Southern Religion

Baptist Press -> SBC=GOP

Baptist Press and Richard Land have this week branded the Southern Baptist Convention “Property of the GOP.”

Friday BP published a GOP position piece headline Rep.: Health care plan would lead to abortion increase, based upon undocumented, unproven assertions of Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

The BP story refers to “a new poll released Thursday” without revealing that it is a Public Opinion Strategies poll. Public Opinion Strategies is “a national Republican political and public affairs research firm with its roots in political campaigns.”

Bruce Prescott objects that “the article is part of an ongoing campaign against health care reform by the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. Central to that campaign was the delivery of more than a million signatures to congress opposing health-care reform. The petitions were delivered by Richard Land, head of the SBC’s wed-to-the-hip-of-the-GOP, tax exempt, political action arm.”

Prescott’s language is too little strident for our taste, and although we cannot defend the statistical assertions in that blog, the campaign he perceives does appear to be under way.

No surprise here, for the Religious Right of which Land is a well-recognized member has is well-understood as a creature of the Republican Party. Indeed, Bush-era White House visitor logs disclosed in response to a request from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington show that Religious Right leaders were frequently in and out. Of course. For as Mark Silk observes:

Their care and feeding has been important to Republican presidents since Reagan, and helps explain their domestication within the GOP.

Are Southern Baptists in general comfortable having the denominational voice raised in coordination with a campaign which included today’s 9/12 march, with all of its sponsoring groups? Some of those groups are remarkably secular and some are somewhat radical.


September 13, 2009 - Posted by | Churches, Politics, SBC | , , ,

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