July 2, 2009
My hero, Forrest Gump, liked to say that some things go together like "peas and carrots." Now of course some persons like peas mixed with carrots and some do not. Politics and religion go together like peas and carrots. Some claim that they are separate and some do not. In our country we like to mix our peas and carrots, our religion and politics, when it is convenient and keep them separate when it best serves the interest of the organization.
I read in the Southern Baptist Statement of Faith and Mission that the Baptist claim to believe in separation of church and state. But, this separation is not what actually happens in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). It is a separation based on what is needed at the moment. A case in point is the recent resolution passed by the SBC to "share our nation''s pride" in President Obama''s historic victory.
Now further study and research would reveal that the membership of SBC is in a decline. The white population is in a decline, and the SBC being historically segregated, and strongly so, finds itself in a fix. Either to swallow its historically racist pride, or face a long period of falling membership and shrinking dollars to its bureaucracy in Nashville. Of course to admit blacks and other minorities into its membership would be to compromise its long term "marriage" to the Republican party.
Southern Baptist and Republicans go together like peas and carrots. I was told a few years ago by a pastor at First Baptist in Columbus that I could not be a Democrat and a Christian. It would seem that the seminaries of the SBC should do some retraining before they launch their minority recruitment drive.
I follow with great interest the relationship of religion and politics. When a people do not like to read and ask questions, then a nation and a people will tend to follow the strong leader who claims to know "will of God." So much of the time these leaders are motivated by things other than God or service to mankind.
I single out the Southern Baptist Convention because the organization claims to have over 16 million members, and can throw its weight around in the political arena. The SBC has an entire division of its Nashville headquarters devoted to influence peddling and lobbying on a national level. This division is run by the SBC "godfather," Dr. Richard Land, and is called the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. A study of Dr. Land and his division would be interesting to thinking persons everywhere.