“The new president of the Southern Baptist Convention says he is disturbed that many students in both public and private schools — even Christian private schools — are leaving the church once they graduate.”
Gee. Why ever would that be? Why indeed would kids leave churches full of homophobia, misogyny, and fun-hating culture-blaming nonsense?
And you know the thing is, many of them will return to a church of some kind later in life. But it probably won’t be the southern baptist one. The SB church is like a scary assed, possessed-by-the-devil looking doll I had when I was three. So comforting yet so disturbing at the same time.
Y’all will probably pooh pooh this but here goes….all SB churches are not what you describe. If this were so, I would’ve gone to another denomination long ago. Is that what they call generalizing a whole group of people? Oh gosh…I’ve just rebutted Aunt B. and I am very scared.
Well, then, those churches must not be hewing too closely to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (the expression of Baptist dogma adopted by the SBC). In the BFM, it’s clearly articulated that homosexuality is a sin, gay marriage is antithetical to the will of Christ, and that women are spiritually equal but socially unequal to their husbands in the marital estate by God’s design. That’s what the bit about graceful submission to your husband’s servant leadership would be about. http://www.sbc.net/bfm/bfm2000.aspAs far as fun-hating, well…I’ll let someone else speak to that and I can imagine that this would be determined to some degree by what one finds fun. But the homophobia and the female subordination is definitely a matter of creedal belief. If you’re not down with that, you are making a Scriptural error, according to Southern Baptists.
SistaSmiff, it isn’t "generalizing" when you delineate the official dogma of a belief-based affinity group: homophobia (yup, it’s official policy), misogyny (inequality is official policy, is that not misogyny?), fun-hating (if drinking, dancing, and fornicating are fun (and in practice most young Southern Baptists seem to say that they are)), culture-blaming (now here, it seems to me that culture-blaming is common practice, but not necessarily official policy, maybe this one should be stricken from the list).
Okay. I’m gonna try, seeing as how I chose, at 30, to go to a SB church. The first thing that is important to understand is that while the statement "homosexuality is a sin" is true, it is also a broad misconstrual of a social construct. To call that thinking "homophobia" is a gross misstatement.Culturally the SBC believes that ALL people are sinners and that all people are able to be saved from their sin solely through the Grace of God. Homosexuality, like adultery, is listed as "sexual immorality" from which all people should abstain. To be clear, this is the paragraph in the BFM that addresses homosexuality:"In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth."That doesn’t ring as "homophobic" to me, or to the many SBC congregants who proudly love the gay members of their family, their gay friends or their gay selves. (Yes, there are gay SBCers)I always think it’s interesting. If the SBC members were a tribe of pygmies in New Guinea outsiders would accept their belief systems as an internal social paradigm. But for some reason we are not a polite curiosity, but an object of scorn.
Now, Smiff, you make me blush! I am honored to have been rebutted by you.I will say that I didn’t read this as 88% of kids are leaving the SBC. I thought it was that 88% of kids are leaving evangelical churches and that it’s just the new president of the SBC who wants to do something about it.Here’s the problem Evangelical churches have, which is the same problem strident anti-drug programs have. You make up a list of evil things that will rot and corrupt your soul (or, in the case of the anti-drug zealots, you make up a list of evil substances that will rot and corrupt your soul). And many of the things on there are actually harmful. You will desperately hurt people you made explicit and implicit promises to (including yourself) if you fuck around on your spouse, for instance. You will hurt yourself and your loved ones if you do crack.But these kids are like kids who try pot and nothing bad happens. They listen to a little rap or play some Grand Theft Auto or kiss another boy and nothing bad happens. And so they feel lied to.And who wants to hang out with a bunch of liars?Or, if they’ve actually listened and observed people, they know those people are hypocrites–that the very folks who tell you not to fuck around on your spouse are fucking around on their spouses.Who wants to hang out with a bunch of hypocrites?Any belief system based on fear is going to lose people who are tired of being afraid. It will also attract people who want their fears justified.All that being said, you know better than I do that the SBC is a complicated, ornry mess of folks who are hard-headed and well-meaning and individual churches have the autonomy to do things however they want regardless of what the SBC says.All this to say that I’m well aware that folks who go to Southern Baptist churches are not all women-hating homophobes devoted to ruining my fun. But I am also aware the women-hating homophobia is the public face of the SBC. And that the tension between who has the authority to decide what is "Southern Baptist" behavior and what is not really cannot be resolved with the way that your church is set up. The national SBC acts as if they can proclaim things from on high and expect all y’all to scurry around making the changes they demand. And y’all never do. Why should your children be any different?So, when Frank Page sits there confused about these kids who don’t go to church, I find it hilarious. Kids have never acted how adults want them to. Shoot, even Socrates complained, "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers."
Coble, there are sixteen million of y’all in the United States. It’s not as if you’re some small, self-contained sect. Once you start sending people to Congress and getting them elected president, you’ve just got to accept that outsiders are going to feel invested in you and your behaviors.
I think reading even more holistically helps here. The BFM states that marriage is only between a man and a woman. It also states that sexual congress is sinful outside marriage. That means that in the SBC, gays cannot get married. Thus, any sex they would have is sinful. Gayness is not just about sex, obviously, but it would seem to me that on the face of it denying a human the capacity for sexual expression (with sexual identity being intricably bound up as it is with personal identity) could be construed as an act of hatefulness, no matter how well-intentioned or lovingly offered the admonition to righteousness.Individuals within the SBC may, to a greater or lesser extent, tow the dogmatic line. Many within the SBC make loving exceptions for family members and friends with whom they wish to continue in fellowship. But the SBC as a body does reject homosexuality as a Scriptural abomination and categorizes homosexual sex as damnable. Maybe I’m just not clear on what you think homophobia is.
If homosexuality is a sin, and people are genetically predisposed to homesexual behavior, then the fault lies with The Manufacturer.
B said: But I am also aware the women-hating homophobia is the public face of the SBCHow I cringe everytime Richard Land shows up on tv. I think in the coming years, you will see a different face on the SBC as some of these old geezers die out.
I think that’s true, too. Dr. J.’s uncle is a Southern Baptist preacher and professor and he gave for her one of the most beautiful, feminist friendly weddings I’ve ever been to. I asked him why he stays Southern Baptist and he said that it’s important to him to stay and fight for the church he loves.That’s always stuck with me.
It does seem like there are very different faces to the SBC in practice, if not in their written creed. Though my uncle seems the exception rather than the rule. I’ve never pushed him on the homosexuality issue. One of his very close friends at Baptist seminary was gay–not openly, I’m sure. Now that would be a person to hear from. I hope there are a lot of people out there that have different ideas from the doctrine, and that the church will eventually come around to a more inclusive kind of love. Sadly, I saw the other face of the SBC at my grandparents’ church down in Columbia, Tennessee, on Independence Day weekend. I heard a prayer about how "Jesus died for our freedom." (Plimco said that with that comment she got a mental image of Jesus on the cross wearing a stars-and-stripes loin cloth with fireworks exploding in the background.) And then what was basically a reiteration of the Republican platform about gay marriage, abortion, and even "staying the course" in Iraq. "I’m going to make a prophecy today(!)," he said, "This is going to be the next 100 years war." Wow. I have never been more uncomfortable in my life. I almost walked out, and would have, except for the fact that it would’ve upset my grandparents. After this screed there was a "call to the altar," like they do in Baptist churches, and I just thought, "What a travesty!" That sermon had nothing at all to do with the teachings of Jesus and the humility and love associated with being a Christian. No one came to the altar. My one protest was to scoot out without shaking the man’s hand.