

Sudan must allow the 22,000 U.N. authorized troops and police officers to take over peacekeeping duties from the African Union or Action MUST be Taken!

The article concludes...

At the Rwanda camp, babies arrive, midwife or no. In a straw hut at the edge of the camp, Hasima Abakar sat with her month-old baby, a boy she named Hamid. The birth had been hard, and she lost a lot of blood. But she was more worried about Hamid — pus oozed from his navel. Radiant with fever, he squirmed and turned away from her breast. “I don’t know my future,” she said, her face blank as she gazed down at Hamid. “Only God knows.”

There are a number of things you can do to help stop the killing in Darfur and bring peace and security to the region:

Email President Bush Urging Him to End the Genocide
Sign A Petition Demanding A "New Sudan"
Make a Donation

Learn more about the ongoing Genocide in Darfur

Oppose Military Prayer Legislation!

Along with 14 other religious organizations, the Baptist Joint Committee has signed a statement encouraging opposition to a bill recently passed by the house which would "effectively empower chaplains to pray sectarian prayers at public ceremonies even if military personnel of all faiths are required to attend.

Please read the entire statement.

Friday, September 08, 2006

R.I.P. Erk

The state of Georgia was hit today (Friday) with some very sad news.

Erk Russell (aka Junkyard Dog) died in a car crash.

Erk Russell served under Vince Dooley as the University of Georgia's defensive coordinator from 1964 to 1980. Most will agree that Erk Russell was as good a defensive coordinator as college football has ever seen. After leaving UGA, Erk went on to lead the Division I-AA Georgia Southern Eagles to national titles in 1985, 1986, and 1989.

Erk Russell was a college football legend and he will be deeply missed...

If it walks like a duck....

At the new Faithful Democrats website, Randall Balmer has an excellent post which deserves your attention. Entitled "Theocracy", Balmer writes...

The thing I find most amusing about the leaders of the Religious Right these days is the way fly into an apoplectic fit anytime anyone mentions the word "theocracy."....
One has to wonder why a single word provokes such a dramatic response. Could it be that it strikes a nerve? Hmmm. The Religious Right passionately denies that it seeks a theocracy, of course, but my view of the matter is that it's appropriate to administer the duck test: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's almost certainly a duck.

The first step toward creating a theocracy is to eviscerate the First Amendment and to demolish the line of separation between church and state. And this, of course, brings our discussion full circle. If you seek to undermine the Baptist principles that have served this nation -- and the faith -- so well for more than two centuries, you begin by undermining the First Amendment.

Once you do that, you're well on your way to a theocracy.

Baptist College Embraces Christian Nationalism

Located in south Georgia, halfway between Macon and Savannah, Brewton-Parker College is Christian institution owned by the Executive Committee of the Georgia Baptist Convention and operated by a GBC elected Board of Trustees. Established as a 4-year college in 1986, Brewton-Parker's student body grew from 1,200 in 1983 to 2,230 in 1994. After ten years and a financial crisis, Brewton-Parker College boasted over 1100 students with an average SAT score of 905 among 182 first time freshmen. Over 50% or 625 of Brewton-Parker students are Baptist.

Despite the Takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, Brewton-Parker College refused to embrace fundamentalism and remained a moderate Baptist institution well into the 90's. However, Brewton-Parker took a turn towards the F word in 1998 when trustees elected by the GBC selected David Robert Smith, ironically a self-described moderate Texas Baptist, to serve as the school's 14th President.

Slowly but surely, David Smith began to infect Brewton-Parker with the incurable disease of fundamentalism. After moderate Shorter College split from the Georgia Baptist Convention in 2002, the GBC demanded that Brewton-Parker conform to their narrow fundamentalist agenda. In response to their demands, David Smith declared himself an inerrantist (for the first time) in his opening convocation address in the fall of 2002.

Four months later, David Smith stripped the moderate Chair of the Division of Religion and Philosophy Department of his title and committee positions. The following year, Smith refused to offer a contract to the lone moderate in the Brewton-Parker Religion Department.

The Takeover was finally complete.

Familiar story, just different characters, right?

After watching up-close and personal the Georgia Baptist Convention and Brewton-Parker's courtship, engagement, and marriage to Fundamentalism - I asked myself, what next??

Christian Nationalism was next. David Barton was next.

On April 28, 2003, David Barton addressed the graduating class of Brewton-Parker College upon David Smith's request.

