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

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Richard Land's Man Crush & The New Republic

Apparently, the folks at The New Republic are familiar with Sir Big Daddy Weave.

Michelle Cottle, senior editor of The New Republic has picked up a bit of my man-crush lingo in her latest post appropriately entitled Richard Land's Man Crush. Check it out:

While, as Chait points out, many social conservatives remain unconvinced of Fred Thompson's commitment to their cause, the Southern Baptist's Richard Land continues his tireless cheerleading for Big Daddy.

Even having talked to Land about Fred at some length a few months ago, I still don't understand this particular attraction. It's not as if Fred is the most conservative or the most religious or has the most irreproachable personal history of the GOP contenders.

My best guess is that Fred's appeal for Land is culture based--i.e., he is the only arguably top-tier Southerner in this race. Rich or poor, Southerners tend to be protective of our own, in part because we're sensitive to the fact that much of the rest of the country still looks down their noses at us as a bunch of racist, ass-backward, banjo-pickin' hicks.

Continue reading here.

For more on Richard - check out the blog by onemom (here and here) - a Southern Baptist who is ticked that Land has snubbed Mike Huckabee.

Onemom concludes:

What’s most important Mr. Land … money? Power? Or standing firm on our convictions - especially when there is a horse in this race that is a TRUE CONSERVATIVE, and not one who just came by those beliefs recently to achieve a political goal. You encourage Christians to vote their values in one breath, and then in the next you encourage us to make compromises in areas of conviction just to support candidates that you see as rich and powerful.

You have said that you think Mike Huckabee best represents the conservative Christian base, but that you won’t support him because you don’t think he can win. Well, Mr. Land - he can and will win, but it would be a whole lot easier if you followed your own instructions and voted your values. If you would pick up the banner for Mike Huckabee, the burden would be lighter.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Richard To The Rescue

Last week James Dobson caused a small ruckus after a "private e-mail" of his was exposed in which he lambasted Fred Thompson. Here's the e-mail:

“Isn’t Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a Constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S., favors McCain-Feingold, won’t talk at all about what he believes, and can’t speak his way out of a paper bag on the campaign trail?”

“He has no passion, no zeal, and no apparent ‘want to.’ And yet he is apparently the Great Hope that burns in the breasts of many conservative Christians? Well, not for me, my brothers. Not for me!”

For the sake of Southern Baptists (who all apparently love Freddie T), Richard Land has come to the rescue. In an interview with the David Brody, Land defended Freddy T against Dobson's "harsh and unwarranted" attack.
“I’ve received phone calls and emails from Southern Baptists about Senator Thompson. They are all furious at Doctor Dobson. They just feel that first of all there was a mischaracterizing of his positions. Do I wish that he supported the marriage protection amendment? Of course I do. To say that he is for 50 different views of marriage in 50 different states is a gross mischaracterization of his position. Secondly, do I wish that he attended church every Sunday? As a Baptist pastor, of course I do. But does that make him a person of unbelief? That’s harsh and unwarranted.”

“It’s (Thompson’s marriage amendment position) a problem. I think Southern Baptists have an ethical issue in which they need to deal. They may face a situation where they have a choice of three candidates. One they agree with 95% of the time, one they agree with 80 percent of the time and one they agree with 10% of the time. It may come to pass that they’re faced with a choice.”
Always great to see Richard Land out and about telling Southern Baptists to vote Republican and which Republican to vote for....

Finally, Brody concludes the interview by asking Land what about Thompson appeals to him and many other evangelicals. Here's where Richard's man-crush on Freddy T begins to show....
“Fred Thompson grew up in a very modest means in a small town in America just like Ronald Reagan grew up in very modest means in a small town in Illinois. You acquire not only an understanding of but a respect for everyday folk when you come from the background that you don’t get otherwise and people sense it. That this is a guy who respects me, a guy who understands that we are the backbone of this country, we are the salt of the Earth and he not only understands us, he’s one of us. He’s a successful one of us but he’s one of us and they trust a guy like that. They give a guy like that a larger margin of error. Nobody gets everything right but its core values. My assessment is that this guy is a whole much like Reagan including his Teflon quality. The press has been beating up with him for these types of gaffes and he continues to climb in the polls.”
It is incredibly rare that anyone on the Right dares to criticize James Dobson. According to Right Wing Watch, the last people to spar with Dobson ended up getting booted from the movement. We'll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

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Does God Want Women To Stay Home?

