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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Soul Freedom and the New Baptist Covenant

The November/December issue of the Baptist Joint Committee's Report from the Capital came out today.

In this exciting issue, your truly provides the Guest View. Last month, Dr. Jimmy Allen penned the first part in a three-part series on the New Baptist Covenant. My article is part 2 of this series and is entitled Soul Freedom and the New Baptist Covenant. So, check it out.

Here's a snippet:
Just 100 years ago, Baptist minister Walter Rauschenbusch, the father of the Social Gospel Movement, penned a series of five brief articles titled "Why I Am A Baptist." Rauschenbusch wrote: "We may be Baptists by birth, but we must become Baptists by conviction. ...I began by being a Baptist because my father was, but today I am a Baptist, because, with my convictions, I could not well be anything else."

Like Rauschenbusch, I too am the son of a Baptist minister. And like Rauschenbusch, I was also "born" a Baptist. But even after experiencing the coercion and forced conformity of fundamentalism firsthand, I remain a Baptist because of my convictions. At the heart of those convictiosn is what prominent early 20th century Baptists, E.Y. Mullins and G.W. Truett, referred to as "soul competency," and James Dunn dubbed "soul freedom." Walter Shurden has stated that soul freedom is the "stackpole around which Baptist convictions develop." In the words of Rauschenbusch himself, "The Christian faith, as Baptists hold it, sets spiritual experience boldly to the front as the one great thing in religion." Indeed, if there is one tie that binds us Baptists together, it is our belief that each person has the freedom, ability, and responsibility to respond to God directly without a human mediator. No priest. No bishop. No magisterium. And definitely no spiritual masters....

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New Baptist Blogs

Here are a few relatively new blogs that are out there in the Baptist Blogosphere.

Check 'em out.

We Are Texas Baptists (texasbaptists.wordpress.com)
-This is a blog run by folks at the BGCT. Outgoing Executive-Director Charles Wade has also been contributing to this blog lately. A pretty decent blog that has sparked some great conversations.

Baptist Young Professionals
-This blog is a project of the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network. Contributors include Young Baptists from inside and outside of Texas. Though I've yet to post anything - yours truly is listed as a contributor.

David Lowrie (loveandlead.wordpress.com)
-This is the blog of recent BGCT Presidential candidate and pastor of FBC Canyon, Texas, David Lowrie.

-This is the best Baptist site that you've never visited. Nathan White - a student at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond - has created a useful resource loaded with links and a comprehensive blog aggregator. Nathan's blog aggregator includes 70 non-SBC Baptist Bloggers, some who post every day and some who rarely post. You may have seen a link to moderateBaptists.com over at the Baptists Today website. Be sure to stop by and check it out.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Mike Huckabee - The Republican Howard Dean?

Rolling Stone has a lengthy piece on Mike Huckabee, his faith and his economic populism. Written by Matt Taibbi who clearly has little use for conservative Christianity (or religion period), this article offers a nice glimpse into Huck's populism and how he mixes his religion and politics. If you're offending by a few choice words - don't follow the link. It is from Rolling Stone magazine after all. Some snippets below:
Mike Huckabee, the latest it girl of the Republican presidential race, tells a hell of a story. Let your guard down anywhere near the former Arkansas governor and he'll pod you, Body Snatchers-style -- you'll wake up drooling, your brain gone, riding a back seat on the bandwagon that suddenly has him charging toward the lead in the GOP race....

Ever since Huckabee turned in a dominating performance at a summit of Christian voters in Washington a few weeks ago, he has been riding a surge among likely Iowa voters (he's now second to Mitt Romney, and gaining). The media, like me, have been charmed by their initial impression: "It's hard not to like Mike Huckabee," gushed Newsweek. Even The Nation said he has "real charm."

