A top-notch profile of Baptist ethicist, with a few caveats

I really liked Tennessean Godbeat pro Bob Smietana’s profile last year of Richard Land, then the embattled president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. But what did I think of this week’s sequel? Hey, good news: I really liked it, too. I’m referring, of course, to Smietana’s story on Russell Moore, Land’s successor. [Read More...]

In Kentucky, ‘Shiite Baptists’ and the crazy old uncle

Thou shalt not write an inflammatory newspaper column. Hell, it seems, hath no fury like a community — or a congregation — scorned in print. One of the favorite stories I wrote for The Associated Press during the 2004 presidential campaign involved the publisher of Republican George W. Bush’s hometown newspaper endorsing Democrat John Kerry: [Read More...]

Holy Scouts! Southern Baptists didn’t do what we expected!

So, when push came to shove, what did the Southern Baptist Convention decide to do about the Boy Scouts of America? To the surprise of the national press, the debate in the national convention ended up featuring a variety of voices making a variety of interesting and valid points about Scouting and its new approach [Read More...]

Calvinism debate shakes up Southern Baptist Convention

Just how much do you know about Calvinism? Former GetReligionista and current Religion News Service national correspondent Sarah Pulliam Bailey developed a short quiz to gauge readers’ knowledge: See if your score is predestined, or if you have free will to determine your score. Go ahead. Take the quiz. I scored — gulp — 58 [Read More...]

Southern Baptists on the downhill slide?

This just in from The Associated Press: Southern Baptists are having a tough time. But it’s not what you might think. Instead of declining membership and baptisms, the big worry for Southern Baptists appears to be — you guessed it — a weakening influence in American partisan politics: NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A decade ago, the Southern [Read More...]

Pod people: ‘Mass exodus’ from the Boy Scouts?

One of the wonderful things about writing is the ability to type something, decide it’s not precisely exactly what you wanted to say, delete it and start over. Alas, when you’re recording a podcast — let’s say, with Todd Wilken of “Crossroads” — you don’t have that luxury. Instead, you’re responding to questions off the cuff [Read More...]

Seven questions about Boy Scout gay policy coverage

Headlines over the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow openly gay members are still flying fast and furious. There’s been so much recent coverage, actually, that it’s impossible to critique all of it in a single post. So I thought I’d ask seven questions related to the decision and news coverage of it. 1. [Read More...]

Churches dumping Boy Scouts over gay policy … or not?

Godbeat pro Bob Smietana wrote a story this week exploring whether churches will keep sponsoring Boy Scout troops or drop their affiliation given the organization’s new gay-friendly membership policy. It’s a timely, logical religion angle. (Others who have covered that angle include ABC News and the Birmingham News.) The lede: For the Rev. Ernest Easley, the [Read More...]


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