That's the title of an op-ed in yesterday's USA Today.

And of course the piece is about Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's homemaking degree. Check it out.

'It isn't logical'

Seen in a biblical light, Southwestern's homemaking program is consistent with the Southern Baptist Convention's social and theological conservatism. But seen in that same light, the program is fraught with contradiction. For one thing, if women's role as nurturer and housekeeper is written into the divinely ordained scheme of things, why should something so very natural need to be taught to them? Shouldn't these skills be innate? And mightn't they best be taught in the context of the home, not the classroom?

Claire St. Amant, a senior at Baylor — the world's largest Baptist university, in Waco, Texas — nicely put her finger on the problem in The BaylorLariat, the student newspaper: "It isn't logical for someone with a master's of divinity to teach you how to make a bundt cake. ... I'd say the same thing if Emeril started teaching classes on systematic theology."

More vexing still, Jesus himself had some rather harsh words for the New Testament's most prominent — and unhappiest — housewife. In Luke's Gospel, Martha is busy serving and cleaning up after dinner, while her sister Mary has joined the disciples to hear the teaching. When Martha complains, Jesus rebukes her: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her." Mary, in other words, has chosen the same path as Sheri Klouda did. Homemaking isn't everything it's cracked up to be. And it certainly isn't the only appropriate path for women.

This isn't to diminish the homemaker's importance — Martha gets to play a prominent role in the Gospel of John's story of the raising of Lazarus. And it must be noted that Southwestern's program is specifically geared toward "women whose heart and calling is the home." But surely the seminarians would be truer to women's biblical roots were they to recognize, as their savior did, that there is more than one career path open to women.

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Book 'Em Horns

Since 6 Longhorn football players have been arrested since June, I found this post a wee bit humorous....
The University of Texas at Austin has made it official that they are changing their cherished longhorn logo to get more up to date with the times. The reported new logo can be seen below. I see the change as welcomed and am pleased to see that the university is embracing its unique character and reputation.
HT: BearMeat


Thursday, September 20, 2007

Jena 6 - A Threat to Justice Everywhere!!!

What is Jena 6?

If you don't know - you better read up.

A snippet follows:
What white Southerners still fail to realize is their complicity in some of the most vicious and effective terrorism the world has ever seen. Lynchings were only the most visible and brutal embodiments of a system to terrorize the black minority. A noose is a symbol the way a swastika is a symbol. A noose hanging from a tree in that context is an almost unimaginably vicious act. Those white teens, instead of being ashamed of their terrorist ancestry, reveled in the evil. The adults who are charged with the education of all the students deemed it merely a prank.

The scariest part of this ordeal is that you know these boys are the relatively lucky ones for whom publicity might spare them. How many other black lives are still thrown away at the whim of our broken justice system?

It's amazing that in this day and age, a 16 year old black man could be tried as an adult on trumped up charged, convicted, and sentenced to 22 years in prison by an all-white jury. But honestly I'm not too surprised. This kinda thing happens far too often. Kanye definitely wasn't wrong. And John Edwards is dead right - there are Two Americas.My former boss and personal hero, Rep. John Lewis (a Baptist minister) released the following statement today:
"I salute the hundreds and thousands of students who will be coming from all around the country, but especially from the colleges and universities in the Atlanta area, who are moved to action in the Jena 6 case. It is important for the young people of this generation to stand up, to speak up, speak out, and move their feet when they witness a miscarriage of justice.
Black Baptists have stood up and are speaking out. Friendship-West Baptist Church of Dallas took a bus full of its members to Jena, Louisiana today for the protests. Dozens of other congregations Baptist and non-Baptist have followed suit. Baptist professor Mike Broadway has blogged about a Jena 6 rally held at the Baptist affiliated Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Yesterday, EthicsDaily.com told the story of an American Baptist pastor in Arlington, Texas who is credited with bringing international attention to this awful instance of racial injustice. On behalf of American Baptists, General Secretary Roy Medley has taken a stand for the Jena 6.

