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

Monday, March 26, 2007

Does Richard Land Speak for Southern Baptists?

This is a must read article by Bob Allen of EthicsDaily.com

Over the weekend, Richard Land made an appearance on PBS' "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" where he stuck to the Bush Administration's Talking Points on the quagmire that is the Iraq War.

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics weighs in...
Richard has consistently misstated the rules of just war," Parham said. "Either he doesn't understand the rules or he misuses them because he is more politically loyal to President Bush than morally faithful to the biblical call for the prophetic voice."

"Having demanded a wedding ring from the Republican Party, Richard is now so wed to the president's failed war than he is a court priest for a pro-war denomination."
Heh, if Richard were to roll over, he'd crush our President....

I watch Richard Land on PBS. I watch Tony Snow brief the press on MSNBC. Both answer questions from journalists with the same talking points. For being such a loyal foot-soldier, Land deserves a White House salary. However, I suspect the SBC pays Land a greater salary than most advisors to the President earn.

One Baptist pastor has called for Land's resignation...
And to respond to Land's assertion that peace is an out-of-date idea, I call for his removal by Southern Baptists. Even though I no longer count myself a Southern Baptist, as a Baptist, I am horrified by his adamant support for war. I know faithful Christians within the SBC and they are not of the same ilk as Mr. Land. While many SBC messengers are more theologically conservative than me, I cannot understand how they can allow a fellow Baptist to continue his blind support of a policy that was built upon lies and deceit. When a person of ethics allows themselves to be persuaded by party loyalty over sound argumentation and the truth, then he or she must be forced out. In the words of Robert Parham, editor of Ethics Daily, with Mr. Land at the helm the SBC has become a "pro-war denomination".
I do wonder - how well does Richard Land represent the Southern Baptist Convention?

As the executive director of the ERLC, Richard Land should strive to represent the views of Southern Baptists. Does he?

HT: Mainstream Baptist

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

WWJD? A Wednesday Funny

A good friend of mine who is working on her Phd in Art & Religion at the Graduate Theological Union in Berekely, California sent me this birthday card...

So here is my Wednesday Funny...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Confederate Heritage Month - Proud To Be A Georgian

Yea right. It's terribly hard to be proud of a state that is seeking to establish April as Confederate History and Heritage Month...

A bill that would permanently establish April as Confederate History and Heritage Month in Georgia sailed through a Senate committee Thursday without any opposition.

Sen. Jeff Mullis (R-Chickamauga), the sponsor of Senate Bill 283, told the Senate Rules Committee that the proposal would help promote tourism in the state and preserve an important part of the state's and the nation's history.

"I'm not doing this for controversial reasons, but to commemorate a struggle that happened," said Mullis, whose North Georgia hometown was the site of a major Civil War battle in 1863.

The proposal has offended some civil rights leaders, who last week asked the Legislature and Gov. Sonny Perdue to offer a symbolic apology for the state's role in slavery.

The Rev. Francys Johnson, the NAACP's Southeast region director, said the organization is "vehemently opposed" to Mullis' bill and finds it hypocritical.

"At the same time that the proponents of this bill want to deny any responsibility for state sanctioned and sponsored slavery from 1755 to the end of the Civil War, they still feel the responsibility to honor the treasonous conduct of the Confederacy. It doesn't seem like you can have it both ways.

"You can't honor the past and not take responsibility for it."

Mullis said he has been working on the bill for several months — long before lawmakers and civil rights groups asked for the apology.

Rep. Al Williams (D-Midway) has said he plans to file a resolution on Monday that will call on the state to recognize slavery and work toward reconciliation.

The request for an apology, so far, has received a cool reception by the state's Republican leadership....

The purpose of Senate Bill 283?

Senate Bill 283, if approved by the Senate and the House, would encourage Georgians each April to honor the Confederacy, its history, soldiers and the people who "contributed to the cause of Southern Independence."

"The War Between the States was a tremendous part of Georgia history. That all needs to be remembered. We're not trying to eliminate anything else. We just want a fair share."

The bill also encourages the Georgia Civil War Commission to develop a curriculum to teach Georgia's Confederate history in elementary and high schools, as well as colleges and universities.

What Georgia public school alum didn't get an OVERDOSE of the Civil War? Even in my AP history classes, we never made it past World War I due to spending months on the Civil War.

Don't be fooled by the "Heritage not Hate" mantra touted by folks like Jeff Mullis. It's not about heritage. Nope, never was. It's about remembering the good ole days when southern society was segregated. Make no doubt about it, racism is alive and well in Georgia.

It may be great to be a Georgia Bulldawg - but its awfully embarrassing to be a Georgian right now.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Al Mohler's Plan To Cure Gay-Babies

Al Mohler's latest column has gained the attention of the Associated Press. Check it out...

