I was asked a bit ago personally about my post regarding the sign in front of Glen Rose City Hall, with a comment that it *didn\'t sound like you". I replied, briefly, that I was expressing my opinion, with no intent to offend but that I believe strongly that church matters belong in church and government matters stay separate. Besides the obvious point about freedom of speech, I also want to mention that my beliefs are because I was raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, and that\'s what the platform of Baptists has been.
The early Baptists in this country, incliuding Roger Williams, believed in separation of church and state, and so did Southern Baptists while I was growing up. I\'m not sure exactly when the SoBapts took such a right turn. So I thought I\'d look it up.
According to this online article, the platform changed by a conscious takeover plan by Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler. (I notice in this link that when Paige was put in as head of the Southwest Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, instructors had to sign a loyalty oath.I remember reading something about this in the book that Jimmy Carter wrote a few years ago; he was concerned about how the nature of the pastor in the church had been changed.
Richard Land said in this interview
I believe in separation of church and state. As a Baptist, how could I not? I think that if you don\'t have it, that it ends up being very detrimental to the church, and to the Christian faith, or any faith
But there are other Baptists who ignore the tradition.One example of this is W A Criswell, former pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.
"There is no such thing as separation of church and state. It is merely a figment of the imagination of infidels." [Taped interview at the Republican National Convention (9/6/84)]
I guess he wouldn\'t get along with the Baptists that came here to this country, like Roger Williams.
Anyway, here\'s a timeline of how the Southern Baptist church was taken over and got away completely from its original platform.
Needless to say, I am no longer a Southern Baptist. The last time I attended a SoBapt church, I went to one that was in Houston on the north side by I-10 and Loop 610 that was so huge it had its own bowling alley and theatre. I realized at that point that the Southern Baptist Church seemed to go in for worldly theatrics, and never went back.
So, I will continue to believe that secular, government matters need to remain separate from church matters and comment when I think the line has been crossed.
P.S. I seem to remember that one of the pastors of a church I attended as a child, in Houston, was Russell Dilday. I notice that Mr Dilday eventually became head of the Southwestern Theological Seminary and was deposed in the fundamentalist changes that occurred in SBC in the mid-80s. From "Walking God\'s Path"
"The issue is control of the Southern Baptist Convention", said the Rev Russell H Dilday, Jr, president of the Southwestern Seminary, a conservative institution and largest seminary in America. He says a powerful "fundamentalist political machine" has used "suspicion, rumor, criticism, innuendos, guilt by association and the entire demonic family of forced uniformity" in seeking control of the denomination... "I don\'t know anybody in the Southern Baptist Convention who would not agree the Bible is the inspired, authoritative word of God. However, I shudder when I see a coterie of the orthodox watching to catch a brother in a statement that sounds heretical".
I kind of remember all this going on and reading about in the news nightly. The moderates lost and the fundamentalists changed the SBC away from the platforms that were traditionally Baptist.
Speaking to an audience in Georgia, Dilday accused the conservatives of wanting to turn all Southern Baptist seminary students into "clones of Dr Criswell". He warned "The issue is not theological conservatism versus liberalism, or the infallability of the Bible, the issue is control of the Southern Baptist Convention.:
P.S. Texas State Board of Education tried to REVISE history in textbooks about separation of church and state. From Virginia Baptists.
Inaccurate history threatens religious liberty
Whereas, the Baptist principles of religious liberty and its safeguard, separation of church and state (or government neutrality toward all religions and nonreligion), are well grounded in this nation’s history, and
Whereas, the labors of Virginians, notably Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, James Madison, and the Baptist minister John Leland, were crucial in the historic events that made these two principles part of our nation’s Bill of Rights, and
Whereas, no people, Baptist or otherwise, can remain true to its principles if its knowledge or collective memory of these principles is tampered with, altered, or replaced by a false version of history, and
Whereas, the Religious Liberty Committee of the Baptist General Association of Virginia has concluded that systematic efforts have been under way in recent decades to write and teach versions of American history that minimize and sometimes deny the historic basis of one or both of the principles named above, and
Whereas, resources are available for correcting any such mistaken history, including a 1999 article by Stephen Stookey of Fort Worth, Texas,
Now therefore be it resolved, that the Baptist General Association of Virginia calls upon Virginia Baptists, and all who cherish religious liberty, (1) to redouble their efforts to know and teach the historical foundation and meaning of the two principles named above, (2) to regard it as a threat to the flourishing of religious liberty when any version of our nation’s history minimizes or denies the historical basis of either of these principles, and (3) to be diligent in resisting and correcting any such mistaken version of our history.