But all the attention on his salesmanship skills obscures the real significance of his rise within the Republican Party. Mike Huckabee represents something that is either tremendously encouraging or deeply disturbing, depending on your point of view: a marriage of Christian fundamentalism with economic populism. Rather than employing the patented Bush-Rove tactic of using abortion and gay rights to hoodwink low-income Christians into supporting patrician, pro-corporate policies, Huckabee is a bigger-government Republican who emphasizes prison reform and poverty relief. In the world of GOP politics, he represents something entirely new -- a cross between John Edwards and Jerry Falwell, an ordained Southern Baptist preacher who actually seems to give a {hoot} about the working poor....

What the press doesn't understand is that Huckabee has changed the equation of party-specific orthodoxies. A generation of GOP candidates have used the poor as a whipping-post stage prop, complaining about lazy, homeless fiends living in cars, {lowering} the property values of Decent Folk. Huck turns that rhetoric around by saying, "We shouldn't allow a child to live under a bridge or in the back seat of a car." It's a brilliant innovation for a candidate like Huckabee, who recognizes that the only thing he has to lose by talking about poverty and high CEO salaries is the support of the big-money wing of his party -- something he doesn't have anyway.

Choosing that strategy also allows Huckabee to do what no evangelical since Jimmy Carter has, which is talk about his faith in terms of sympathy for the underprivileged. "You can't just say 'respect life' exclusively in the gestation period," he says. Huckabee also edges openly into class politics, criticizing his own party for harping on the supposed success of the overall economy. "The reality is, there are many families that really are working as hard or harder than they've ever worked in their lives, and they're not seeing that pay off," he says.

This God stuff isn't just talk with Huck. One of his first acts as governor was to block Medicaid from funding an abortion for a mentally retarded teenager who had been raped by her stepfather -- an act in direct violation of federal law, which requires states to pay for abortions in cases of rape. "The state didn't fund a single such abortion while Huckabee was governor," says Dr. William Harrison of the Fayetteville Women's Clinic. "Zero."

As president, Huck would support a constitutional amendment banning abortion and would give science a back seat to religion. "Science changes with every generation and with new discoveries, and God doesn't," he says. "So I'll stick with God if the two are in conflict." Huckabee's well-documented disdain for science was reflected in the performance of the Arkansas school system when he was governor; one independent survey gave the state an F for its science standards in schools, a grade that among other things reflected Huckabee's hostility toward the teaching of evolution.

Huckabee at most times is gentle and self-deprecating in his public address, but when he talks about religion, he gets weirdly combative and obnoxious, often drifting into outright offensiveness. At one appearance, Huckabee -- who's been known to make fart jokes in front of the state legislature -- said he would oppose gay marriage "until Moses comes down with two stone tablets from Brokeback Mountain saying he's changed the rules." And he recently scored a rare offend trifecta, simultaneously pissing off immigrants, Jews and the pro-choice crowd when he ludicrously claimed that a "holocaust" of abortions had artificially created a demand for Mexican labor....

When Huckabee talks like this, he sounds like what he is -- the Howard Dean of the Republican Party, an insurgent candidate who shot toward the top by appealing to a disaffected base. But Dean, who ended up stumbling out of Iowa learned the hard way that populist campaigns have a way of imploding under the glare of the modern campaign process. Which means: Charm only goes so far if you're full-bore nuts. Huckabee may be able to get away with saying he's not a primate, but he'd better not scream it.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Differences, Defamation, Grace & The Blogosphere

Marv Knox, editor of the Texas Baptist Standard, has an interesting op-ed entitled Differences, Defamation & Grace. Check out a snippet below:

A thoughtful reader recently sent me a letter lamenting the landslide of personal attacks and the torrent of abusive language that characterize Baptist life these days. He specifically cited the tone of several blogs. But he also could have pointed to many church business meetings, e-mail and telephone gossip about individuals and events in the Baptist General Convention of Texas, occasional pronouncements by outsiders about our convention, and far too many Baptist dinnertables where “roast preacher” is served up as if it were a local delicacy.