David Barton is a Christian Nationalist.

Christian nationalists believe in a revisionist history, which holds that the founding fathers were devout evangelical Christians who never intended to create a secular republic. Christian Nationalists hold to the belief that America once was and should again become a Christian Nation. Separation of Church and State, according to Christian Nationalists, is a fraud "perpetuated by God-hating subversives."

The iconography of Christian Nationalism conflates the cross and the flag. It "claims supernatural sanction for its campaign of national renewal and speaks rapturously about vanquishing the millions of Americans who would stand in its way." (Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming)

A self-taught historian, David Barton is the premiere Christian Nationalist. For years, Barton has made a living attacking the principle of separation of Church and State, a principle that poses a serious barrier to the Christian Nationalist theocratic agenda.

David Barton also serves on the board of advisers of The Providence Foundation, a Christian Reconstructionist oriented organization, though he is not identified as a Reconstructionist by most.

Christian Reconstructionism is a political theology whose proponents argue that the United States should become a Christian theocracy under "Biblical Law." In addition to replacing the Constitution with the 10 Commandments, Reconstructionists seek to close the prisons, reinstitute slavery as a form of punishment and require capital punishment for the following offenses: apostasy, blasphemy, incorrigibility in children, murder, rape, Sabbath breaking, sodomy, and witchcraft. (Mainstream Baptist, Talk2Action)

Unfortunately, it appears that David Smith's Brewton-Parker College has moved from mainstream Christian Fundamentalism into the ultra-nutty world of Christian Nationalism!

If David Smith and the administration of Brewton-Parker College does not adhere to a Christian Nationalist ideology - why commend and cuddle up to Barton?

Also, does the Georgia Baptist Convention endorse Christian Nationalism? Based on my experiences, I have no doubt that they do...

Note: This is the first in a two-part series.

For a detailed debunking of David Barton's revisionist claims - please see Brent Walker's critique. Brent is the Executive-Director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Roger Moran: Quack or Prophet???

This past June at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, Roger Moran & Co. sponsored a resolution urging the SBC to endorse a mass exodus from the "godless" public school system.

It failed....again.

After three failed attempts to pass his resolution, I assumed anti-public school activist Roger Moran would disappear for the time being.

Through his work as Research Director of the Missiouri Baptist Laymen's Association, Roger Moran has dedicated nearly ten years of his life to smearing, demonizing, and attacking both the Baptist Joint Committee and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Fundamentalists love to play the game of Guilt-By-Assocation. Roger Moran has years of experience demonizing moderate Baptist leaders. His Guilt-By-Association tactics have been used to portray these leaders and organizations as supporting certain viewpoints simply because those individuals have at times served on boards or committees of other orgaizations alongside non-Baptists who support more progressive positions.

Moran's research is like one convoluted game of Six-Degrees of Separation starring Kevin Bacon. Moran has even accused these same Baptist leaders and organizations of endorsing pornography. How utterly absurd! As a courageous journalist recently stated: "The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack."

Roger Moran is not a prophet.

For years Roger Moran has proven that he can not stand those unlike himself. Roger Moran's God is the God portrayed in Jonathan Edwards "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." And the saddest thing is that Roger Moran is convinced he always knows who's in and who's out and who is right and who is wrong. Hopefully, Roger Moran will one day come to the realization that mercy, gracy, and humility makes the Gospel go a wee-bit further than the vitrolic judgment and hate that spews from his pen and mouth.

With that said, I was just a tad surprised to see Roger Moran's name plastered today on articles in USA Today, Boston Herald, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

USA Today's article entitled "Evangelicals intensify calls for parents to pull kids from public schools" asserts that a "growing, loosely organized movement is now moving from harsh words to action - with parents taking their own children out of public schools and exhorting other families to do the same."

And from Roger Moran....

"The courts say no creationism, no prayer in public schools," said Roger Moran, a Winfield, Mo., businessman and member of the Southern Baptist Convention executive committee. "Humanism and evolution can be taught, but everything I believe is disallowed."

The father of nine homeschooled children, Moran co-sponsored a resolution at the Southern Baptists' annual meeting in June that urged the denomination to endorse a public school pullout. It failed, as did a similar proposal before the conservative Presbyterian Church in America for members to shift their children into homeschooling or private Christian schools.

