Sunday, June 19, 2016

I've been repudiated by the Southern Baptists

I missed church this morning. After listening to some bluegrass and Southern gospel music on the radio, I went out and spent the rest of the day cutting brush on our place and trying to eradicate poison ivy.
The reason I missed church is because I have been repudiated by denominational leaders and by my fellow Southern Baptists.
Southern Baptists, who have long been known as folks who oppose what they call the sins of drinking, dancing and gambling, this past week created a new sin to rail against.
Flying or displaying the Confederate battle flag was repudiated by the Southern Baptists at their annual national convention held this year in a city near Ferguson, Missouri. They also declared that a real, true Christian won't, or shouldn't, have a thing to do with that evil banner.
“The Cross and the Confederate flag cannot co-exist without one setting the other on fire,” Russell Moore, president of the Baptist denomination's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said afterwards. “Let’s pray for wisdom, work for justice, love our neighbors. And let’s take down that flag.”
Here's the bumper sticker and me with a different cap.
I marked the occasion by attaching a Confederate bumper sticker to my car. I was wearing a Pride of the South cap with Gen. Stonewall Jackson's picture on it while doing so. i think Dr. Moore and the rest of the Southern Baptist Convetion would have preferred that I put a rainbow sticker on my car or attached a rainbow flag to the radio antenna.
I've attended one Southern Baptist church or another since I was a baby, although I do not claim to be a wonderful Christian nor have I ever been accused of being one. I suppose now that I've been repudiated overwhelmingly by the Baptists that I must either burn my Confederate flag and my Civil War books or quit going to church. I'm not going to burn any flag or books.  I'll cut brush instead.
What the Baptists did sounds like a load of horse crap to me.
They passed something called “Resolution 7: On Sensitivity and Unity Regarding the Confederate Battle Flag” by an overwhelming majority.
That resolution notes that Baptists need to “rise up and cry out against racism that still exists in our nation and in our churches” at this “desperate hour.”
And what is the absolutely best thing you can do to rise up and cry against racism?
Well, according to the Baptists, you say this: “We recognize that the Confederate battle flag is used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people... .”
Well, dadgum, the United States flag is “perceived by many” as an evil symbol. It offends, worldwide, probably billions of people, which is why every now and again some Muslim kills an American or two or 50 or 3,000.
Our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” offends people, even some of our fellow Americans. Some American people won't stand or take off their hats or put their hands on their hearts to show their appreciation for their country.
The Bible is offensive to many people.
My goodness, the Cross itself may be more offensive to more people than the Confederate battle flag.
Will the Baptists give those up because they offend? Lord, I hope not.
Southern Baptists began because of a question of whether slaveholders could be missionaries. That was a different time with different attitudes and understandings. We look back now and say "How could they do that? Or think that? Or believe that?" Well, I'll bet someday people will look at us and say the same thing about our view of the LGBTQ's (and I think there is also an I and an A on there now).
There has apparently been a lot of white guilt among Baptists since then, although I have never experienced it personally.
Recently the media have been hounding us all about how racist we are, so the Baptists seem to have decided that they could get some relief from that hounding by turning attention and concentrating on the Confederate battle flag as the “symbol of evil” to repudiate and ban.
I display the Missouri battle flag. (Notice brush trimmeings on the ground.)
The Baptists' action has been met with huge accolades from the national media, and that's what is important to them.
Of course, the Baptists noted in their resolution that they “recognize that, ... the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public display is not going to solve the most severe racial tensions that plague our nation and churches” so they understand that their resolution is meaningless.
But, the Baptists say, a good Christian will understand that the flag is offensive and will “put the consciences of others ahead of their own interests and actions” and stop displaying the battle flag.
Here's the key point of the resolution: “We call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters ...”
As a topping, the resolution adds that “we urge fellow Christians to exercise sensitivity so that nothing brings division or hinders the unity of the Body of Christ to be a bold witness to the transforming power of Jesus.”
In other words, if anything offends someone else, you must not do it because it might cause division.
That sounds like political correctness.
I don't know anything much more divisive than this resolution. The Baptists take a simplistic view of the so-called Civil War and ask us to be ashamed of what those folks did in the antebellum South, as well as in the so-called Civil War.
Some of us honor the stands taken by Southerners against federal control and taxation. Those people were heroes whose states were invaded and whose homes were burned as they fought to defend themselves. Hundreds of thousands were killed.
Many, maybe most of those Southerners were Christian believers, although now the Baptists look back and say they weren't real, true Christians but evil-doers. I
think the Baptists have taken a shameful action in this resolution.

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