I do wonder whether we truly believe that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere?

If we really do - why hasn't Jena 6 caused more Baptists to stand up, to speak up, and move their feet at the sight of this blatant miscarriage of justice???

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Texas Baptist Delegation Headed to NBC Celebration

Last month, I blogged about Texas Baptist nay-sayers who aren't exactly thrilled with BGCT involvement in the New Baptist Covenant. You can read my take on that subject here.

In a follow-up post, I compiled a long list of Texas Baptists who are involved in the planning process of the New Baptist Covenant. Over 25% of those involved are Texas Baptists.

Quite impressive.

Anyhow, in the past month a new group of Texas Baptists has offered their support for the New Baptist Covenant.

The Texas Christian Life Commission through the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network will be leading a diverse delegation of young Texas Baptists to Atlanta for the January Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.

From the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network website:
How is TBYPN related to the New Baptist Covenant?

Within the Baptist framework of autonomy of both congregation and believer, the NBC Celebration will produce new partnerships and strategies among the North American Baptist Fellowship of the Baptist World Alliance.

The theme of the New Baptist Covenant Celebration is Unity in Christ, answering the call by Jesus to pursue both evangelism and ministry to “the least of these” in Luke 4:18-19.

TBYPN will support the New Baptist Covenant by taking a large, diverse delegation of young adults to the Celebration.

This opportunity will be provided to members of TBYPN at a reduced cost, in order to support such a unique event and to actively grow our faith.
It's great to see that more Texas Baptists are supportive of the mission of the New Baptist Covenant. By doing so, the Texas Christian Life Commission through the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network is following in the footsteps of James M. Dunn. Dr. Dunn faithfully served as Executive Director the Texas Christian Life Commission for twelve years from 1968-1980 before taking over at the Baptist Joint Committee.
His words from ten years ago apply to these Texas Baptists right nice....
"They understood that individual religious experience and the application of Christianity...go together. If either personal faith or social gospel is genuine, the other is implied. If personal faith fits the tests of social concern, it's phony. If the pursuit of social justice is not rooted in the conviction that it's God's work, it lacks staying power.
These Texas Baptists who support the New Baptist Covenant have a holistic faith. And that folks is the kind that moves mountains....

For more on the Texas CLC and the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network, click here.

Also check out the unofficial blog of the New Baptist Covenant.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

John McCain is a Baptist? An unbaptized Baptist?

Yes. John McCain is a Baptist.

From the Associated Press:
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who has long identified himself as an Episcopalian, said this weekend that he is a Baptist and has been for years.

Campaigning in this conservative, predominantly Baptist state, McCain called himself a Baptist when speaking to reporters Sunday and noted that he and his family have been members of the North Phoenix Baptist Church in his home state of Arizona for more than 15 years.

"It's well known because I'm an active member of the church," the Arizona senator said.
In the AP piece, McCain acknowledges that he has not been baptized.
In a June interview with McClatchy Newspapers, the senator said his wife and two of their children have been baptized in the Arizona Baptist church, but he had not. "I didn't find it necessary to do so for my spiritual needs," he said. He told McClatchy he found the Baptist church more fulfilling than the Episcopalian church, but still referred to himself as an Episcopalian.
McCain's church is North Phoenix Baptist Church located in Phoenix, Arizona. The 6,000 member North Phoenix is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and at the state level with the Arizona Southern Baptist Convention.

A few thoughts:

1. John McCain by his own admission has not been baptized.
2. John McCain says he's an "active member" of North Phoenix.
3. Baptism by immersion is a prerequisite for membership in Southern Baptist churches. The Baptist Faith & Message 2000 states that {baptism} "is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper."

So the question begs - is John McCain actually a member of a Baptist Church?

I don't think he is.

For more on John McCain's faith check out this article.

