Our local paper picked up this story and ran it this weekend. Upon digging I found that this meeting took place back in January. Carter, Clinton Seek To Bring Together Moderate Baptists Well it seems that Carter and Clinton are trying to rally the backsliders liberal Baptists. Carter is the ringleader and Clinton is a self proclaimed cheerleader for the cause. Notice also how they say that Baptists that believe in abortion, gay rights and women preachers are "moderate" and not liberal.
The new coalition, which is Carter's brainchild, would give moderate Baptists a stronger collective voice and could provide Democrats with greater entree into the Baptist community. But Carter and other organizers are trying to walk a fine line, insisting that the alliance is not directly political while touting its potential to recast the role of religion in the public square.
Yeah right, it is not political at all. I would have believed it if someone besides Clinton and Carter, you know someone who isn't a liberal Democrat ex-President, were championing the cause.
"We hope . . . to emphasize the common commitments that bind us together rather than to concentrate on the divisive issues that separate us," Carter said. "There's too much of an image in the Baptist world, and among non-Christians, that the main, permeating characteristic of Christian groups is animosity toward one another and an absence of ability to cooperate in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood."
Carter has also made reaching out to muslims part of the package. Interestingly the majority of the congregations in this coalition will be black. It is the old divide and conquer. Imomoral Democrats (immoral in that they support issues clearly forbidden in the Bible like abortion and homosexuality) want to separate the black votes from the Baptist camp in the guise of ministering to their specific needs. Needs Carter claims Southern Baptists ignore or are against. Their thinly veiled plot has not gone unnoticed.
The Rev. Richard Land, head of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said the smaller Baptist groups are in "a search for significance and relevance." He scoffed at the idea that the new coalition would be nonpartisan.
"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
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Carter and Company complains that the SBC only cares about sexual morality. That they don't get involved enough with social issues. Correct me if I am wrong, but the best way to deal with social ills is to create a better living human being. The mission of the church, ANY church is to reach the lost. We will give account for our own lives and how we live for Christ as individuals not as a denomination. The fact that all the issues Carter claims his group will address are social issues only proves the political intent of his gathering. Still the SBC does address issues like poverty. But there will be many areas where their beliefs diverge.
Land denied that Southern Baptists care only about sexual morality, noting that the SBC was heavily involved in relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina. But he agreed that there appear to be significant disagreements between the SBC and the new coalition.
"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.
Yeah that Carter. "It's all the Jews fault". Maybe that is why he was so impotent during the Tehran Hostage Situation. He was busy appeasing the Islamic powers in the region.
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."
Oh! Sexual orientation is an "ancillary issue." Because the Bible just isn't clear enough on how God feels about homosexuality.
The covenant would not be not a new denomination but a coalition of four historically black Baptist churches -- including the 7.5-million-member National Baptist Convention USA and the 2.5-million-member Progressive National Baptist Convention -- and several predominantly white Baptist groups, including the 1.4-million-member American Baptist Churches USA and the 500,000-member Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Together, they have more than 20 million members, outnumbering the SBC, which was not invited to the Atlanta meeting.
"The elephant is no longer in the room. There's been a convergence of the rest of the Baptists in North America," said the Rev. Daniel Vestal, national coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a group of present and former Southern Baptists unhappy with the SBC's course.
Wow. The elephant is gone. No political reference there. And with 20 million members, they get to decide what is moral and what is not because with religion majority rules right? I don't think so.
In a nutshell, Jimmy Carter, the worst president in American history, and Bill Clinton, the sleaziest president in history, have joined forces with disgruntled, backslidden Baptists to form a new "non-political" group. Their meeting next year (an election year) will focus on healing social ills including poverty, pollution, lack of health care and global religious and racial conflict. A laudable agenda but to anyone on the outside looking in, it is obvious that the two former presidents are trying to mobilize a guilt free religious base of unrepentant sinners, unbelievers and liberal sympathizers based on their dislike for the Southern Baptists' strict religious stand. They are doing it for obvious political power. Well someone in the DNC didn't like conservative Republicans claiming the religious high ground in the last couple election cycles. Unable to sway people of faith with their stands on the issues, they have decided to create a new base. One that believes in abortion and gay rights and can claim them as equal in validity as the pro-life and anti-homosexual stands traditionally held by Christians. Will this ploy work? Oh sure there will be lots of people who don't think the SBC is progressive enough but the ultimate deciding factor is Truth. This new group of Baptists cannot back up their liberal stands with scripture. And what exactly do they plan to do about poverty, pollution, and global and religious conflict? I'm thinking the pastors are going to urge their members to vote Democrat.