Archive for the ‘Southern Baptist’ Category

Southern Baptist leader on immigration order: ‘I’m trying to figure out what the problem is’

Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, has served as one of the contrary conservative voices when it comes to immigration reform.

Land, part of the bureaucracy of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, has repeatedly warned Republicans that they risk being on the wrong side of history when it comes to demanding that millions of illegal immigrants, who have lived here for years, exit the country.

This morning on CNN, Land discussed President Barack Obama’s executive order to establish a system of deportation waivers for young people brought here by their illegal immigrant parents. Note that Land does not challenge the legality of Obama’s action. Here’s an abridged transcript:

”These people that were covered by this executive order – this is the low-hanging fruit of immigration reform. These young people – 99.9 percent of them – have done nothing wrong. They didn’t bring themselves …

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‘Southern’ Baptist no more?

One of the most iconic cultural brands in America may be on the verge of shedding half its name. Perhaps because of the regional stigma, and perhaps because of an identity with partisan politics. From the Associated Press:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The nation’s largest Protestant denomination will definitely remain “Baptist,” but leaders are thinking about whether it will be “Southern” for much longer.

Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright was expected to present the recommendation of a task force assigned to study a name change to the denomination’s executive committee at a meeting Monday night. Any name change would have to be approved at the SBC’s annual conventions the next two years.

Wright has said he is concerned the name is too regional and hinders efforts to plant new churches outside of the South. Others outside of church leadership say the name has become a liability because it is too often associated with divisive, partisan politics.

Either way, a recent …

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The GOP debate over Mormonism breaks into open

The Republican debate over Mormonism officially broke into the open this afternoon. From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The pastor who introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry at a conservative gathering Friday said rival presidential candidate Mitt Romney is not a Christian and is in a cult because he is a Mormon.

Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, endorsed Perry at the Values Voters Summit, introducing him as “a proven leader, a true conservative, and a committed follower of Christ.”

After his remarks, Jeffress told reporters that Perry’s religion is different from Romney’s.

“Rick Perry’s a Christian. He’s an evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ,” Jeffress said. “Mitt Romney’s a good moral person, but he’s not a Christian. Mormonism is not Christianity. It has always been considered a cult by the mainstream of Christianity.”

Romney is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose members …

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Your morning jolt: Southern Baptists could support DREAM act, leader says

A leader of the most influential religious denomination within the GOP says the children of illegal immigration should be given a place in the United States. From the Associated Press:

A Southern Baptist Convention leader says the group’s policy arm supports a version of the DREAM Act — the proposed law that would allow illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to earn legal status, either by going to college or serving in the military.

Richard Land, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, made the statement in a Monday letter to Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and John Cornyn, R-Texas, who are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Land wrote that his commission could support the DREAM Act, with conditions. One condition would be making sure the bill does not allow young adults who gain legal status to help their relatives gain legal status or enter …

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Your morning jolt: Nathan Deal heads south, Karen Handel courts the coast

The two surviving candidates in the Republican race for governor on Thursday moved into territory once held by defeated comrades.

While Nathan Deal followed I-75 to south Georgia, Karen Handel was on the coast for a meeting with the editorial board of the local newspaper — which had endorsed homeboy and former senator Eric Johnson in the July 20 primary.

We weren’t there to here the pitch from the former secretary of state, but Larry Peterson of the Savannah Morning News was.

Handel told editors it was a “disgrace” that Nathan Deal, her runoff rival, didn’t reveal that he was “associated” with a federal grand jury investigation into a ‘09 meeting with state officials about his business dealings with the state.

Said Handel:

“Heaven forbid,” [she said], “if it had come forward and Nathan Deal was our nominee.

“The GOP would be in big trouble. And that would mean he put his interests ahead of the greater interests.”

Now, about this Johnson fellow — who so far has endorsed neither …

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Southern Baptists, Obama and illegal immigration

A Customs and Border Patrol agent patrols along the international border in Nogales, Ariz. AP

A Customs and Border Patrol agent patrols along the international border in Nogales, Ariz. AP

For the next 13 days, all stops are off when it comes to debating the issue of illegal immigration.

