Southern Religion

Westboro B*ptist Church takes its act to the British

Westboro B*ptist Church’s plan to picket (a favorite target) a production of The Laramie Project at Basingstoke, Hampshire, seems to bemuse the British.

Tongue in cheek, upper lip stiff, The Telegraph published “the full text” of their correspondence with hyperhomophobic Westboro over their “threatened” demonstration. It’s all deadpan questions, and the [ahem] answers.

Andrew Mueller of the Guardian reviews with scathing humor Westboro’s logic and behavior, concluding:

Fortunately, this is one of those rare, glorious situations in which the right and smart tactic is also the easy, lazy one: let them come, and let them speak. Our common sense, our liberal tradition, our language – and our rich lexicon of dismissive hand gestures – equip us amply to respond.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , , | 1 Comment

Broadway Baptist Church’s hope

Broadway Baptist Church’s views on homosexuality have brought it to be brink of expulsion from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Homosexuals have not been excluded, you see. Same-sex couples in the church directory. Yet homosexuality is not endorsed, Broadway argues.

Short shrift has not been made. Clarification has been asked by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to which the matter was referred by the SBC annual meeting last June. Action on the historic Fort Worth, Texas church’s case, delayed.

Hope is seen in this. Lyn Robbins, a Broadway member and the church’s general counsel, said after the vote:

We believe that we are in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention. Our purpose here today was to express that and also to share who Broadway is and what we are about.

The president of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, who journeyed to Nasheville to stand with Broadway Baptist, wrote:

At the end of the day work still needs to be done before there will be resolution, but this was a good day in Baptist life. I believe we took some of the stones from the walls we have used to divide us to build bridges across which we can work together for the cause of the Great Commission and the Kingdom of God.

Will this be the beginning of the end of a key division, or further diminishment of the SBC through Cathist inflexibility?


Christa Brown notes how the possibility that a church has acted in ways which “affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior” is seen here to merit SBC Executive Committee attention. Yet clergy sexual abuse is not given similar attention, because “Every Southern Baptist church is autonomous.”

The burden falls upon the Southern Baptist Convention messengers who at their annual meeting in June referred this debate over homosexual members at this one church to the executive committee.

Yet famously rejected the creation of a pedophilia database. And although abusers were found on an official church web site, took no other action to protect church members from sexually predatory clergy.

Brown’s comment is here.

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Science | , , , | 2 Comments

Papal diplomacy resurrected

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi met Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican Wednesday morning.

No journalists or other impartial observers were present.

Perhaps they were on parallel, nonintersecting timelines.

After the 15-minute audience the Vatican reported:

His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church’s consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in cooperation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.”

Speaker Pelosi’s office reported:

It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today. In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church’s leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father’s dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family’s papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren.

In neither account did the pontiff remind Speaker Polisi, who supports abortion rights, that he has said that those who don’t oppose abortion shouldn’t take communion.

Perhaps His Holiness is feeling more diplomatic of late, after jarring collisions over un-excommunications and an Austrian now-withdrawn appointment. That may displease our acquaintances on the Catholic right. And forecast calmer seas for Catholicism at large.


February 18, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Politics, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , | 1 Comment