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

Friday, April 27, 2007

SBC 2nd Vice President Supports Doctor Killer

Check out this EthicsDaily.com article on Wiley Drake, 2nd Vice President of the SBC.

The Southern Poverty Law Center criticized the Southern Baptist Convention for electing a second vice president last June whose name appears on a "Declaration of Support for James Kopp," a man convicted of killing a doctor because he provided abortions.

Already serving 25 years to life on a 2003 state murder conviction in New York, Kopp was convicted in January of violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by assassinating the physician as he talked with his wife and children in the family's kitchen. Kopp, 52, is also suspected in the shootings of four other abortion doctors in the U.S. and Canada. He faces a maximum prison term of life without parole when he is sentenced on the federal charges June 19.

Kopp, who was on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list before his capture in March 2001, has admitted to the shooting but claims he was only trying to wound the physician, and not kill him, to prevent him from performing abortions.

The declaration signed by Wiley Drake, elected last June as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, appears on the Army of God Web site.

The National Abortion Federation describes the Army of God as an "underground network of domestic terrorists who believe that the use of violence is appropriate and acceptable as a means to end abortion."

The Army of God Web site describes Paul Hill, a Presbyterian minister executed in 2003 for the 1994 killing of a doctor and bodyguard outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., as "an American hero."


Drake is identified as on the declaration as a pastor and broadcaster with Crusade Radio. A comment alongside his name says: "The price of blood is high. Some will pay high, and some will pay low, but pay, we all will for the 40 million babies we have killed. God bless you my brother as you serve Him, and His little ones."

The declaration bearing his name says: "We, the signers of this declaration, proclaim that we support and stand for righteousness in the defense of the unborn.... We will stand with our brother Jim Kopp. We will support him for his love of unborn children." It ends with a reference to "those who have made the ultimate sacrifice" in defending unborn children.

Take the time and do read the rest of the article. What else can be said?

Further, why did the Southern Baptist Convention elect this man that so many find to be a joke? Thus far, at least one or two SBCers at Baptistlife.com have called for Wiley Drake's resignation. Let's see if any more will...

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Top 10 GOP "King Makers"

Religion News Service released last week a list of the ten most influential "King Makers" who are shaping the race for the 2008 Republican nomination. The list includes prominent activists, grassroots organizers and outspoken religious leaders.

The RNS list includes:

· Broadcaster and psychologist James Dobson, whose Focus on the Family radio show attracts some 220 million listeners who tune in for his views on the merits – and failings – of various candidates.

· Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, who one observer said had "a network of home-schoolers that will do anything for him."

· Richard Land, the go-to political guru for the nation's 16 million Southern Baptists, who has been outspoken in declaring what is acceptable (Mormonism) and what is not (infidelity).

· Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, and a mother of four who set up a network of pastors and organizers in each of the state's 67 counties.

· Rod Parsley, pastor of the 14,000-member World Harvest Church in the battleground state of Ohio, who can use his network of pastors to help a candidate fine-tune his message to reach conservatives.

· Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the most powerful Christian lobbying group in Washington whose e-mail alerts reach 200,000 people each day.

· Steve Scheffler, head of the 4,000-member Iowa Christian Alliance, the most active – and credible – religious group in the Hawkeye State.

· Tamara Scott, Iowa leader of Concerned Women for America, who has talked with nearly every GOP candidate and is willing to back a candidate who's "truly conservative," even if he's a longshot.

· Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and national radio host, whose blessing on Mitt Romney's campaign was a huge stamp of approval for the Mormon candidate.

· Don Wildmon, chairman of the influential Arlington Group and head of the American Family Association, pontificates about politics and society on the 185 radio stations that his group owns across 36 states.

I find it quite interesting that old-timers like Falwell, Robertson, and Kennedy were left off the list. Perhaps Rick Scarborough deserves a place on the top-ten? It seems his influence is often underestimated...

What names would you add to this list?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Southern Baptist Leader Blames Virginia Tech Students

His name is Paige Patterson. He is the President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth. Patterson is also a former President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Here is what Patterson said (in a chapel sermon) regarding the Virginia Tech massacre and the possibility that such a mass killing could happen at Southwestern.

“Now if you’re a male student, will you just lift your hand for a moment so I can see you? Thank you for that commitment. God forbid that anything happen like this here, but each of you that just raised your hand said, ‘Never be more than two or three shots before I’m on him. Doesn’t matter how many of us he takes out. ‘ See, all you had to do was have six or eight rush him right at that time, and thirty-two people wouldn’t have died. Now folks, let’s make up our minds. I know we live in America where nobody gets involved in anybody else’s situation. That shall not be the rule here. Does everybody understand? You say, well I may be shot. Well, yeah, you may. Are you saved? You’re going to heaven. You know, it’s better than earth . . . Now one more time, how many male students are there? I’m counting on you.”

And the invaluable commentary from Rev. Ben Cole of Baptist Blog

Excuse me? Did he just say that Virginia Tech students are to blame for the deaths of all their fellow classmates because they didn’t “rush him?”

