Southern Baptists Pause in the Face of Dominionism
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Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 03:51:23 PM EST
For the first time since 1979, Baptists appear to be hesitating about the relentless rightward thrust toward Dominionism within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Over the past two days Southern Baptists have elected their most moderate President since 1979, have refused to request that its women's mission organization submit to denominational control, and have refused to approve a resolution calling for an "exit strategy" from public schools.

Is this a trend or just a pause in the advance of Dominionism within the SBC?  

I suspect that it is merely an unexpected pause in the denomination's trend toward Dominionism.  Here's why:

1.  The new technology of internet blogging had a lot to do with the surprising election of a President of the SBC who is more moderate than convention powerbrokers would like.  Frank Page's candidacy benefitted from his late entry into a race for an office that has been uncontested several years.  The old guard powerbrokers who control the convention did not have time to organize a get-out-the-vote effort for their candidate.  All they had time to do was to publicize the endorsement of their candidate by three seminary Presidents.  

In future elections, whether next year or the year after, we can expect to see the old fundamentalist political machine reactivated along with slanderous smear campaigns against opponents, coordinated propaganda publications, blogging campaigns, and get-out-the-vote efforts.  The Dominionists will surely work to shore up their denominational base in order to secure the credibility necessary to suport their forays into national political dominion.

2.  While the new president of the SBC is more moderate than past leaders, he is not a "Mainstream" Baptist.  He an "irenic conservative" that  professes to be an "inerrantist" who is not mad about it.  It is entirely possible that he will merely put a friendlier face and a smile on the ongoing efforts of Southern Baptists to dominate the secular political processes of this country.  

To the extent that Frank Page rekindles Baptist memory of their traditional support for church-state separation, he will be a threat to the Dominionists and Christian Nationalists leading the agencies and institutions of the SBC and will be attacked by them.

  1.  Baptists have consistently refused to approve resolutions for an "exit strategy" from public schools.  They have, however, endorsed resolutions calling for public schools to be investigated for promoting a "homosexual agenda."  In their mind, tolerance education and sex education are part of a "homosexual agenda."  Calls to exit the public schools will not gain traction until the Supreme Court rules that private religious schools can receive vouchers.  That possibility is no longer remote.  It is nearly a certainty in the not too distant future.

  2.  While Southern Baptists don't mind their women's mission agency being independent, they still expect wives to be "graciously submissive" to their husbands.  Strong, independent women have little place in Baptist life unless they are promoting the doctrine of male supremacy.



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Here are some links to stories about this years SBC meeting:

Associated Baptist Press

Ethics Daily

Mainstream Baptist

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 03:55:50 PM EST

I just read about this in Daily Kos. It seems that bloggers and the whole 'netroots' phenomenon is starting to really have an impact- and in unexpected places.

by Lorie Johnson on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 04:21:54 PM EST
Parent
Christian Nationalists, Dominionists, Reconstructionists and plain old Fundamentalists can blog as easily as moderate and progressive Christians.

There will be a response by those who have seized control by more traditional and conventional means.

The new reality is that those now in control can no longer prevent those that they want to suppress from having an unfiltered voice.  In the past, dissidents depended on journalists and others to get their story right and tell it to the world.  Today, dissidents can communicate directly to the world.

by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 05:44:01 PM EST
Parent

The big telecoms, in pushing for a system whereby Net traffic flow rates get controlled by big financial interests, are aligned with the interests of Dominionism.

by Bruce Wilson on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 06:21:30 AM EST
Parent




"Calls to exit the public schools will not gain traction until the Supreme Court rules that private religious schools can receive vouchers.  That possibility is no longer remote."

It's also not going to be the blessing they think it's going to be. If I might take a short tangent on this....

I live in BC, where my children's (non-denominational) private school education is financed in part by generous provincial vouchers. (The decision to do this appears to have been pragmatic, not religious: paying to send kids to private schools keeps the province from having to build new public ones.)

However, nobody at the SBC seems to have reckoned with the key lesson of BC's experience, which is: When you take the government's money, you become subject to the government's terms. Here, those terms dictate that every school, public or private, religious or secular, must teach to the province's standard curriculum. Every student is expected to pass the same annual tests -- and you better believe there's no creationist "science" and no revisionist "history" in the books or on the exam.

Kids in religious schools can pray, attend chapel, and take religious studies electives -- and that's about it. Any religious school that demurred from teaching the standard curriculum would lose both its accreditation and its voucher money -- and would soon be out of business.

If/when vouchers come to the US, it won't be five years before taxpayers and the government start trying to assert the same kind of control over religious schools. They will insist -- and rightly so -- on knowing what they're getting for their investment. And, pressed for justification and subject to a whole new level of accountability, the SBC is  going to rue the day it ever tore down that wall and took our money.