Still, the movement is very much alive, led by such groups as Exodus Mandate and the Alliance for Separation of School and State. One new campaign aims to monitor public schools for what conservatives see as pro-gay curriculum and programs; another initiative seeks to draw an additional 1 million children into homeschooling by encouraging parents already experienced at it to mentor families wanting to try it.

Other leaders of this "loosely organized movement" include Religious Right figures such as Dr. Al Mohler and the Rev. D. James Kennedy. In a recent commentary, Kennedy declared....

"The infusion of an atheistic, amoral, evolutionary, socialistic, one-world, anti-American system of education in our public schools has indeed become such that if it had been done by an enemy, it would be considered an act of war."

Moran, Kennedy, and Mohler are leading a campaign to cripple our education system. The charge that public schools are anti-American is ludicrous. Public schools are American democracy's greatest gift to children. Sure, public schools are not perfect. Reform is needed in many of our schools. However, now is not the time for Christians (especially Baptists) to abandon public schools. We must continue to support our public schools and the educators who teach our children. As citizens of these United States, this is our duty.

The demonization of our public schools as being "the enemies of God" must stop. Baptists such as Roger Moran must realize that public schools promote civic responsibility, a common bond in society and provide for equal opportunity for a good life. Moran and other Baptists must heed the Baptist Center for Ethics call to recommit (commit?) themselves to our nation's founding principle of "E Pluribus Unum" because a "society based on unity of diversity will embrace every child and recognize the vital role public schools play in achieving national unity.

Click HERE to read "A Baptist Pastoral Letter Supporting Public Education" signed by over 200 ministers.

Also, the Baptist Center for Ethics has a free, 20-page resource for advocacy and action on behalf of public education and a worship resource for congregations that deserves your attention.

Note: Roger Moran currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Oliver Stone slams Hollywood

At the Venice Film Festival, filmmaker Oliver Stone had harsh words for the US movie industry. Stone is accusing Hollywood of promoting war through movies such as Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

Stone said...

"Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down - these movies worshipped the machinery of war and I think America went back to the concept of war too easily. "I have reasons to be depressed as a Vietnam veteran, and I can say many Vietnam veterans are depressed about why we are in Iraq."

In contrast, he claims World Trade Center delivers a message of hope: "In the past I made very intense films, very powerful films about dark subjects. "I did Vietnam at a time when America was very prosperous and there was no war. "Now is a time to go the other way - that's my nature - and I want to be positive. "Things have gotten very dark and frankly there is more terror, there is more death, there is more war. The consequences of 9/11 are far worse than the day itself. "Somebody asked if it was too soon for this movie - I think in many ways it's too late. We have got to wake up."

The folks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue & the Pentagon need to Wake Up!

Whaddya say?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Rounding The Bases....

Yesterday, I received a wonderful book in the mail from the Editor of Mercer University Press, Marc Jolley, entitled "Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America" by Joseph L. Price. Without two good legs, I plan to spend my Labor Day weekend on the Lazy-Boy enjoying this fascinating new book.

Below is a description from Mercer University Press...

After identifying early conflicts between churches and baseball in the late-nineteenth century, Price examines the appropriation of baseball by the House of David, an early twentieth-century millennial Protestant community in southern Michigan. Turning then from historical intersections between baseball and religion, two chapters focus on the ways that baseball reflects religious myths. First, the omphalos myth about the origin and ordering of the world is reflected in the rituals and rules of the game. Then the myth of curses is explored in the culture of superstition that underlies the game.

At the heart of the book is a sustained argument about how baseball functions as an American civil religion, affirming and sanctifying American identity, especially during periods of national crises such as wars and terrorist attacks. Building on this analysis of baseball as an American civil religion, two chapters draw upon novels by W. P. Kinsella and David James Duncan to explore the sacramental potential of baseball and to align baseball with apocalyptic possibilities. The final chapter serves as a full confession, interpreting baseball affiliation stories as conversion narratives.

In various ways Rounding the Bases charts new territory in the literature about baseball and religion. Unlike previous works (such as The Faith of Fifty Million) that merely assert that baseball, as the national pastime, is an American civil religion, or others (such as And God Said, “Play Ball”) that draw parallels between the Bible and baseball, this book develops a sustained sociological argument for the conclusion that baseball is “a distinct denomination of American civil religion.”

Rummy, Part 2

The Washington Post has reported that congressional Democrats are planning to push for a vote of no confidence in Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld this month.

Democrats Target Rumsfeld

Good stuff. It's quite encouraging to see Dems on the offensive with November right around the corner....

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