Baptist Messengers Coming to G'boro

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I love it when the Southern Baptists come to town. Especially when they're in a swivet over who should lead their denomination into its misogynist, delusional future. The N&O reports that as many as 14,000 "messengers" will converge on Greensboro to stir things up this Tuesday.

As the Southern Baptist Convention returns to North Carolina for the first time in 90 years, it brings with it a new spirit of contention missing from the denomination's leadership in recent times. Since the Southern Baptists -- the nation's largest Protestant denomination -- solidified their conservative ranks, the office of president has been won by an unchallenged candidate.

But when the annual meeting opens at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex on Tuesday, three candidates will vie for the presidency -- a first in more than a decade. The meeting will consider a host of contentious resolutions and recommendations as well.

About 12,000 to 14,000 delegates, called messengers, will converge from across the United States to attend the two-day meeting in Greensboro. The convention, which offers pastors and lay leaders an opportunity to socialize, network and weigh in on denominational affairs, has not met in North Carolina since its 1916 meeting in Asheville.

For all the noise they make, the SBC is a fringe sect with surprisingly few members. In 2005, they had fewer Baptisms than they did in 1950, the height of the baby boom. They're estimated to make up 5.5% of the US population.

I attribute much of the current epidemic in STDs among teens and young adults to the evangelical push for eliminating comprehensive sex education in favor of "abstinence until marriage" training in public schools. And of course their view of women as nothing but wombs may play into the picture. (Women are not allowed to be pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention.) But I'm prayin' for 'em all, especially the men who lead the SBC. Praying that they'll come to Greensboro and lose their hateful ways. Come on god, give us a miracle.


Picture is unfair

Fred Phelps has long been disassociated with any organized Baptist congregation and Christians of all stripes have actively spoken out against him.

A non-denominational congregation I belonged to in Overland Park, KS near Kansas City, MO was picketed by Phelps and his followers. So, even though I'm not a Baptist, I take particular offense at you associating him with them by using that photo.

It's sentiments like this that keep most Christians finding the National Democratic message nothing less than odious.

I was raised a Southern Baptist

and I know from much experience that they hold homosexuality to be a sin. Not to mention their formal position on the matter:

We affirm God's plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a "valid alternative lifestyle." The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.

I know that some members of the SBC leadership repudiate Phelps. But I know plenty who don't. And as to most Christians finding the National Democratic message odious, you'll be happy to know that even non-Christians do too. Like me for example. It's just that I find the National Republican message a hundred times more odious.

And according to this fringe research organization your hyperbole appears to be, well, hyperbole. Yes Republicans get more credit for being friendly to religion. But Democrats get more credit for being defenders of liberty.

The public also has distinctly different perceptions of both parties when it comes to dealing with religion and personal freedoms. By a wide margin ­ 51% to 28% ­ the Republican Party is seen as most concerned with protecting religious values. By a nearly identical margin (52%-30%), the Democratic Party is perceived as most concerned with protecting the freedom of citizens to make personal choices.

Yet the Democrats' strength in this area is overshadowed by a sharp erosion in the number of Americans who believe the party is friendly toward religion. Only about three-in-ten (29%) see the Democrats as friendly toward religion, down from 40% last August. Meanwhile, a solid majority (55%) continues to view the Republicans as friendly toward religion.

However, independents are more critical of the influence of religious conservatives on the Republican Party than they are of the influence of secular liberals on the Democratic Party. Most independents (54%) think religious conservatives have too much influence over the Republican Party, while fewer, 43%, think secular liberals have too much sway on the Democratic Party.

I'm leaving the picture up so follow-on readers can judge for themselves what's what. And I dare say the SBC won't be modifying its position on homosexuality this week in Greensboro. And that's really the question, isn't it.

I think you're more likely

To see the Carolina Hurricanes return to that Coliseum and call GBoro home, than see the SBC expierence a moral Rapture.

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

I dont think its unfair

They reap what they sow. The SBC has been just as hateful and full of rancor towards Homosexual rights, ie marriage and adoption, in their own ways through government propaganda and actions. Sure their not going to picket military funerals, which is beyond extreme. But Baptists are going to picket the Halls of Congress on Homosexual issues while their is a Long War going on.

And if this is the reason why Christians cannot resonate with Democrats, how can the GOP message be better? Seriously?

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.

When Good Gods Go Bad

Just in case you haven't had your fill of right-wing wacko theocrats yet, go read this diary. It's the sick story of SBC's leadership standing complicit in a new "Left Behind" video game in which Christian soldiers kill those who won't convert. It'll be interesting to see if this will be on the top of their to-do list on Tuesday. Fat chance.

Politics and Faith

The SBC, as an organization, has long forwarded political positions based on a heterocentric, eurocentric, paternalistic set of rigid beliefs. Phelps' group is on its own and can't rightfully be connected to the SBC as a whole (though SBC statements could often be mistaken for Phelps' pamphleteering). The less influence the SBC has in the way our country is governed the better, IMHO.

Now for the flip side - Jimmy Carter is a Southern Baptist. Heath Shuler is a Southern Baptist. Bill Clinton is a Southern Baptist. Individual faith journeys can move through tainted organizations without tainting the person.

The Christian Left can be a powerful force if it sticks to its historical successes like civil rights, human rights, social justice, and promoting peace. The Christian Right could do this, too, but they tend towards oppression, vilification, and justifying violence.

This is a muddy comment, to be sure. I guess what I'm trying to say is that individual Baptists can be A-OK while organizations can only be A-OK if they stay out of my secular governance.

Scrutiny Hooligans -

Well said, as always.

I think Carter is epitomizes all that is good about the Baptist faith. He is one of my heroes . . . or more precisely . . . my only hero.

That video game...

1)How did I miss that?

2)wow. just wow. maybe the apocalypse is coming.

Be just, and fear not.

Our children need to know that some people fought back, when others collaborated.