The problem, friends, is a growing inability to disagree agreeably. People no longer seem to understand they can disagree with each other without being angry at each other. They stumble over the concept of honest disagreement expressed in a spirit of goodwill.
A new blog by the name Baptist Young Professionals (a project of the Texas Baptist Young Professional Network) has posted a few thoughts on this same subject of Differences, Defamation, and Grace in the blogosphere.

We Are Texas Baptists also has a few words to say about the hate and vitriol spewed by certain blogger(s).

Despite the positive response to Knox's recent editorial, one blogger has vowed to continue the unfettered flow of vitriol towards other Baptists.

It's absolutely amazing that a person ordained to preach the Gospel would publicly make such a declaration. But when the declaration comes from a preacher with a penchant for slander, we shouldn't be surprised - just sad. And sad that there are other ministers who seemingly stand steadfastly behind such unChristian behavior.


A Thanksgiving Dose of Intolerance - The Baptist Way

Check it out:

AUSTIN — Organizers of an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration scrambled to find a new location after an evangelical Baptist megachurch objected to Muslims worshipping on its property.

Hyde Park Baptist Church notified Austin Area Interreligious Ministries last week that it wouldn't allow the event scheduled for today at Hyde Park's sports complex.

The Thanksgiving event is in its 23rd year and invites Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Bahais and others to worship together. Austin's largest synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel, has offered to host the celebration, organizers said.

Now, that's classy.

What part of INTERFAITH was not clear to Hyde Park Baptist?

According to the article, Hyde Park's gymnasium was booked by organizers of Interreligious Organizers back in July and the interfaith aspect was always clear. After all, the interfaith event is in its 23rd year....

Kent Jennings, an associate pastor at Hyde Park, released the following statement:
"Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property. Hyde Park hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church's beliefs that have resulted in this decision."
Tolerance for their intolerance. Sad.

And from the often irreverent John Kelso of the Austin American-Statesman....
But last week, Hyde Park Baptist told the group they couldn't use the Quarries, mostly because of the Muslims. So the prayer gathering took place Sunday at Temple Beth Israel instead. You had Jews and Muslims in the same place and no barbed wire. So in a sense, the Baptists performed a miracle.

Why did Hyde Park Baptist decide to give the mixed prayer group the old heave-ho? Simple. They don't want non-Christian stuff going on on their land. I didn't realize telling people to get lost was Christian, but you learn something every day....So they're pleading for tolerance while being intolerant. In these situations, people often ask the question I mentioned earlier, "What would Jesus do?" If Jesus ran the Quarries, I don't think he'd charge rent. I also don't think he'd turn anyone away. And, from what little I've read of the Bible, he'd probably provide free grub, although probably seafood.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Georgia Drought - Will Atlanta Go Dry?

Last week, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue held an hour-long prayer vigil at the state Capitol, asking God's help in relieving extreme drought conditions that threaten Atlanta's drinking-water.

The Georgia Baptist Convention declared November 4th a day of prayer for rain.

Back in September the Georgia environmental protection director declared Level Four drought restrictions in 61 northern countries, including metro-Atlanta.

According to many sources, Atlanta (where rainfall totals are more than 16 inches below normal) is likely to run out of water in less than 90 days.

And now check out this op-ed from TomDispatch.com (HT: Bruce Prescott):
If the southeastern drought is already off the charts in Georgia, then, whether it's 80 days or 800 days, isn't there a possibility that Atlanta may one day in the not-so-distant future be without water? And what then?

Okay, they're trucking water into waterless Orme, Tennessee, but the town's mayor, Tony Reames, put the matter well, worrying about Atlanta. "We can survive. We're 145 people but you've got 4.5 million there. What are they going to do?"

What indeed? Has water ever been trucked in to so many people before? And what about industry including, in the case of Atlanta, Coca Cola, which is, after all, a business based on water? What about restaurants that need to wash their plates or doctors in hospitals who need to wash their hands?

Let's face it, with water, you're down to the basics. And if, as some say, we've passed the point not of "peak oil," but of "peak water" (and cheap water) on significant parts of the planet… well, what then?
This weekend I made the trek from Waco to Athens by way of DFW to ATL. My Dawgs took care of business and defeated the Kentucky Wildcats. But while on campus, I noticed signs EVERYWHERE asking students to conserve water. Shops, restaurants, bars, and almost every public facility had green CONSERVE WATER signs posted.

