Mainstream Baptists
November 12, 2004 1:42 PM   Subscribe

Mainstream Baptists is an organization which is very concerned about the takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) by right-wing fundamentalists. The site includes a daily blog. One post-election entry: "SBC Hardwiring to GOP....There was a day when Baptist preachers and lay people would have been alarmed by and indignant about this egregious violation of the Baptist principle of separation of church and state. Today Southern Baptists are so cowed by and subservient to their denominational overlords that it will hardly raise an eyebrow."
posted by Sixtieslibber (8 comments total)
Bill Moyers: can be confusing when a young reporter, learning you are a Baptist, asks: “Oh, like Jerry Falwell?” I reminded her that there are more than two dozen varieties of Baptist in this country. Pat Robertson is a Baptist. So is Bill Clinton. Al Gore is a Baptist. So is Trent Lott. Jesse Jackson is a Baptist. So is Jesse Helms. Richard Gephardt is a Baptist. So is Newt Gingrich. Small wonder Baptists have been compared to jalapeno peppers: one or two makes for a tasty dish, but a whole bunch of them together in one place brings tears to your eyes.
I trace my own spiritual lineage back to a radical Baptist in England named Thomas Helwys who believed that God, and not the King, was Lord of conscience. In 1612 Roman Catholics were the embattled target of the Crown and Thomas Helwys, the Baptist, came to their defense with the first tract in English demanding full religious liberty. Here’s what he said:

“Our Lord the King has no more power over their [Catholic] consciences than ours, and that is none at all. …For men’s religion is betwixt God and themselves; the King shall not answer it; neither may the King be judge betwixt God and man. Let them be heretics, Turks, Jews or whatever. It appertains not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure.”

The King was the Good King James I – yes, that King James, as in King James Bible. Challenges to his authority did not cause his head to rest easily on his pillow, so James had Thomas Helwys thrown into prison, where he died.

posted by matteo at 1:57 PM on November 12, 2004

very interesting stuff--does he speak for a lot of people?
This is from a speech he made--Politicizing Churches Harms both Church and State : Baptists wanted the guarantee of religious liberty made explicit. So, until Madison agreed to add a Bill of Rights to the Constitution, they threatened to elect John Leland, their leading evangelist and spokesperson, to the Virginia Assembly – that would have denied Madison a seat at the convention where his home state would discuss ratifying the Constitution that he had written for the entire nation. That is why a number of informed and respected historians say that separation of church and state is the Baptist legacy to the history of Western Civilization.

It is a legacy that many of my uninformed and misdirected Baptist brethren are now working to undo. Many Baptists are at the forefront of the Radical Religious Right. That movement, which includes more than just Baptists, is methodically working – step by step – to discard the First Amendment and make the United States a theocratic kingdom.

They won’t tell you that they are creating a theocratic kingdom. If they did that, you would comprehend what they are trying to do and you might be motivated to rise up and try to stop them. Instead, they describe what they are doing in pious terms that sound good and make you feel fine and lull you into a false sense of ease and security.

posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on November 12, 2004

Hey a SBC I can see eye to eye with...wait, I don't discuss politics at church.
posted by thomcatspike at 2:43 PM on November 12, 2004

Moderate Baptists include the CBF (in the news in 2000 in cxn w/ Jimmy Carter's definitive break with the SBC). The same year, the Baptist General Convention of Texas (with which Baylor U. is affiliated) decided to stop giving money to the SBC. These divisions are perhaps of more moment than the existence of the long-established more moderate American Baptist Convention (after all, it was once known as the Northern Baptist Convention...). The linked organization, Mainstream, is AFAICT (I can't really figure it out for sure) a loose advocacy network of people more formally committed to the CBF, BGCT, etc.
posted by Zurishaddai at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2004

Wasn't Bill Clinton a southern baptist?
posted by mathowie at 3:35 PM on November 12, 2004

Who cares who's a baptist...The point is that many people here in the West thought that it was not very democratic-like to have tribal warlords in Afghanistan tell thier villagers who they will vote for...and yet back in America it's done and what? We're NOT PISSED OFF about it? There are some things that never cease to amaze me, one of these things is how utterly STUPID and SHEEPLE-LIKE some Christian lemmings can be...
posted by Epitath at 4:08 PM on November 12, 2004

For men’s religion is betwixt God and themselves; the King shall not answer it; neither may the King be judge betwixt God and man.

Fucking liberals, why do they hate Ameri.. er, King James so much?
posted by psmealey at 4:10 PM on November 12, 2004

matt: yes, Clinton was a SB, but he got a lot of grief from the more conservative leadership over gay rights

David is a musician in his early 30s; he is married to a Protestant woman, and he is bothered by the way his church distinguishes between him and his wife.
“Hard lines are drawn around who’s in and who’s out,” he declares. “When Jesus said, ‘This is my body, which is given up for you’ and ‘This is my blood, which is shed for all,’ I interpret this literally. Jesus invites everyone to Eucharist despite the fact that none of us deserve it. Our human institutions are much less welcoming.”

posted by matteo at 4:11 PM on November 12, 2004

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