Interspersed with the president’s comments was laughter from the student body. I’m sorry, folks, but I just fail to comprehend how appealing to masculine bravado and insinuating that Virginia Tech students are wimps serves much of a pastoral purpose. Because that’s what happened. Students who were afraid, faculty members who blocked doors to protect their students and took bullets themselves, dozens of innocent dead all serve as a homespun lesson in the value of the Second Amendment at Southern Baptist seminaries. This is beyond bizarre. It’s beyond callous. It’s just plain freakish. I can’t imagine how parents of the victims are comforted knowing that a gunslinging seminary president is making sure that the next generation of Southern Baptist pastors will be much more courageous than their children were.

What pastor would ask men in his church to raise their hands and volunteer to tackle a gunman? I’m sorry if I fail to hear the tender mercies of Christ in this odd macho mix of guns and God. I apologize if I find other valuable topics of pastoral instruction from the Virginia Tech massacre. But perhaps I’m the only person who feels this way. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks a seminary that is teaching etiquette to women and tactical terrorist intervention to men has lost its focus.

Imagine if Jesus’ teaching followed this line of reasoning:

Luke 13:1-5: “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, ‘Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! They weren’t worse sinners, but they were pretty lousy men. Total wimps, those Galileans. I mean, c’mon fellas. If Pilate had tried that stuff around here, I’d have pulled out my .357 and sent him to Hell in God’s name.’”

Not much more to be said. An idiot and a fool - that's Paige Patterson in five words or less.

Southern Baptists should be embarassed. This is the man who supposedly saved "God's Last And Only Hope" for the world - the Southern Baptist Convention. You followed his lead as he gave a group of like-minded fundamentalists control of the world's largest Protestant denomination.

Pound your chest and hug it out, Paige.

Your words have embarassed many who proudly claim the name Baptist - including myself.

Shame on you.

UPDATE: Others covering Patterson's remarks...

Martin Tiller: Paige Patterson Insults VA Tech Men

The Wittenburg Blog: Tactical Terrorist Intervention 101

Rev Gil Gullick: Baptists Respond to VA Tech Tragedy

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Friday, April 13, 2007

The Reasonable Richard Land Visits Colbert Report

The guy actually sounds reasonable.

First, Land declares that America is not a Christian Nation.

But check out this exchange between Stephen Colbert and Richard Land:

Stephen Colbert: You said our country is not as divided as it appears in the media. What do you base that on?

Richard Land: Well, I'll give you an example. I was being interviewed for a national talk show and they said to me, "Dr. Land what do you think of Pope John Paul II",and I said, well I think he's one of the transcendent moral and historical figures of the 20th century. And they said, "well that's not quite what we're looking for."

Well, what are you looking for? And they said "well we're looking for someone who'll go on the air and say he's the head of a false religion." And I said, well you got the wrong guy. But they found someone who did. And so millions of Catholics got the idea that evangelicals have a different view of the Pope and their faith than they actually have. And it was that night that I decided to write this book. I said, I've had it.
Land's comment comes on the heels of an interesting discussion between fundamentalist bloggers who deemed the Roman Catholic Church to be a "cult." David Rogers, son of the late Adrian Rogers, was among this group.

Land's voice of reason on this subject is at odds with the loud voice of many Southern Baptist fundamentalists. Coupled with his support of the Bush immigration policy, his recent coalition work with liberal organizations and Senator Ted Kennedy, it seems Richard Land may be "ahead" of the Southern Baptist consensus.

Unfortunately, in the blogosphere we rarely (if ever) have the chance to read SBCers thoughts on Richard Land and his work with the ERLC. Do bloggers support Land and his endeavors? As much talk and bickering about how SWBTS and the SBC as a whole spends cooperative dollars, it's amazing that bloggers seem unconcerned about the millions and millions that have been poured into the work of Land's ERLC.

To Land's credit, at least he gives a rats rump about social issues.

Moderates support the Baptist Joint Committee. The BJC's Religious Liberty Council luncheon sells out each summer at the CBF's General Assembly.

But do Southern Baptists support their own Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as strongly as moderates support the BJC?

Maybe they do - but the ERLC definitely doesn't get much support (or opposition) from Southern Baptists in the blogosphere...

Enough Ramblings...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ted Kennedy and Richard Land Team Up Again!

For the second time in the past few weeks, Richard Land has found himself on the same side of the aisle as Senator Ted Kennedy.

Melissa Rogers has the story HERE...
"[On March 29, 2007,] Senators Kennedy, Graham, Salazar, and Menendez and Representatives Gutierrez and Flake joined leading conservative evangelical voices for comprehensive immigration reform. Dr. Richard Land, President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, President of the National Hispanic Leadership Conference, along with forty other Hispanic evangelicals, issued an “Evangelical Call to Action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”
There is even a video of Land and Kennedy via Faith in Public Life. Check it out.

Kudos to Dick Land. First he teams up with Kennedy, the "liberal" National Council of Churches, and the same-sex endorsing Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. Now, just a few weeks later Land is getting his picture taken with Ted Kennedy AGAIN!