And above every toilet at Sanford Stadium signs were posted that read DO NOT FLUSH.

A tad disgusting by the second half indeed!

Large parts of Georgia and especially Atlanta are clearly in bad bad shape.

We should pray for Georgia leaders like Sonny Perdue to quickly find a solution to this frightening problem.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Broadway Baptist Church Directory Controversy

An interesting story coming out of Fort Worth concerning Broadway Baptist Church (BBC is the former home of Stephen Shoemaker of Myers Park in Charlotte):

Gay couples trigger debate at church

FORT WORTH -- A new pictorial directory was supposed to be part of Broadway Baptist Church's 125th birthday celebration.

Established in 1882 near the infamous Hell's Half Acre, where gamblers and prostitutes once thrived, the church wanted to sing the praises of its missions and its members by publishing a book that included information about its programs and a directory featuring yearbook-style photographs of its members and families.

But since three gay couples asked to have their pictures included, Broadway Baptist has been involved in an increasingly divisive struggle over whether allowing the portraits to appear would be an endorsement of homosexuality by the congregation.

"Baptists are not quiet people. We're dealing with a difficult issue on which we have different opinions that we're not afraid to share," said the Rev. Brett Younger, the church's pastor. "We disagree, but we do so respectfully."

The church will vote in December on a proposal to allow gay members to appear in individual photos, but not as couples. The directory is scheduled to be distributed next year.

Church members have been reluctant to talk about the dispute. Seen as a moderate church within the Baptist denomination, Broadway has about 1,500 members, with about 600 attending Sunday services.

"I think we are a family trying to work out our problems," said Kathy Madeja, chairman of the board of deacons. "I think we are Baptists being Baptists. We are not the only church struggling with this issue." Read the rest here.

A blogger named Scott Jones who is familiar with BBC offers a few criticisms here

And a member of Broadway Baptist Church offers a few thoughts over at Jesus Politics.

Regardless of the wording used in any articles you've read on this subject, very few Broadway Baptist Church members seem to "ride the fence" on this issue.

We're a diverse bunch of people.

Many members are openly opposed to gay inclusion. Other members want to welcome them as they would any other Christians. (I honestly don't think that any gay couples were requesting to have their pictures taken "as a couple"....as I understand it, they merely showed up like any other family. And were surprised by the controversy.)

Cecil Sherman, an ex-Broadway pastor, once ended a North Carolina segregated worship service in the early 1960's WITHOUT the traditional invitation hymn. He let his church know that until the church was open to everybody, it shouldn't be open to anybody.

The church immediately called a business meeting, and voted to integrate the church.

Broadway now faces a similar issue.

So does my family.

We had an impromptu family business meeting last night, and decided that if our gay friends can't be in the church directory, we're not going to be in the church directory.

That's as far from the "fence" as we can get, and still be members.

P.S. - Ironically, Cecil Sherman preached the only anti-gay sermon I've ever heard....

Broadway Baptist Church is one of the most historic congregations in the Baptist General Convention of Texas. BBC was the home to John Claypool from 1971-1976, Welton Gaddy from 1977-1983 and Cecil Sherman from 1985 to 1982. Throughout the SBC Controversy, Sherman was one of the most outspoken voices on the moderate side. He helped form the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and became the CBF's first Executive-Director in 1992.

Another historical tidbit - William Douglas Hudgins pastored Broadway Baptist from 1936-1942. Hudgins was a main character in Charles Marsh's award-winning God's Long Summer where he hid behind certain Baptist doctrines to avoid taking a stand against the activities of the Ku Klux Klan.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Myers Park To Challenge Messenger Seating

Ripped from the headlines of the North Carolina's Biblical Recorder.....

The Executive Committee ruled Monday morning that Myers Park Baptist Church is not "in friendly cooperation with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina."