And a Baptist tidbit: The "theologically conservative" Richard Jackson was the former pastor of McCain's North Phoenix Baptist Church. In 1988, Jackson lost to Jerry Vines in a closely contested election for the Presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention. At the time, North Phoenix claimed over 18,000 members. Today, North Phoenix has 6,000.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Love Is In The Air.......Everywhere I Look Around

The John Leland Award

Love is in the air
In the rising of the sun
Love is in the air
When the day is nearly done

And I don't know if you're an illusion
Don't know if I see it true
But you're something that I must believe in
And you're there when I reach out for you

Love is in the air
Every sight and every sound
And I don't know if I'm being foolish
Don't know if I'm being wise

But it's something that I must believe in
And it's there when I look in your eyes

"A lot of conservatives, they've been sitting by the phone waiting for Sen. Thompson to call and they're ready to go on a date and see if it works" - Richard Land

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Reflections w/ James Dunn

This is the eighth post in my Recovering E.Y. Mullins and Saving Soul Freedom series. Past posts include: The Golden Hour to Save Soul Freedom, Recovering E.Y. Mullins - Part 5, Saving Soul Freedom w/ James Dunn, On Being An Authentic Baptist, Priests and Prophets, and the original Recovering E.Y. Mullins.

Today, we're bringing back an excerpt from James Dunn published almost 25 years ago in the October 1983 issue of Report From The Capital.
We as Baptists understand instinctively that unless one has the power to say "no" then his "yes" is meaningless. Unless one can refuse then her acceptance is hollow. We know this inwardly because that is the way God made us. We are programmed for freedom. We're wired up as persons with a choice. Unless our chooser is allowed to function we are less than the persons God made us to be.

The Bible teaching about sin takes into account this free moral agency which can be tainted, perverted and used wrongly. We cannot be forced in matters of the will. Being human means being free.

The biblical doctrine of salvation is indissolubly, inextricably tangled with the other great doctrines. That is why we as Baptists want no state-written, government-prescribed prayer in the public schools. We want no tax dollars for our churches or our schools. The best thing government can do for religion is to leave it alone.

Force, even minimal or subtle force, does not mix with freedom. Religious experience must be free to be genuine. Any religious decision that's not free is useless or worse. We come to Jesus Christ freely in love, drawn by His grace. We live the Christian life because-we-have-been-saved not in an in-order-to-be-saved morality. It's grace not Law, Christ not creed, persons not propositions that take precedence in the Christian life. We can't escape from freedom. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Richard Land's Lie

As a follow-up to last week's post entitled The Faith of Fred Thompson, I recommend that you check out the blog of Brian Kaylor and his post Land's Lie?

From Brian's blog in full:
In my Ethics Daily article last week on Fred Thompson's church attendance, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land claimed that Thompson "is attending church on a regular basis." Land's comment seemed like an exaggeration based on the comments in the article from the pastor of the Presbyterian church that Land said Thompson attended regularly. Now Thompson himself has spoken about his church attendance and his words very clearly contradict Land's claim. As Ethics Daily reports today, Thompson said that he does not attend church regularly.

So, Land said that Thompson attended regularly and Thompson says he does not. One would assume that Thompson would know if he attended regularly or not. The question then is why did Land claim otherwise. It could be that he was simply mistaken. However, he does know Thompson and it had not been previously reported that Thompson occasionally attended a Presbyterian church so Land must know Thompson well enough to know that. The other option, then, is that Land lied. He has been rooting for Thompson and may have thought that this claim would help Thompson. In fact, he told me as much right after saying that Thompson attended regularly. If he did intentionally exaggerate the level of Thompson's church attendance, then it should make Baptists wonder why Land is the head of an organization called "Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission."
Well said, Brian.

However, I have chosen not to put a question mark behind Land's Lie.

According to WordWeb (a great program indeed), "lie" is defined as a "statement that deviates from or perverts the truth."

Land's comment definitely deviated from the truth.

In an effort to put the E back in the ERLC, perhaps it's time for Richard Land to quit "selling candidates" and begin promoting the social concerns of the folks that pay his bills?


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Brent Walker Joins Newsweek's On Faith Panel

A little breaking news from the press room of the BJC.....
Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee, has been named a panelist for a joint project of The Washington Post and Newsweek magazine.

On Faith is an online conversation on religion and its implications led by Newsweek's managing editor, Jon Meacham, and author and journalist, Sally Quinn.

Meacham and Quinn said the site provides a forum for "sane and spirited talk, drawing on a remarkable panel of distinguished figures from the academy, the faith traditions, and journalism."

Walker joined the conversation today on the sixth anniversary of 9/11, in response to a question concerning religious extremists.

