Southern Religion

Civil marriage debate is owed balance and empirical evidence: Updated

The Charlotte Observer tells us that the Rev. Mark Harris, head of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, says he wants the a “civil” debate over same-sex marriage.

Yet they seem unsure about why he is leading a campaign to pass the proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Although he and the BSCNC made that clear to them back in November. When the BSCNC took its official stand in favor the amendment (.pdf).

The North Carolina Family Policy Council understands that the BSCNC intends to create a church-by-church political machine to get the “preservation of marriage” amendment approved and to promote the decidedly unscientific Southern Baptist view of homosexuality:

The resolution on the Marriage Protection Amendment was introduced at the meeting by Jim Jacumin, president of the BSCNC Board of Directors. It expresses the BSCNC’s official endorsement of the proposed State Constitutional amendment, which would define marriage in North Carolina as only between one man and one woman, and will be on the ballot before voters at the May 8, 2012 primary election. The resolution (.pdf) also encourages “the churches of the Baptist State Convention to vigorously organize a strong effort among their members to support passage of the Marriage Amendment in the first primary election of 2012.” In addition to encouraging its member churches to engage in “loving, redemptive ministry to homosexuals,” it also states that the “North Carolina Baptists commit ourselves to… preach and teach the truth concerning what the Bible says about the creation of and divine nature of the institution of marriage, and against any government action to accept, sanction, approve, protect or promote same-sex marriage or legal recognition of same-sex relationships.”

The CO manages to get through the entire call for “civil” debate, by the leader of one side of that debate, without mentioning the North Carolina Psychological Association. Its position on the matter (.pdf) is a model of civility. The NCPA deals with the empirical evidence, and without the least hint of a raised voice or harsh word, explain that the best empirical evidence offers no support for banning gay marriage or any other such discrimination.

That’s as civil as debate can get, and proponents of it should have found a place in the otherwise thin, lopsided CO story.


The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families has responded:

We agree with Mark Harris’ assertion that we should keep the Amendment conversation factual – and do it in a civil way. Nevertheless, this type of discourse is something not seen in other states, especially from an industry willing to pit people’s religion – as well as gross misinformation – against families. We must be willing to honor the very real emotions, including pain and fear, that these types of discriminatory measures naturally evoke, especially when North Carolina’s particular Amendment is not only a permanent ban on marriage equality and civil unions – relationship recognitions that a majority of North Carolinians support – but also strips basic benefits and protections from loving couples, women, and children, and causes substantial economic harms to families, business and the perception of the state as a whole. No one of faith – or otherwise – will sit back while families lose their health insurance, domestic violence victims lose their protections, and loving couples lose their ability to see each other in the hospital. We can’t and we won’t let that happen. We will make sure that the families of NC are protected from this harmful, extreme amendment.

-Jeremy Kennedy, Campaign Manager, The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families.


December 27, 2011 Posted by | Politics, SBC | , | 1 Comment

Christian Right politicking pretending to be prayer

Robert Parham, executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics, holds Christian Rightists’ feet to the fire for pretending their political gathering was a prayer meeting:

Conservative Christian leaders are plotting against President Obama, hoping to do to him what they did to President Jimmy Carter: use their moral authority and organizations to remove a fellow Christian from the White House.

. . .

According to Brian Kaylor’s exclusive news report, some 40 conservative Christian leaders met in early September near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport to keep Obama from being re-elected.

Their plotting discloses a lack of moral integrity. Rather than being honest, the group met under the pretense of a prayer meeting.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, there is a debate over a political speech masquerading as a prayer.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Politics, SBC | , , , , | 1 Comment

North Carolina Southern Baptists pray ‘for’ (to criticize) President Obama

Prayerful smiles may have faded at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina and controversy later ensued at the Biblical Recorder after John Alden Tagliarini wrote to Tar Heel Voices:

I was disheartened to hear prayer-time during the Monday night session of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina subverted by a prayer for the salvation of a professing believer. While it may be that none of us agree with the policies or even the social ethics of our United States President, to presume his lost condition without acknowledging, with similar severity, our own culpability smacked of pride.

Most who responded sided with the commenter, although there were a couple like James Harrington, who said:

Seriously… I mean really, are we going to criticize a man who prayed for the salvation of the president. Then we are going to say that he professes to be a Christian and that’s enough. How many people have you ever witnessed to that began by saying they were Christians but just a few short minutes reveal that not to be the case at all. Can a believer make one of his very first courses of actions as the most powerful man in the world to be to move back towards partial birth abortions (murder moments before birth).

Seriuosly… and we call the platform preachers arrogant and hypocritical! Wow!! I am praying for the salvation of the president as I hit the send button to this message

The Rev. Todd Blake may have been most clear in his response:

Follow this link and read President Obama’s welcome at a Prayer Breakfast on April 6 of this year:…/remarks-president-easter-prayer-breakfast

In his remarks, President Obama stated as a matter of fact, the resurrection of Christ Jesus. He confessed that he and all of us are sinful. He confessed what many of us have: “we believe that redemption can be delivered — by faith in Jesus Christ.”

He publicly professed his own faith in Christ Jesus. If we read this address without knowledge of who delivered it, we would possibly think it was delivered by an evangelical pastor. His politics may differ from many who are gatered in Greensboro this week, but he publicly professes faith in the same Lord as we do.

Prayers like these and the ousting of faitful servants like Normaon Jameson are two of many reasons I am not in Greensboro this week.

Bob Felton at Civil Commotion is heartened by it all:

I know it will sound odd to people in the educated parts of the country, but this is progress; recall that Wiley Drake and Steve Anderson were praying for the president’s death not so long ago.

One likely goal of Jameson’s ouster, however, is to suppress such multi-faceted debate. After all, Jameson has been accusef of a “lack of sensitivity” because he expressed far less strongly worded views.

Will Tar Heel Voices remain the open, vigorous forum it has been since long before the dawn of the Web?

We shall see.

November 12, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , | 3 Comments

Sweet BSCNC hash tag

North Carolina Southern Baptist tweeters have anointed a hash-tag: #bscnc09.


Indeed, thus far the comments discovered thereby suggest the most puddle-wonderful state convention in decades. Maybe, ever. You can’t really tell what’s going on. But it is so very nice.


Our growing list of Discovered Baptist State Convention and Baptist-related twitter hashtags.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | SBC, WWW | , | 3 Comments

BSCNC has (invisible?) staff blogging/social networking guidelines

What are the shiny, new Baptist State Convention of North Carolina staff blogging policies, we wonder?

The BSCNC account of yesterday’s action says uninformatively:

Davis also brought to the EC a policy about blogging and the use of social networking media. This policy will guide BSCNC staff as they seek to establish blogs and maintain blogs, and utilize social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) related to their work in BSCNC ministries. The EC approved this policy and it will be included in the BSCNC staff personnel manual.

Norman Jameson’s account in the N.C. Biblical Recorder was more timely and reports even less. Does that affirm BSCNC Executive Director Milton Hollifield’s view of BR’s purpose and value? Just askin’.

November 10, 2009 Posted by | SBC, WWW | , , | Comments Off on BSCNC has (invisible?) staff blogging/social networking guidelines