Southern Religion

Transition indeed


Tom Messer, who reportedly helped cover-up the child sex crimes of his church’s founding pastor, is listed as a featured speaker for the Florida Baptist Pastors Conference. Even though his is not an SBC church.

Christa reminds us that Bob Allen wrote for Ethics Daily:

A TV station in Jacksonville, Fla., reports that leaders in a prominent Baptist church in the city knew for years their former pastor was a pedophile, but covered it up for fear public knowledge would harm the church’s ministry, shipping the minister to Germany where he served 10 years as a missionary, possibly with access to other children.

. . .
The Baptist Mission for Forgotten People, where [Dr. Robert] Gray finished his ministry as a missionary, wasn’t told anything about his background for 10 years and did not find out until Gray was arrested, a spokesperson told reporter Jeannie Blaylock.

There was even news of a smoking gun tape recording. Really. Read and decide for yourself what it means. Bear in mind that claims against Gray date to 1949. Excerpts from his police interviews are here.

Messer’s Monday morning session topic: “Transition: Leading the Church to Adapt for Greater Effectiveness.”


First, shouldn’t someone speak to accountability? Also, no discussion of a solution to the overarching problem is contemplated.

Where is Florida going with this?

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Churches, SBC | , , , | Comments Off on Transition indeed

New crybabies for new atheists


Photo: Ben Rushton

Fencing theologically: Theists are the new crybabies, moaning pitiful ad hominems at the new atheists, sneers Jewish Michael Brull at Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven.

For example, Craven wrote in provocation:

Just now, we are facing one of our largest and least appealing infestations. Somewhat in advance of summer’s blowflies, we are beset by atheists. Worse, they are not traditional atheists. These tended to be quiet blokes called Algie with ancillary interests in nudist ceramics, who were perfectly happy as long as you pretended to accept a pamphlet in Flinders Lane.

… the new atheism … is so banally derivative of every piece of hate mail ever sent to God that I am amazed Satan has yet to sue for copyright infringement.

Brull’s critique included:

Rather than confronting (say) [atheist Richard] Dawkins’ arguments with counter-arguments, people like Craven, and many others like him, instead cry out: why are you picking on us? All we want is for you to respect our beliefs. And so, the crybaby theists hide behind the demand for respect, which sounds reasonable enough. The more shameless – and their ranks are represented in many religions, such as Muslims, Christians and Jews – complain that when someone criticises their religious faith, the people who belong to that religion are being subjected to abuse.

Theirs is a witty, enlightening Australian brawl that at no point descends to anything like ERLC chief Richard Land’s ham-handed misappropriations of Nazism.

In Australia’s The Age, read in order:

1. Craven here.

2. Brull here.

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on New crybabies for new atheists

The war that isn’t [continued]: Religion vs. Science

A May, 2009, Pew Research Center national survey found:

Agreed: The Positive Impact of Science

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Science | | Comments Off on The war that isn’t [continued]: Religion vs. Science

The war that isn’t: Religion vs. Science

Does science sometimes conflict with your own religious beliefs?

Close analysis this week of a Pew Research Center survey of public attitudes toward science finds the war between religion and science – a matter of heat for professional Southern Baptist fundamentalists like Southern Baptist Theological Seminary head Al Mohler – is irrelevant to most Americans.

The American ‘General public’ dimly sees a faith/science clash (col 1), but (col 2) is personally unconcerned.

Specifically, a narrow 55% majority see a faith/science conflict and 61% say science doesn’t conflict with their religious beliefs.

The Pew analysis found that most who attend church regularly have disposed of the faith/science war (Without or despite you, Al). Pew argues:

Interestingly, those who are the most religiously observant (as measured by frequency of worship service attendance) are the least likely to perceive a clash between faith and science;
Only 48% of those who attend religious services at least once a week see a conflict.
However, among those who attend worship services once a month or less, as well as those who attend rarely if ever, perception of a conflict runs higher, at 58% and 60%, respectively.
Those who have no specific religious affiliation are the most likely to perceive a conflict between religion and science (68%), while only 53% of all Protestants and Catholics feel this way.

Pew found that overwhelming majorities (84% of the general public and 80% of regular church attendees) regard science as mostly positive in impact on society and the loud voices of the culture warriors notwithstanding, even the conflict over evolution is overstated.

Pew survey data suggests in fact that it exists fundamentally in the heads of those who attend church at least weekly, among whom 49% believe “humans and other living creatures have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.”

Among those who attend monthly/yearly: 26% take that creationist stance.

Seldom or never attend: 17%.

Evolution may be most superheated of the religion/science “hot button” issues, yet it remains an overarching concern for the majority only among evangelical protestants, 55% of whom subscribe to the creationist view.

Evangelical fundamentalists have become more marginal in influence as their science-unfriendly views have lost traction with the general public.

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Religion, Science | , | Comments Off on The war that isn’t: Religion vs. Science

Tragedy told straight, confusion and all

On a day of grievous catastrophe, blighted islamophobic blogger attempts to spin tragedy into ideological gold, the Washington Post told the story straight, getting the facts right, telling of horror and the heroism, refusing to blink away the unresolved points, digging into background issues.

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Publications, Uncategorized, WWW | Comments Off on Tragedy told straight, confusion and all

Health care reform must be doing well

ERLC chief Richard Land, who confuses accusations with apologies, speaks via Baptist Press, urging members of congress to oppose the health reform legislation. Assuming any have noticed the recent pattern of his behavior, they’ll take his proclamation as an endorsement. Out of sheer astonishment, former opponents will vote for the legislation, thus ensuring its passage.

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Health, SBC | , , | 2 Comments

Nominee for most bizarre foreign-language ad

[H/T Bruce Schneier]

November 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Nominee for most bizarre foreign-language ad