Myers Park Pastor Steve Shoemaker

Myers Park will challenge that finding at the BSC annual meeting Tuesday morning in Greensboro.

Myers Park is affiliated with several groups that "welcome and affirm" homosexuals as members and in leadership.

They wrote a letter to the Baptist State Convention in January declaring both that fact and their intent to stay affiliated with the Baptist State Convention.

At issue is a membership requirement - passed in 2006 - that says churches which in any way affirm homosexual behavior will be considered to be "not in friendly cooperation" with the BSC.

To be "in friendly cooperation" with the Convention's purposes is one of only two qualifications for membership.

The other is financial support in any measure.

If a church is ruled not to be in friendly cooperation, then it is effectively not a member church of the Baptist State Convention.

Myers Park representatives challenged that membership parameter, pleading instead "from the mercies of God, to refrain from removing churches like ours from your fellowship," said pastor Steve Shoemaker.....

Shoemaker said Myers Park had been studying the issue for 20 years. "We do not claim to have the whole mind of God," Shoemaker said. "We respect those whose perspectives differ."

"Jesus welcomed those considered outcasts into his Kingdom of God," Shoemaker said in his comments to the Executive Committee, where each church member also spoke. "We hope to live in His spirit. We have overcome our original resistance to the inclusion of gays and lesbians as Peter overcame his resistance to gentiles being included in the Kingdom. "

Shoemaker said unity could be based on "any number of issues of interpretation" such as speaking in tongues, war, divorce, sexuality or others, but said, "Let us base our unity on Jesus Christ as Lord."

Read the rest here.

Back in February, I wrote a post about Myers Park entitled "North Carolina Congregation 'Outs' Itself."

At that point, Myers Park had sent an open letter to BSNC officers 'outing' itself as a congregation in violation of the state convention's newly adopted policies concerning homosexuality. Now, Myers Park has been kicked out of the state convention.

It is unfortunate that Baptist life is merely but one long continuous fight over who we can and can not cooperate with.

Meanwhile, there is a concerted effort in North Carolina by "conservatives" like Tim Rogers of SBC Today to effectively run off the remaining moderates. Under the guise of "unity," Rogers has advocated that congregations in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina should no longer have the option to direct their tithes through the CP to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Is it really UNITY when that unity is only obtained by kicking out non-creedal congregations who actually value authentic Christian cooperation over doctrinal rigidity and conformity?

The old saying goes that the only way to cooperate with a fundamentalist is to OBEY Him.

And to quote German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: obedience without freedom is slavery.

There is no freedom in fundamentalism. Attempting to cooperate with fundamentalists is indeed admirable. But as long as moderates and progressives continue to retain relationships through state convention's with their fundamentalist brethren - they will always lose.

That's just a sad fact of Baptist life.

Liberal congregations like Myers Park will never have a voice at any Baptist state convention. The exclusion that Myers Park has faced is nothing new. But if committed SBCers like Tim Rogers have their way - even moderates will no longer have a place at the Baptist table in North Carolina.

Sad but not surprising.


David Gushee, Race, and The New Baptist Covenant

David Gushee, a well-known ethics professor at Mercer's McAfee School of Theology, has an article over at Christianity Today about his involvement in planning the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, racial reconciliation, and his experiences at McAfee.

Check it out.

UPDATE (Link fixed)


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sen. Chuck Grassley v. Prosperity Preachers, Part 2

For those following news and analysis surrounding Senator Grassley's investigation, don't miss this post from church-state expert Melissa Rogers. A snippet below:

The government has the right and obligation to ensure that 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations, including churches, abide by the restrictions that apply to those organizations by virtue of their interest in qualifying for and maintaining that tax-exempt status. At the same time, the government must ensure that it respects the First Amendment rights of churches in the process.

