Friday, June 16, 2006

Good news-bad news from the Baptists: A pause in the need to dominate followed by a resolution demanding, ah, more domination

Interesting news out of the Southern Baptist Convention this week. First came word that a not-so-radical has been elected president and that a couple of other almost-moderate positions were taken. Today, we learn the Southern Baptists voted to make a renewed effort to take over local school boards. Call it the good news-bad news joke of the week.

The best coverage I’ve seen on the convention is coming from Mainstream Baptist over at Talk To Action here and here. E.J. Dionne also has an interesting column at the Washington Post.
First, the dare we call it, good news?

Mainstream Baptist writes:

For the first time since 1979, Baptists appear to be hesitating about the relentless rightward thrust toward Dominionism within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Over the past two days Southern Baptists have elected their most moderate President since 1979, have refused to request that its women's mission organization submit to denominational control, and have refused to approve a resolution calling for an "exit strategy" from public schools.

Some of the bad news, of course, is that this “moderate” president Frank Page isn’t exactly what the rest of us would call centrist. Elected, in part, with the help of bloggers who aided in organizing his campaign, Page may simply be a nicer version of the angry presidents of the recent past. Mainstream Baptist writes:

While the new president of the SBC is more moderate than past leaders, he is not a "Mainstream" Baptist. He an "irenic conservative" that professes to be an "inerrantist" who is not mad about it. It is entirely possible that he will merely put a friendlier face and a smile on the ongoing efforts of Southern Baptists to dominate the secular political processes of this country.

I suspect that it is merely an unexpected pause in the denomination's trend toward Dominionism.

“Dominionism,” by the way, is the official terminology for the idea of promoting the domination of one brand of religion over all other religions and secular institutions.

At the same time this “pause” in the headlong rush away from American democratic ideals was occurring, the Southern Baptists were also urging their members to run for their local school boards. The idea is to take over, dominate and change public education to indoctrinate all students with the Southern Baptist creed.

From Ethics Daily via Mainstream Baptist:
The resolution passed by the convention "On Engaging the Direction of the Public
School System" denounces the teaching of "dogmatic Darwinism," acceptance of
homosexuality and a "humanistic and secular orientation" in most schools.

This is yet one more reason why progressive and moderates have to get involved in even the most local of political campaigns. Run for office. Donate money and time to help the good candidates who are running.

Beware of stealth candidates who claim to be moderate or avoid all mention of their stands. In Kansas, one anti-evolution radical was elected to the state Board of Education four years ago by barely leaving her living room. For details, see here. Stealth campaigns can only win election because mega-church members know the candidates to support, while the rest of us are not paying attention.

Whether you live in red-state, bash-Darwin Kansas or in the bluest blue state, none of us can afford to be silent or uninvolved ever again.

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