"Our goal should be the greatest amount of religious freedom and zero tolerance for violence in the name of religion," Walker said.

We in the Baptist Blogosphere are excited to have Brent represent all freedom-loving Baptists over at On Faith. Brent joins an impressive array of panelists such as Randall Balmer, James A. Forbes Jr., Welton Gaddy, Martin Marty, Gardner Taylor, Jim Wallis, Desmond Tutu, Rick Warren, and N.T. Wright.

So, check out Brent's inaugural post at On Faith. Also note the comments from Walter Shurden and Michael Westmoreland-White. Afterwards, check out the September issue of Report From The Capital, a publication of the Baptist Joint Committee. Brent has an excellent article entitled In Huckabee endorsement, {Wiley} Drake commits legal, political and theological wrongs.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

An Hour w/ Martin Luther King Jr.'s Niece

I'm a fan of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

As a Georgian, I grew up reading about the King family drama.

Talk about drama!

Well, one of the most interesting members of the King family is Dr. Alveda King. Alveda is the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Her father is the brother of Martin Luther King Jr., the late Albert Daniel Williams King (aka A.D. King). Alveda is the founder of King for America which assists "people in enriching their lives spiritually, personally, mentally and economically." According to her bio, Alveda is an author, actress, song writer and formerly served in the Georgia State House of Representatives.

Earlier today, I listened while Alveda addressed a small group of mostly students from Baylor's pro-life student organization - Bears For Life. Alveda King is most known for her pro-life activism. She had two abortions and considered having a third Somewhere along the way Alveda became a born-again Christian and got involved in the pro-life movement.

I had hoped to hear Alveda tell at least a few stories about her family and uncle. No such luck. Instead, I listened and watched while King showed a PowerPoint presentation entitled: Pro-Life is a Civil Right.

However, I did learn a little somethin during my lunch hour.

#1 - Planned Parenthood is the boogeyman. Blame it all on Planned Parenthood. Without Planned Parenthood, abortion would disappear. One member of the audience suggested that Planned Parenthood embraces a belief in eugenics. From where I was sitting, Alveda seemed to affirm this gentleman's assertion that Planned Parenthood is part of some "black genocide" conspiracy....

#2 - Guys and Girls should never be alone in a room together.

That's about all I learned.

However, I do find this piece of civil rights history quite interesting. Today, Alveda stated that her father (A.D. King) was assassinated just like her uncle, Dr. King. According to her website, A.D. King was "slain." Wikipedia disputes that A.D. King was murdered. Instead, several other sources state that A.D. King drowned in a pool accident. Any of my knowledgeable readers care to chime in?

On a side note, Alveda has endorsed Sam Brownback for President!

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Friday, September 07, 2007

3 Progressive Baptist Women Leery of Hillary Clinton

Well, that's not the exactly the title....

But check out this Associated Baptist Press article.

NEW YORK (ABP) -- Many Christian conservatives have put her in the “anyone but” category -- they’ll vote for anyone but Hillary Clinton. However, progressive Christians, who some think should be the senator's natural allies, aren't jumping on her bandwagon either.

While Clinton might win some evangelical support if she can portray her faith as authentic, say political observers, she simply must win support from progressive and liberal Christians to have a chance of gaining the White House.

Clinton's campaign is aggressively cultivating progressive Christians, who are enjoying some time back in the spotlight after years in the Religious Right's shadow. But so far, such Christians’ response to the New York senator has been tepid. Even some Baptist feminists are saying they have yet to warm up to her.

Baptist feminists are represented by the following three women:

1. Rachel Agee - a Union University alum who describes herself as just "a little bit feminist"

2. Emily Hunter McGowin - SBC Outpost contributor who has authored articles on feminism included in an Apologetics encyclopedia edited by Ergun Caner, President of Falwell's Liberty Theological Seminary. Also pro-life.

3. Becky Garrison - senior contributing editor to The Wittenburg Door

Are these the only so-called feminists that Associated Baptist Press could find?

The Baptist feminists that I know are more than "just a little bit feminist" and aren't scared of the word. Becky Garrison likely passes muster. But if the other's can't fully embrace the feminist label, should a news organization apply the feminist tag?