The Obama administration’s court challenge to the Arizona law that gives its peace officers the authority to stop and impound undocumented residents is already serving as a stick to a wasp nest in Georgia’s race for governor.

Former congressman Nathan Deal’s first TV ad of the primary season on Wednesday focused on illegal immigration and a promise that Georgia would soon have an Arizona-style law.

On the answering machines of tens of thousands of GOP voters, former secretary of state Karen Handel left a message of endorsement from Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer. Expect to see Brewer at Handel’s side before the July 20 vote.

The climate doesn’t brook dissent. Democrats have been uniformly silent on the Arizona issue.

So it comes as something of a surprise to learn that one of the …

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What the Southern Baptist leader said about Barack Obama’s speech on immigration reform

President Barack Obama arrives to speak about immigration at American University in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama arrives to speak about immigration at American University in Washington. AP/Charles Dharapak

President Barack Obama today made his first major speech on immigration reform, decrying the lack of Republican interest.

From the text posted by the Wall Street Journal:

“Just a few years ago, when I was a senator, we forged a bipartisan coalition in favor of comprehensive reform. Under the leadership of Senator Kennedy, who had been a longtime champion of immigration reform, and Senator John McCain, we worked across the aisle to help pass a bipartisan bill through the Senate. But that effort eventually came apart. And now, under the pressures of partisanship and election-year politics, many of the 11 Republican senators who [worked toward] reform in the past have now backed away from their previous support.”

Obama didn’t call them out by name, but one presumes that the 11 GOP senators include Georgia’s Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss – who endured a deal …

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Health care reform and a plea for civility

James Newman, dressed as George Washington, shouts supports during a rally against health care reform proposals in Centennial Olympic Park. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

James Newman, a.k.a. George Washington, during a rally against health care reform proposals in Centennial Olympic Park. Brant Sanderlin, bsanderlin@ajc.com

We seem to have forgotten how to disagree without being disagreeable.

No punches were thrown at this weekend’s health care forums in metro Atlanta. But at U.S. Rep. David Scott’s event in Jonesboro, each side felt the need to bring its own posse to shout down the opposition.

Boos and hisses rose up from those against the several Democratic plans for health care reform in Congress. They were met with chants of “Yes, we can!” from proponents.

The event was held in a local high school, which only partially explains why the affair seemed more like a pair of competing pep rallies than an authentic discussion of the issue.

Immediately afterwards, in Centennial Park, firebrands stoked a Saturday afternoon crowd that had already made up its mind about changes to the nation’s health care system now contemplated in …

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Republicans, Limbaugh, Gingrich — and that old-time religion

If you are of a certain age and of a certain regionally based faith, the debilitating debate within Republican ranks, one that pits purity against inclusion, might seem more than familiar.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Southern Baptist Convention, then and now the largest Protestant denomination in America, was enveloped in a bitter power struggle between modernists and traditionalists. Biblical inerrancy was the primary litmus test, but there were many others.

Because both sides in the fight claimed the mantle of conservatism, they were dubbed “fundamentalists” and “moderates.” Biblical literalists eventually won, in part because Southern Baptist government is based on convention elections, not unlike the nation’s two political parties. And elections are won by the motivated, the outraged — the activists.

The parallels with the current Republican party, with which the SBC has been closely aligned since Ronald Reagan and the early 1980s, are obvious, even …

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Putting out feelers for an Obama-Reagan approach to nukes

If you’re a religious conservative, it’s hard not to feel a little unwanted.

Every day, it seems, another state accepts gay marriage as a social reality. The national Republican party is locked in a life-and-death debate over whether your principles should remain the foundation of its platform.

Your influence over U.S. Supreme Court decisions may be at the high-water mark, with prospects of a drought to come.

But you have friends. Some people — new allies, in fact — have begun to seek you out, because they know your participation and support is essential.

They are semi-official emissaries from the gray world of U.S. foreign policy — advocates of an effort to rid the world of its nuclear weapons before some terrorist gets his hands on one.

Sam Nunn, the former Georgia senator, is a part of the new diplomatic effort. His Washington organization, the Nuclear Threat Initiative, is underwriting an effort to put the message in front of as many evangelical leaders and …

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