Merely a decade or two ago, Roger Moran and other Southern Baptist fundamentalists were giving moderate ethics and religious liberty leaders hell for participating in coalitions with groups such as Americans United and People for the American Way. Let's not forget that these same leaders regularly were involved in coalitions with VERY conservative organizations as well.

Heck, just a few months ago 2nd Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention, Wiley Drake, was moaning and groaning because Rick Warren invited Barack Obama to speak at his AIDS Conference. I believe good ole Wiley dubbed Obama, "THE ENEMY."

I'm curious - are the Roger Morans of the Southern Baptist Convention slightly bothered that Richard Land is regularly partnering with that Massachusetts liberal Ted Kennedy?

Perhaps Southern Baptists have realized that working with liberals and their organizations to further a specific goal is not so bad after all....

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Bill Leonard's Message for Southern Baptists and Moderates

A recent article in the St. Louis Dispatch profiled troublemaking Missouri Baptist layman, Roger Moran. Recently, according to the article, Moran declared that the Missouri Baptist Convention is on the "brink of civil war."

In years past, Moran targeted true "moderate" Baptists with his guilt-by-association tactics. Now, he's after a so-called "new generation of moderates" within Southern Baptist life who are part of the Emerging Church Movement. Moran has described the emerging church as "one of the most dangerous and deceptive movements to infiltrate the ranks of Southern Baptist life."

Without a doubt, Moran has escalated his war against "moderates" or in this case, non-fundamentalists. However, what stuck out most about this article was a quote from Dr. Bill Leonard, the Dean of the Wake Forest University Divinity School....

"The Southern Baptist Convention is growing increasingly terrified that they've spent all this time recreating the denomination in this (conservative) image, and now nobody cares," he said. "Young seminarians are challenging them on issues and saying, 'Your vision of reality is not ours.'"
Let's be honest, Leonard's statement is completely true for Southern Baptist fundamentalists and partially true for moderates.

Like in Southern Baptist life, moderate leaders are greying. Nonetheless, the "old guard" in moderate Baptist life is genuinely reaching out to the younger generation. This is quite apparent when one attends worship services and break-out sessions as the annual CBF General Assembly. Last summer, a break-out session was even held on the Emergent Church.

But moderate leaders are undoubtedly concerned about the future of Baptist life. From my experience, many seminarians who attend schools partnered with the CBF are infected with the disease of apathy. These seminarians are apathetic towards the CBF structure. They don't really care that "blood" was shed in the SBC Controversy. Some are enamored with all things emergent but could care less about their Baptist Heritage.

And that my friends is unfortunate - very very very unfortunate.

Will the next generation of moderate leaders be authentically Baptist or just nominally Baptist?

Will we remember the contributions of James Dunn, Foy Valentine, and Cecil Sherman?

Or will our Baptist heroes be forgotten?

Leonard's quote is definitely relevant for moderates and fundamentalists alike....

HT: Wade Burleson: Fellow Southern Baptists Are Not The Enemy

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Dobson Admits Guilt, Changes Mind on Environment

This morning I received a special email from Bob Darden, editor of The Wittenburg Door. Included in the email was an extraordinary statement from Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family - check it out.

Colorado Springs, CO – Dear friends and supporters:

Since my ill-advised attack on my dear friend Dick Cizik a few days ago, I have had an extraordinary week of reflection and spiritual enlightenment. Through the counsel of godly men, such as the Rev. Dr. Jack Hayford, the Rev. Rick Warren, Richard Stearns (President, World Vision), David Neff (Editor, Christianity Today) and other members of The Evangelical Climate Initiative (www.Christiansandclimate.org), I’ve come to see that my assessment of Dick’s motives and, in fact, “global warming,” have been in error as well.

I have been guilty of a particularly pernicious form of short-sighted Dispensationalism, believing that since the earth has no future with the blessed Second Coming nigh, we, as Christians, have no responsibility to care for Creation.

Through loving testimony, instruction and careful study of the Bible with these and other mentors, I no longer believe that Dick is – as I said earlier, much to my regret -- guilty of a “relentless campaign” to save the planet at the expense of what I called more “serious” issues, such as same-sex marriage. I see now that I have strictly
exploited those issues and others like them to manipulate my audience and as a calculated and callous form of fund-raising.

As part of my penance for my unmerited attacks on a courageous, godly man, I have initiated contact with both the Rev. Jerry Falwell and Don Wildmon, with the earnest desire to convince them of the error of their ways as well. While both continue to condemn what they call “earthism worship,” I will continue to pray that this revelation will be made available to them as well.

As for the rest of my penance, I will devote the rest of my career – however long the Lord sees fit to continue in this capacity – to working with my Christian brothers and sisters to insure that all life on the planet, God’s first and greatest gift to us, is protected and cherished.

God bless you all,

Jim Dobson
Focus on the
Family8605 Explorer DriveColorado Springs, CO 809951-800-232-6459www.family.org

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