NEW YORK — The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality.

Proof of a biological basis would challenge the belief of many conservative Christians that homosexuality — which they view as sinful — is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.

And this response from a reader of Andrew Sullivan...

It is interesting that Mohler first acknowledges that the development of tests for in-utero gayness and any subsequent "cures" for such a condition "would reshape the abortion and gay-rights debates in America," but then ignores this salient point by advocating for the potential "treatment" anyway. It seems clear that since one of the main intellectual legs of the Pro-Life movement is the personhood of fetuses, any attempt to alter a fetus' genetic makeup without its consent is wrong in the same way that they claim abortion is wrong. It's a moral conundrum for those Pro-Lifers who continue to view homosexuality as an "objective disorder."

I expect those who traditionally stand upon their values, such as the Catholic church hierarchy, to oppose this type of process, whereas the moralizing opportunists that are Christianist leaders would likely welcome this type of procedure with open arms, saying something along the lines of "it's not as bad as abortion and we prevent the birth of another fundamentally sinful person."

And from Andrew Sullivan himself...
The Catholic hierarchy is not as hostile to gay people as the Protestant Christianists. But it still seems extraordinary to me that a leading figure like Mohler can talk of genetically engineering fetuses to prevent homosexuality. Would he favor genetically altering fetuses to remove other genetic markers? Dark skin? Or the instinct for self-defense which could lead to murder? Or genetic markers for envy or greed? The Christian answer to sin, if that's what Mohler believes being gay is about, used to be the grace of God. It's instructive to watch a professed Christian go for eugenics instead.
Years ago, a very liberal Southern Baptist leader began to dabble in eugenics. His name was Walt Johnson and he was soon ostracized by liberals and fundamentalists alike in his home state of North Carolina. Of course advocating eugenics shortly after World War II was not cool.

But what's going on in that brain of Al Mohler? Whatever happened to faith and grace?

If your worst fear is having a gay son or a lesbian daughter, I guess some Christians are willing to do anything - absolutely anything to keep that "nightmare"ddd from coming to fruition.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Former Professor Sheri Klouda Sues SBC Seminary

The Dallas Morning News has reported that Dr. Sheri Klouda has filed suit in federal court against Paige Patterson and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Alleging that she lost her job in the School of Theology because of her gender, Klouda accuses Patterson and SWBTS of breach of contract, fraud, and defamation. Klouda has requested unspecified damages for the loss of pay, loss of reputation, emotional distress, disruption of life, and mental anguish that she suffered.

You can read the official complaint HERE.

Klouda's lead attorney is Gary Richardson of Oklahoma. It is worth noting that Gary Richardson is a personal friend and counsel to IMB Trustee Wade Burleson.

Indeed, this will be an interesting story to follow....

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Faith of John Edwards

Last week, Sen. John Edwards was slurred by the bad-mannered vixen, Ann Coulter.

This week Sen. Edwards sat down for an interview with Faith-Based whistle-blower, David Kuo.

The topic of discussion? The Religious Faith of John Edwards.

A few of the Senator's responses below...
What parts of American life do you think would most outrage Jesus?

Our selfishness. Our resort to war when it's not necessary. I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually.

You've had a lot of experience with suffering. Part of your career has been representing people who we see as suffering. You've also had what you called "world stopping pain" and suffering in your own life. What has that suffering taught you?

It's been part of my own personal faith journey. Because I've done what I think a lot of Americans have done, which [is]: I was raised in a very Christian home and a Southern Baptist church, and baptized in the Southern Baptist church. My dad has been a deacon in the Southern Baptist church for many years. In fact, we went back to my church a few weeks ago and he was getting the Lay Person of the Year Award, which we were all very proud of him for.

But when I went away to college, I drifted away from my faith. Even after Elizabeth and I got married, I had drifted away. It isn't that we didn't exercise faith. We would go to church, but it was not the sort of dominant day-to-day living faith that it is for me today. And in 1996, on a day I'll never forget, my 16 year old son died. And the days after that, when I was trying to survive and Elizabeth's trying to survive, my faith came roaring back and has stayed with me since that time, and helped me deal with the personal challenges we've had. Not only the death of my son, but some of the politics and the difficulty of that on our family. Elizabeth's breast cancer. All the things that we've seen, which is not that unusual for families.

In 2004, John Kerry said that he wouldn't let his faith affect his decision making. Does it affect yours?

Yes, it does. I do believe in the separation of church and state. But I don't think separation of church and state means you have to be free from your faith. My faith informs everything I think and do. It's part of my value system. And to suggest that I can somehow separate and divorce that from the rest of me is not possible. I would not, under any circumstances, try to impose my personal faith and belief on the rest of the country. I don't think that's right. I don't think that's appropriate. But freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom from religion. And I think that anything we can do to promote the idea that people should express their faith is a good thing.