Viewed from that perspective, Grassley is on target when he says he is launching this investigation because of concerns that these organizations have crossed legal lines that apply to them because of the tax-exempt status that they wish to have and keep. And I'm glad to hear Senator Grassley appreciates the need to avoid government meddling in theological issues and to respect the separation of church and state. With those assurances in mind, I hope Senator Grassley will drop a couple of troubling talking points he has used. In a radio interview (see here ), Grassley refers to the fact that he is a Christian. He says, "[a]s a Christian myself. . . . I think we expect the money to be used for the purpose of the mission . . . . " And the Tampa Tribune reports that Senator Grassley said:

"I think for a person like me, it's this simple," Grassley told News Channel 8 on Tuesday. "Jesus came into the city on a simple donkey. To what extent do you need a Rolls-Royce to expand the ministry of Jesus Christ?"

These talking points are ill-advised because they could be read to suggest that a government leader is using his official powers to target certain churches because he takes issue with their theology. I take a back seat to no one in terms of my criticism of the so-called "prosperity gospel." But I don't want any branch or official of the government to try to evaluate the "prosperity gospel" as a theological matter -- that is not the government's job. The government's job is to make, interpret, and enforce the law, even when it applies to religious organizations, and to do so in ways that respect religious freedom and the separation of church and state. It will be important to watch this investigation as it moves forward to ensure that it adheres to those principles.

Over at Christianity Today, Richard Hammar who is an expert on church law and tax has a helpful piece that offers more details. Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code exempts religious organizations from federal taxation so long as they comply with certain requirements. One requirement is that the organization does not pay unreasonable compensation which is the main focus of Grassley's investigation.

I guess the million dollar question is, under the law, what's REASONABLE? A 23,000 dollar marble commode? Lipo? I suspect a Prosperity Preacher who wears tailor-made Armani suits and drives a Bentley could make an argument that the amount of compensation received is in fact reasonable....

Let's hope Grassley's investigation is guided by respect for the principle of church-state separation and not his own personal motives and/or religious bias against "Electronic Serpents."

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

Baptist Senator's War On Prosperity Preachers

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee and scheduled speaker at the upcoming Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant is investigating six prominent televangelists for possible financial misconduct. The six electronic preachers include Paula White, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Eddie Long, Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn. Grassley is trying to determine whether or not these ministers and their ministries are improperly using their tax-exempt status as churches to shield lavish lifestyles.

In an article on Christianity Today Online, Joel Hunter the Florida megachurch pastor had this to say about Grassley's investigation:
"If your house is in order, you have nothing to fear and much to gain from this process,"
Others fear that Grassley's investigation could set a bad precedent.

Mr. Naked Public Square, Richard John Neuhaus commented:
"James Madison would be telling us, 'Take Alarm! Take Alarm!''' Richard John Neuhaus, editor of the journal First Things, told CT. "This is cause for alarm that a Senate committee would presume to directly exercise financial oversight of religious ministries."
And from Charles Haynes of the First Amendment Center:
"There has kind of been an end-run here," contends Charles Haynes, director of the First Amendment Center. The Senate prying into church money matters could be a slippery slope, he said.

"It's legitimate for government to monitor whether or not the laws are being followed by ministries," said Haynes. "Having said that, this is an unusual approach. The danger here is that it can become a fishing expedition … into areas where the First Amendment protects ministries—for example, their beliefs and view of the gospel. They may be controversial or unorthodox or unpopular, but that is none of the business of government."'

This portion of the CT article was quite interesting:
While Grassley is not proposing any changes to the law or tax code, he's suggesting that he may do so after the investigation. "Based on initial review, the way ministries operate has changed significantly over the last 20 years to 25 years, while the tax laws governing them for the most part have not," his office said.
I'm hesitant to say that Grassley's investigation is a GOOD thing. The principle of separation requires that the government stay out of the business of the church. But a $23,000 commode? Private jets. Expensive toilets. Costly conference tables. Riding in style in Rolls Royces and Bentleys. The lavish lifestyles of these ministers is disturbing.

