Monday, June 14, 2004

Officially Mindless

I'm a Baptist. I live in the South. I'm not a Southern Baptist. There are lots and lots of different types of Baptists. Besides finding reasons to serve food at church, finding reasons to divide ourselves with doctrinal statements appears to me to be what Baptists do best.

Starting Tuesday, the Southern Baptist Convention meets in Indianapolis and I know that no matter what decisions are made, the story that is going to get the most ink and airplay in the media is going to be concerning a resolution calling for Southern Baptist parents to remove their children from public schools because public education is "officially godless".

Jack Graham, the President of the Convention, is the first to admit that this proposal - in its current form - is not going to fly, but he also realizes it's going to get a lot of attention and some aspect of the resolution's intent may indeed end up being formally adopted.

He says it's going to get publicity because people want to "make Southern Baptists look bad". No argument there. Certainly opposing Baptist groups will point to this one resolution and say, "See, they're wacky. Don't send them your money....send your money to us instead." It's a tactic the Southern Baptist Convention leaders should be able to spot.

Some of the publicity will also come from people who believe the Southern Baptist Convention bears watching like a hawk. No argument there either- sunlight is a good disinfectant.

Some of the publicity will come from members of the media who don't understand religion or the religious. It's an easy story to cover.

In the end though most Southern Baptists won't know what was approved and many of their kids will still go to public schools. They'll come home from school and still watch their Disney videos which the Southern Baptists blacklisted some years back.

My concern isn't for the Southern Baptists, the Texas Southern Baptists, the Cooperative Baptists, the Primitive Baptists, or any of the other Baptists.

My concern is for the folks who aren't churched at all...and looking for any excuse to stay that way. I think they're going to hear accusations using terms like "officially godless", and come away thinking they were right all along...there's no place in church for them.

If only we'd stick to serving many more could be fed?