I must admit that I get confused when journalists use terms like "progressive" to refer to both a person's theology and their politics (without elaborating or making a distinction between the two). Surely, Baptist history has taught us that not all politically progressive Baptists are theologically progressive?

Are these women theologically progressive, politically progressive, or both?

Frankly, I ain't got the darnedest clue....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Faith of Fred Thompson???

Fellow Baptist blogger Brian Kaylor has a breaking news story today over at EthicsDaily.com. Brian has uncovered information about where (if???) Freddy T attends church.

Let's look at a snippet from Brian's piece:
Questions about Thompson's religious affiliation have dogged the former senator and star of "Law & Order" since Focus on the Family founder James Dobson remarked in March he was under the impression that Thompson is not a Christian.

The Thompson campaign shot back by saying Thompson was baptized into the Church of Christ as a boy in the 1950s. A bio on Thompson's exploratory Web site said he attended First Street Church of Christ while growing up in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., where he learned "the importance of family, hard work, faith and education."

A political science professor at a Church of Christ-affiliated university responded with a tongue-in-cheek "I Saw Fred Thompson at a Church of Christ" Challenge on a blog, observing the former senator "may not be filling out an attendance card at a Church of Christ on Sundays."
Brian reports that a Church of Christ newspaper investigating Freddy T's religious roots discovered that he had been spotted on "occasion" at Brentwood Church of Christ in Tennessee where his mother is a member.

So, the good folks at EthicsDaily.com picked up the phone and rang Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. As all of my avid readers know, Dick Land is a frequent subject of many of my posts. Over the past 9 months, Dick has been mentioned over 20 times. What can I say? We like Richard - perhaps more than Ben Cole and SBC Outpost like Paige Patterson.

Over the past two months, I have documented Richard Land's more than obvious man-crush on now Presidential candidate Freddy T here, here, and here.

In an interview with EthicsDaily.com, Richard Land who has described Freddy T as "Southern Fried Reagan" claimed that Thompson's wife is a "very regular attender" at Vienna Presbyterian Church in Vienna, Virginia. Vienna Presbyterian Church is affiliated with the mainline Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) denomination - a "pro choice" denomination that has rejected Christian Zionism and recently intiated a process of divestment from multinational corporations operating in Israel. Not exactly kosher in Christian Right circles....

Land added that Thompson "attends there with his wife and children when he's in town." "So, he is attending church on a regular basis," Land said. "I think that that information will help, perhaps, with all but some very-devout Church of Christ folks."

However, Peter James, pastor of Vienna Presbyterian Church told EthicsDaily.com that Freddy T "has attended" the church but that he has not had a conversation. Pastor Peter said Freddy T was at the church "on occasion" and "much less often" than his family.

This is quite interesting. Pastor Peter says Freddy T only visits VPC "on occasion." Yet, SBC political guru Dick Land asserts that Freddy T attends church on a "regular basis."

Which is it? Is Freddy T a Church of Christ guy or a mainline Presbyterian?

Or just more of a Bedside Baptist?

I recall another prominent conservative who is friendly with the Christian Right and has a poor track record regarding church attendance. Any guesses?

Ann Coulter.

Ann Coulter has said she is a Christian; she said she attends Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City - however Redeemer has no information that she has ever attended. Sounds alot like Freddy T. At least he's managed to roll out of the bed on Sunday AM's "on occasion."

Like Robert Parham said in the article, "Christian voters especially deserve straight-talk if Thompson is going to use God-talk in his campaign...If Thompson doesn't walk the talk, then he misuses faith for wrongful political ends and discloses a deep moral flaw."

Already, media personalities are misleading American's about Thompson's faith. Tonight, Chris Matthews of Hardball referred to Freddy T as a Southern Baptist not once but twice.

Let's hear from Freddy T not Richard Land about his religious roots and church activity.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Interview w/ BGCT Presidential Candidate David Lowrie

Rick Davis, a Texas Baptist pastor and blogger, has posted online a short interview with BGCT Presidential Candidate David Lowrie. I have mentioned Mr. Lowrie in a previous post.

This interview seems to be a result of a quote by Lowrie several weeks ago in which he promised to "stop the drift away from the SBC toward the CBF" as President of the BGCT. Continuing, Lowrie asserted that such a drift has "undermined our effectiveness" and Texas Baptists need to "get back to a more centrist position."

