Baptist born, Baptist bred? denominations get au courant
After a historic meeting in Nashville, leaders of four traditional African American Baptist denominations retreated over issues of gay marriage and abortion saying that such things were “divisive” and not a “priority” for their congregations.
Calling the meeting successful because of a new level of reconciliation between the groups, the Progressive National Baptist, the National Baptist Convention USA, the National Baptist Convention of America, and the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America hoped reconciliation would help them reclaim their status as social change leaders.
However, recent scandals among old guard civil rights leaders such as Rev. Jesse Jackson, have weakened its moral standing. Jackson waved aside any belief that the scandal hampered his ability to lead.
He told the Nashville Tennesean ”No, when you run this race, you fall down and then you get up again.”
To prove that Black Baptists had no connection with gay marriage, Jackson conducted a johnny-on-the-spot poll.
How many want higher minimum wage, health care and end the war in Iraq?, he demanded. Hands shot up all over the building.
How many churches have blessed same sex unions, he asked. Predictably, everyone sat as still as church mice.
Its still confusing as to why they would call abor-tion divisive and not a priority considering Jackson himself supports abortion rights. Murder by abortion in the black community is the #1 killer of black life in America. The abortion industry has received over 4 billion dollars from the deaths of black children!
Billions of dollars that could have went to health care, job improvement, advancing fatherhood initiatives and ending violence in black communities.
Why didn’t Jackson share this with the church-going pastors? Why didn’t he ask how many women in the room had a secret abortion or better yet how many of the pastors had taken them to get one? Church mice response again?
Its no wonder then, how Baptists came to such conclusions that standing against homosexual marriage and abortion was not a priority. The guest speaker list was a who’s who of social leftist activists types who peppered the delegate with anti-Bush rhetoric.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund and a left wing drum majorette, blamed the “govenment” not parents or black com-munity leaders for such social ills as hungry children and violence. Edelman even said that God “created poor children as the apple of his eye.” Its unclear why God would create poor children, but not equip their government to care for them.
Black Baptists attending the conference –over 13,000 estimated– were fed partial truths sauteed heavily in religious veneer.
Even though Black Americans of every persausion voted overwhelmingly to ban gay marriage in states where it appeared on the ballot, leaders of the 4 church groups stubbornly declared that there were more important issues for black people.
One of the Presidents may cause trouble for the group’s attempts at au courancy. Rev. Stephen J. Thurston of Chicago, considered the more “progressive” of the leaders, led the charge earlier against gay marriage.
But the Baptist groups are traditional in that they do not accept women pastors nor do they embrace the neo-pentecostal flavorings showing up at many mainline black churches.
Thurston, under the wings of Jackson, does. He also favors hiring lobbyists to become the voice of church concerns. Other Baptist presidents are chilly to this idea.
For the time being the group is basking in this historic ability to get everyone to the table and shake hands. Some view the gathering as a worthwhile endeavor while others believe it may be the beginning of an unfruitful alliance.
What is sure is that at this juncture, just who stands to benefit most from the new alliance remains to be seen. Baptists in the group still have a lot to overcome, but hopefully wisdom and not political expediency will prevail and the group will stand for life and traditional marriage.
Sometimes getting contemporary isn’t in our best interest.