Sunday, June 17, 2018


Sunday Reflection: Disentangling the SBC from the GOP

Something interesting is happening in the Southern Baptist Convention.

This fascinating report from Jonathan Merritt describes some significant changes in the huge denomination, which has lost a million members since 2003:

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is the denomination’s public-policy arm, hosted a packed #metoo panel discussion. And several leaders publicly suggested that women must be included in top levels of leadership. Multiple prominent leaders even insinuated that it may be time to elect a woman as SBC president, a notion that would have been considered unthinkable, if not heretical, even a decade ago.

In addition to the elevation of women, the second Southern Baptist revolution is committed to fostering greater diversity throughout the denomination.

It's not that the SBC is revising some of its most conservative views, such as barring women from pastoring churches. But it does seem that there is a conscious attempt to de-link the SBC from the Republican Party:

Though most Southern Baptists remain politically conservative, it seems that some are now less willing to have their denomination serve as a handmaiden to the GOP, especially in the current political moment. They appear to recognize that tethering themselves to Donald Trump—a thrice-married man who has bragged about committing adultery, lies with impunity, allegedly paid hush money to a porn star with whom he had an affair, and says he has never asked God for forgiveness—places the moral credibility of the Southern Baptist Convention at risk.

I know so many people who have been hurt and cast out by the SBC, and the denomination's marriage to a political party has been repulsive. But, if that is being re-thought, it is all to the good. Change will come slowly-- but at least it might come.

It is inconsistent to claim to be a Christian and to separate families who appear at the border to make a claim for asylum, as it is to refuse asylum applicants to file an application at a border crossing, subjecting them to risk from violent gangs, unless they cross at another location and turn themselves into the border police. In both cases, adults are being charged with a crime of illegal entry (including asylum applicants), arrested, and separated from their children, including children as young as one year old. It is a known fact, that such separation of small children from parents has lasting effects on the capacity to learn and to love, and otherwise function in society. At the border, the U.S. is becoming evil, and the President is lying about why these practices are being used, as ordered by him and Sessions. If you are not outraged, you need an injection of the love of Christ and and understanding of what he met when he had the children brought to him.

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