According to Rick Davis, Lowrie was quoted correctly and stands firmly behind his words.

Rick's questions are in bold, Lowrie's answers are in block quotes, and my response is after the interview.....

David, did you say you would try to stop the drift from the SBC to the CBF in BGCT life? If so, how would you do this? With personal influence, or through committee appointments, or through influencing hires at the staff level? Or how?
I would seek to stop the drift at the beginning by my personal influence. I would seek to build good working relationships with all our partners in global ministry. I would not seek to burn any bridges, but rather to restore them. I would also encourage that our committee appointment process would reflect the face of the BGCT. Since the majority of our churches give to the SBC, I think our committees should reflect this reality. I believe we need to affirm the SBC causes that we can support in good faith. On the staff level, I would encourage them to look for points of connection and cooperation with the SBC and its ministries. Where we can work together (i.e. Disaster Relief) let's work together. Where we cannot work together, then let's part ways but continue to work for Kingdom purposes on separate fronts. I love the BGCT and I love the SBC, and have since childhood. I realize I live in a new world, but I also know I am still part of the same Kingdom I have always served. The Kingdom of God is much bigger and broader than any of could ever imagine. I believe in a Big House and a Big Tent.
Will you speak forcefully about the ultra neo-fundamentalist drift in the SBC, which has left many of functionally without a home, as to national conventions?
I have attended as many SBC conventions as I could over the past twenty five years. Therefore I speak out of my own personal experiences and not what I have read. I will admit that I have had great difficulty with much of what has happened over the past twenty-five years. I did not always vote with the majority. I lost many votes, but my heart fo the Kingdom and the nations kept me involved. The face of Lottie Moon is much different today. I see her face in the young mssionaries around the world who are giving their lives for the sake of the gospel. I have heard that I am a closet fundamentalist, but I doubt the fundamentalists would claim based on my actions and my actions and my strong support of the BGCT and its openness. I have seen the ugly face of fundamentalism up close when my father was blackballed from a position with a SBC seminary. I fought it then and will fight it in the future if necessary. The important thing to remember is that we are still on the same team even when we don't agree. I believe that our strongest movements are built around relationships, not rules and regulations, so I would seek to build strong, healthy relationships with those in power and would seek to find ways we could work together on Kingdom terms.
In the first question, it appears that David Lowrie supports a Big Tent BGCT. However, Lowrie fails to affirm BGCT-CBF cooperation. From all I've read, Lowrie has not once affirmed such cooperation or spoken positively of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Why? On which SBC ministry can Lowrie NOT cooperate? And on which CBF endeavor will he cooperate? Are there in fact any?

At first glance, Lowrie's second answer sounds a wee-bit better. But honestly, it astounds me even more. Speaking from personal experience, if your pops was blackballed, why haven't you seen the LIGHT? My gosh. His trite ditty about supporting the missionaries is weak. Lottie Moon is not the only missions offering taken up by Baptists. The SBC isn't the only Baptist organization that sends out missionaries. Lowrie sees the face of Lottie Moon today in the faces of young missionaries around the world. Yet in the current SBC, Lottie likely would be turned down by the International Mission Board. Lottie liked to preach ya know. The Apostle Paul wouldn't qualify either - so I'm told. But anyways....

Back to Lowrie's first response.

All his talk about PARITY is UTTER NONSENSE. Pull a Baptist history text out of your bookcase. Look up PARITY in the index and you'll find a picture of PAIGE PATTERSON. 25 years ago on November 24, 1982, Patterson presented a paper in which he expressed his desire for "parity" or equal representation of inerrantists in denominational structures. Today, we know Paige Patterson & Company wanted CONTROL not PARITY. Now, Lowrie is singing the parity tune...

Same song. Different verse?

UPDATE: In the comment section of the aforementioned post of Rick Davis, Lowrie writes that "there is no question that the extremes of fundamentalism moved the SBC away from the center of who we are as Texas Baptists....Most of the challenges we face in this state have little to do with national convention politics (SBC or CBF)."

