Southern Baptist Leaders Back Endorsements
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Fri Sep 24, 2010 at 12:57:27 PM EST
In the early eighties Southern Baptist prominent figures like Bailey Smith, Charles Stanley, James Robison, Ed McAteer, Adrian Rogers and W. A. Criswell helped start the religious right ball rolling.  According to Paul Weyrich's recollection, the formula for motivation was not what we had believed.  The late Weyrich, one of the founding fathers of the movement, commented on what shocked him about the excitement he found in their hostility against a fellow Southern Baptist, Jimmy Carter.  Weyrich claims the groups he met with were not that interested in abortion or gay rights. It was Carter's stand denying government support for Christian segregated schools.1  Weyrich, like others have surmised, said the race card provided the momentum.  
     Richard Land, head of the religious liberty commission in the SBC, is a vocal advocate for religious right activities.  His latest move was to grant Alan Sears, head of the Alliance Defense League, a religious liberty award.  Sears is the point man who encouraged pastors across the land to disregard 501c3 regulations and endorse political candidates from the pulpit.2   Land has flip flopped on the issue before.  He once praised then scorned the Jones bill from the North Carolina legislator.  This bill would have allowed churches to use their resources to embrace secular candidates.  His blessing given to Sears evidently represents his true colors.
     The Wittenburg  Door research center claims Southern Baptist Mike Huckabee made a deal with Ken Copeland.3  Fox News analyst Mike is a former Baptist minister and candidate for President.  Copeland is one of the founders of the popular prosperity gospel movement.   Copeland, who allegedly runs a pyramid scheme with other pastors, has moved past the millionaire status to billionaire.  He has a chummy relationship with Huckabee.  When Copeland was being investigated by the Glasser Committee in regards to his extravagant lifestyle, he sought out Huckabee who promised to get him off the hook with the government investigation.  
     Southern Baptists in Oklahoma have found such items fertile ground for secular political agendas.  One church is recorded holding a revival/type invitation in the church to ask people to come forward responding to an altar call to join up with such.  The state Baptist convention owns the largest church camp in the world known as Falls Creek.  The recent program director of the camp held access to the state's churches through promotional channels with the convention.  His name is James Lankford, and he is now running for political office in the state. He scored a major upset in a congressional Republican primary on July 27, 2010. Huckabee and J.C. Watts both endorsed Lankford. 4
     Rev. Paul Blair, who has connections both with the Chicago Bears football team and the John Birch Society, is another Oklahoma example.  His Fairview Baptist church in Edmond, Oklahoma is behind him in his endeavors.  Blair believes the ban on electioneering by nonprofits is unconstitutional.  He hosted a recent conference on these items and featured speakers included former SBC President Bailey Smith, Rick Scarborough, and David Barton.  Blair believes, like Birchers, a secret world order is inevitable, but we do not have..." to roll over and play dead."5
     Richard Land provides the doctrinal base for such items.  He suggests Christians have used the First Amendment as an excuse to stay out of civic affairs.  Just exactly who these peoples are has never been confirmed.  It is often a story waged in these circles that Christians have felt banished from the public square by the Constitution. Land advises, "All the restrictions in the First Amendment are on the government, not on people of faith,"  Land explained.  6        

1. 8/26/2010
2.  8/23/2010
3. 9/20/2010
4.    Southern Baptist Texan, Aug. 9, 2010, pg. 9.
5.    Joseph Conn, "Offsides in Oklahoma", Church and State,  Sept. 2010.
6.    Jill Waggner, Baptist Press, as seen in Southern Baptist Texan, April 5, 2010, pg. 16.


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