They could read it right there in the Bible: selling your soul is never the bargain it first appears to be. But it looks like the SBC is resolutely determined to learn this lesson the hard way instead.

by Mrs Robinson on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 08:04:08 PM EST

The experience in BC is a good example what people at the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty (James Dunn, Melissa Rogers, Brent Walker, Hollyn Hollman) have both been saying for years -- "shackles" will come with government "sheckels."

Nobody in the Religious Right is listening.


by Mainstream Baptist on Wed Jun 14, 2006 at 09:51:04 PM EST
Parent


One thing that really gets me about the school vouchers thing is the proponents' assumption that moving our kids (and our money) to the "good" schools will serve as a wake-up call to the "bad" schools to clean up their act, and everyone will be the better of for it.

WRONG!

What's far more likely is the (further) development of a permanent educational "caste system," if you will. People will take their kids, and their money, out of those awful public schools, leaving those "bad" schools - the majority of which are in inner cities and other poor areas - further impoverished, with even fewer resources than before to enable them to improve.

And don't anyone ever tell me that "everyone will have the choice." Being "allowed to choose" to send your kid(s) to a "better" school may look good on paper, but real access to that choice is dependent on other factors, such as transportation. Being "allowed to choose" a better school for your children isn't worth a flying fish in a hurricane if you have no way to get them there. You want "left behind"? We'll give you "left behind"!

The school-voucher thing is not an opt-out; it's a cop-out, as is much of the "home-schooling movement." It completely ignores the fact that in a democratic society, every one of us has a vested interest in ensuring a decent education not only for our own kids but for every kid in the entire country. An educated populace is essential to a democratic society, and our political system simply can't function effectively if its citizens don't have the knowledge to make informed decisions.

Today's students will be making the decisions for all of us in the future. Personally, I want those decision-makers to know what they're doing!


by anomalous4 on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 12:32:32 PM EST
Parent

I couldn't agree with you more.

by Mainstream Baptist on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 01:00:09 PM EST
Parent

How is homeschooling a cop-out that ignores the fact that in a democratic society, every one of us has a vested interest in ensuring a decent education not only for our own kids but for every kid in the entire country?

Homeschoolers still pay taxes that support public schools.  Paying property taxes which support public schools is not dependent on having children attending public school.

Homeschoolers also have to follow the curriculum and homeschooled children still have to pass the same state tests.  I don't see how choosing to educate a person's children themselves instead of drug and gang infested inner-city schools is a cop out.  Seems to me that is parents taking more responsibilty for their own children rather than foisting them off on the public school system and then blaming society when they do something bad.

I agree with you on vouchers, because vouchers take money out of the public school system, but homeschoolers still support the public schools without taxing the resources of the public schools.

by DanielR on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 02:17:56 PM EST
Parent


The school-voucher thing is not an opt-out; it's a cop-out, as is much of the "home-schooling movement." It completely ignores the fact that in a democratic society, every one of us has a vested interest in ensuring a decent education not only for our own kids but for every kid in the entire country.

Many of us who homeschool(ed) do care about decent educations for all children (as if that is the reality).  Many of us were active in our children's schools before we began homeschooling, and made the choice to homeschool only after jumping through school-hoops that resulted in no changes.    (my own children were A-students, so the problem was not personal disagreement with teachers, or anything like that)

For many of us homeschooling parents, the choice was to continue to work within a system that ignored our concerns (many times through 'majority rule' because others accepted with the way things were).  We could sacrifice our own children (in our view) while working for a nebulous future benefit, or we could put our energy to work where it wasn't squandered.  In terms of stewardship, my own energy was better used in the context of my primary responsibility (my family) rather than that of an institution supported by more people and money than I could possibly stand up to. (pedagogical, not religious at all)

I agree that the purported "choice" concerning vouchers is dependent on availability and transportation.  If all children choose to leave School A for School B, and if School B has only the room to accept [School B + 50] children, then the [School A - 50] children will still be stuck in School A.

There is also the argument that by removing my children from the school (while the school is still receiving tax money), the teachers were better able to concentrate on the children who need their help more, although it doesn't seem to work that way.

Rationing Education In an Era of Accountability

"Take out your classes' latest benchmark scores," the consultant told them, "and divide your students into three groups. Color the 'safe cases,' or kids who will definitely pass, green. Now, here's the most important part: identify the kids who are 'suitable cases for treatment.' Those are the ones who can pass with a little extra help. Color them yellow. Then, color the kids who have no chance of passing this year and the kids that don't count -- the 'hopeless cases' -- red. You should focus your attention on the yellow kids, the bubble kids. They'll give you the biggest return on your investment."


by ValerieM on Thu Jun 15, 2006 at 02:20:06 PM EST
Parent




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