Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Religion and Baptist politics

I missed this article describing efforts by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton to midwife the creation of a counterweight to the Southern Baptist Convention. Bringing together two African-American Baptist organizations and two--well, Cooperman calls them "moderate"; others might disagree--predominantly white Baptist groups, they collectively outnumber the SBC and will hold a convention in Atlanta next year.

SBC’s Richard Land has some choice comments:

"I’m not going to question their motives. I just know that if I were them, I would be concerned about how it might appear to many people, the timing," Land said. "Purportedly they’re going to hold a convention of several thousand people in Atlanta in early 2008, hosted by two former Democratic presidents, one of whom has a wife seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Some would see that as an overtly political activity."


"One of the areas where we would be in significant disagreement would be our view toward Israel, as highlighted by President Carter’s new book," he said, referring to "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid," published in November by Simon & Schuster. Fourteen members of an advisory panel at the Carter Center have resigned over the book’s depiction of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Another difference, he said, was made clear last week when Carter spoke of sexual orientation as an "ancillary issue." "Most Southern Baptists would disagree with that," Land said. "We’re not going to affirm and accept all sexual orientations."

It’s also noteworthy that one of the other principals in this new organization is Mercer University President William D. Underwood, one of the central figures in the Baylor brouhaha, which ultimately led to the departure of Robert B. Sloan for greener pastures.

For other views of the Carter-Clinton efforts, go here, here, here, here, and here. For informed commentary, go here.

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