Nonetheless, perhaps Grassley should have allowed the IRS to investigate these mega-ministers. After all, the IRS is the body that determines if houses of worship are following the law as to their tax exempt status. I tend to agree with Roland Martin of CNN who observed that Grassley's investigation could potentially have a chilling effect on churches "because ANY politician who is ticked off with a church - maybe one where a pastor endorsed his or her rival - could use their influence to demand the records of a church." If you'll take a stroll down memory lane, you might recall that some accused the Bush Administration of using the IRS to go after congregations (All Saints Episcopal) that were quite outspoken in their opposition to the Iraq War

I'm quite sympathetic to this blogger who wrote:
Granted, any fiscal abuse within any church should be stopped. But isn't it the responsibility of those parishioners who give their money to the church to do so? And don't they usually do so? It seems a bit of a reach for the U.S. Senate to be involved in the private faith lives of individual Americans and their places of worship.
What say you?

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Barack Obama - "Let's Go Change The World"

Barack Obama can speak. Anyone who heard his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention can attest to that fact.

Jennifer Hunter of the Chicago Sun-Times described Obama's speech last week in Manning, South Carolina as "the most inspiring, the most elegant speech I have ever heard Barack Obama give. And he never mentioned Hillary Clinton."

Watch the entire speech above. The 13 minute mark is exceptional.

Here's a snippet from Obama's prepared remarks:
So today, sixty years after James Hinton issued his challenge, I want to issue a challenge of my own. If you're tired of the politics of fear and division; if you're tired of a government that stands idly by while our schools go underfunded, our children go unemployed, and our communities are neglected; if you feel as I do that if we don't fight for that next generation of children, who will? - then I'm asking you to join me. And if you can do that - if you can overcome your doubts, cast away your fears, and believe once again that real change is possible in this country - then I truly believe we can bring about the world that Harry and Eliza Briggs dreamed of for their children.
America desperately needs a Barack Obama presidency.


Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Judge Speaks - Paul Pressler on Mike Huckabee

Check out John Fund's op-ed over at The Wall Street Journal.

A few snippets follow:
Mr. Huckabee attributes his support to the fact he is a "hardworking, consistent conservative with some authenticity about those convictions." He is certainly qualified for national office, having served nearly 11 years as a chief executive. I have known and liked him for years; on the stump he often tells the story of how we first met outside his boarded-up office in the state Capitol, which had been sealed by Arkansas Democrats who refused to accept he had won an upset election for lieutenant governor in 1993. But I also know he is not the "consistent conservative" he now claims to be.

Nor am I alone. Betsy Hagan, Arkansas director of the conservative Eagle Forum and a key backer of his early runs for office, was once "his No. 1 fan." She was bitterly disappointed with his record. "He was pro-life and pro-gun, but otherwise a liberal," she says. "Just like Bill Clinton he will charm you, but don't be surprised if he takes a completely different turn in office."

Phyllis Schlafly, president of the national Eagle Forum, is even more blunt. "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles," she says. "Yet some of the same evangelicals who sold us on George W. Bush as a 'compassionate conservative' are now trying to sell us on Mike Huckabee."
And The Architect of the Fundamentalist Takeover of the SBC, Judge Paul Pressler Speaks:
Rick Scarborough, a pastor who heads Vision America, attended seminary with Mr. Huckabee and is a strong backer. But, he acknowledges, "Mike has always sought the validation of elites." When conservatives took over the Southern Baptist Convention after a bitter fight in the 1980s, Mr. Huckabee sided with the ruling moderates. Paul Pressler, a former Texas judge who led the conservative Southern Baptist revolt, told me, "I know of no conservative he appointed while he headed the Arkansas Baptist Convention."
I just can't picture Mike Huckabee as a moderate or someone who would sympathize with the "ruling moderates." Anyone have any additional details?

On another unrelated note:

Last Friday, I was maliciously maligned in the blogosphere by a Baptist minister who apparently has nothing better to do than spread lies about a fellow Christian less than half his age. The post was promptly removed, its record kept, and I've been instructed not to discuss the details. For those who caught a glimpse of the hate speech spewed my way, please consider the source. Thanks.

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