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.
SBCs Richard Land has some choice comments:
"Im 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 theyre 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 Carters 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 books 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. "Were not going to affirm and accept all sexual orientations."
Its 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.