What are the biggest moral issues facing America today?

There are several. One is here within our own borders. The fact that we have 37 million people who live every day worrying about taking care of themselves and their family, living in poverty, I think is a huge moral issue.

I would say the same thing about the 47 million people who don't have health care coverage. I think those are the big moral issues here within our borders.

But I think there are big moral issues in other parts of the world, too. Global poverty, half the planet living on $2 or less a day. Three billion people.

I think this genocide that's going on in Western Sudan, Darfur, is a huge moral issue. Us continuing to allow kids to be born in Africa with AIDS because their mothers can't afford $4 medicine is a big moral issue.

While the media has been obsessing over Hillary and Obama, John Edwards has been lost in the shuffle. No doubt, Edwards comes across as a sincere and compassionate Christian who is genuinely concerned about the little guy.

Unlike Hillary, John Edwards doesn't seem to need two dozen advisors and pollsters to micromanage every word he utters. He's comfortable in his own skin and apparently quite capable of articulating his own personal statement of faith.

I hope mainstream news outlets will begin to take seriously Edwards candidacy.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Ann Coulter Calls John Edwards a 'Faggot'


At the biggest conservative event of the year, Coulter had this to say about the former Senator from North Carolina...
I would comment on John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot.' (Video)

To no surprise, Coulter's invective was followed by an enthusiastic round of applause from the upstanding attendees, Christians included.

In response to Coulter latest antic, Glenn Greenwald of Salon wrote...

But the single most prestigious political event for conservatives of the year is a place where conservatives go to hear Democrats called faggots, Arabs called ragheads, and Supreme Court justices labeled as deserving of murder -- not by anonymous, unidentifiable blog commenters, but by one of their most popular featured speakers.

And after she does that, she is cheered wildly by an adoring conservative movement that has made her bigoted and hate-mongering screeds best-sellers...

Andrew Sullivan, a conservative blogger for The Atlantic, had this to say about Coulter's speech:

When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young. The standing ovation for Romney was nothing like the eruption of enthusiasm that greeted her. . . .

Her endorsement of Romney today - "probably the best candidate" - is a big deal, it seems to me. McCain is a non-starter. He is as loathed as Clinton in these parts. Giuliani is, in her words, "very, very liberal." One of his sins? He opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That's the new standard. She is the new Republicanism. The sooner people recognize this, the better.

Is Ann Coulter the new Republicanism? Greenwald concurs...
She is the face of what the hard-core Republican Party has become, particularly during the Bush presidency. That is why she holds the position she holds in that movement. That's why Mitt Romney was giddy with glee when her name passed his lips. He knows that her endorsement is valuable precisely because she holds great sway within the party, and she holds great sway because the hard-core party faithful consider her a hero for expressing the thoughts which they themselves believe but which other, less courageous Republican figures are afraid to express.

This is not about a single comment or isolated remark. The more Ann Coulter says these things, the more popular she becomes in this movement. What this is about is that she reflects exactly what sort of political movement this is. She reflects its true impulses and core beliefs. If that were not the case, why would she continue to receive top billing at their most prestigious events, and why would she continue to be lavished with rock star-adoration by the party faithful?

The words that flow from Coulter's starved lips are reprehensible and patently offensive.

But what's worse is that Coulter is venerated by thousands and thousands of young Republican activists many of whom claim to follow Jesus.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Richard Land and Ted Kennedy Team Up

No, it's not April Fools.

Check out this clip from the beloved Baptist Press...
WASHINGTON (BP)--United States senators and witnesses debated the best way for the federal government to regulate tobacco products in a spirited congressional hearing Feb. 27.

Southern Baptist ethics specialist Richard Land and four other witnesses testified in support of a bill to grant authority to the Food and Drug Administration over the manufacture, promotion and sale of such products as cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Some Republican senators and a sole witness, however, challenged that approach, questioning whether the FDA is the right agency to charge with full responsibility over products that result in the deaths of more than 400,000 Americans a year.
The bill's is sponsor is Senator Ted Kennedy who also serves as chairman of the committee holding the hearing. Land testified on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco - a coalition whose members include the Seventh-day Adventists, American Baptist Churches USA, National Council of Churches, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Islamic Society of North America, and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

I suspect Roger Moran could have a field day with this info. Kudos to Richard Land for crossing the political and theological aisle to protect society against tobacco.

During his testimony, Land cited the numerous anti-tobacco resolutions approved by the Southern Baptist Convention since 1920. The last anti-tobacco resolution was passed in 1984. Since 1984, the SBC has passed 6 resolutions regarding alcohol. Perhaps it's time again for the SBC to reemphasize its anti-tobacco stance.

After all, a glass of wine here and there won't give you cancer. But that nicotine addiction will...

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