So, Lowrie acknowledges that the current fundamentalist-led SBC is not representative of "who we are as Texas Baptists." Yet, he wants to "stop the drift away from the SBC toward the CBF." And Lowrie wants "parity" and a return to a more "centrist position."

Does any of that make sense? If the BGCT's challenges have little or nothing to do with the SBC or CBF, why is Lowrie concerned about the so-called CBF drift? Seriously, is "centrist" West Texan for "ultra-conservative" ???

Lowrie concludes his comment with these words:
We have an elephant in the living room, but there may be more than one. The only way to release this herd and send them on their way is for us to start a conversation that leads to concert of effort for the sake of the Kingdom.
Folks that other elephant alluded to is a moderate Baptist......

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BCE Releases Golden Rule Politics DVD

Check out this new endeavor of the Baptist Center for Ethics....
With the official start of the 2008 presidential race on Labor Day weekend, the Baptist Center for Ethics today released an educational DVD challenging a prevailing myth that GOP stands for "God's Only Party."

"Golden Rule Politics: Reclaiming the Rightful Role of Faith in Politics" challenges a political myth constructed over 25 years by the Christian Right that the Republican Party is America's moral party and the party of God's favor. The 36-minute documentary--produced and directed by Baptist Center for Ethics Executive Director Robert Parham and EthicsDaily.com Culture Editor Cliff Vaughn--has an accompanying discussion guide for use in church, civic or home discussion groups.

Rooted in the theological conviction that God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat--and that neither party is thoroughly moral or completely immoral--the DVD explores the rightful role of faith in politics through interviews with clergy and politicians in Alabama, Missouri and Tennessee. It expands the moral agenda from the narrow list of issues prioritized by the Christian Right to the fuller expression of issues found in the Christian tradition, beginning with the biblical priority of doing justice.
Here's a clip from the DVD (an interview with William Buchanan, pastor of Fifteenth Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville)

For ordering information or if you want to watch more clips, click here.

Oh, and Big Daddy Weave endorses Golden Rule Politics!!!!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Richard Land & The Tyranny of the Majority

In the September/October issue of LIBERTY magazine, G. Edward Reid offers a thoughtful critique of Richard Land's The Divided States of America? What Liberals AND Conservatives are missing in the God-and-Country shouting match. LIBERTY magazine is a religious freedom outreach project sponsored by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Reid's fascinating review details Land's neo-majoritarian approach (i.e. majority rules) to church-state relations. As Reid notes, Land argues that America is a democracy and thus should establish moral values consistent with the majority of its citizens. For example....
Dr. Land uses this concept of legislating the moral values of the majority (p. 141) in several more places. For example, “To those who are advocating homosexual marriage, I say, if you think there ought to be same-sex marriage in the United States, then go out and convince a majority of the American people that is what should be done” (p. 160). “The winning team is the one that can put the most able-bodied players on the field with the best game plan for victory. Moral values can carry an election because they are important to the majority of the American people” (p. 162).....
{Land} cites several more similar examples; each time advocating the right of the majority to make the laws that affect everyone. The concern I have for this position is that, thank God, America is not a democracy. If it were, the rights of the minority to their own religious moral values would not be honored and could, in fact, be legislated against! The fact is, America is a constitutional republic. Its citizens are not governed by the majority of the people but by the rule of law. Constitutional Republics are a deliberate attempt to diminish the threat of mobocracy, thereby protecting dissenting individuals and minority groups from the tyranny of the majority by placing checks on the power of the majority of the population. The power of the majority of the people is checked in electing representatives who govern within the limits of overarching constitutional law, rather than the popular vote having legislative power itself.

I would recommend the book to those who are interested in religious liberty - with the caveat to watch out for the slippery slope of majority rule - even if it is motivated by moral values.
In other related news, Dick Land speaking on behalf of Faith United Against Tobacco has urged Congress to let the FDA regulate cigs and other tobacco products. So, kudos to Richard for backing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108 and S. 625).

As a side note, it's always great to see Southern Baptists like Richard Land willing to coalition with religious officials from the United Church of Christ, National Council of Churches, and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism.

It's too bad that just a decade ago the Southern Baptist Convention including Richard Land himself couldn't grasp the importance of working with organizations from across the theological spectrum for the purpose of preserving religious liberty.......

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