Monday, June 22, 2009

Down the Primrose Path

That's George W. Bush in 2005, addressing the delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention, the wholly owned subsidiary of the national Republican Party.

That call & response cheerleading may be a contributing factor to why the Charlotte Observer says this a.m. that the Southern Baptists have awakened to a perceptible decline in their numbers. Writes Yonat Shimron:
Having pushed out moderates and liberals during its decades-long revolution, the convention, which gathers in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday, is finding itself losing members and performing fewer baptisms.

Although the losses are not dramatic -- membership in the SBC fell by 38,482 people, about 0.2 percent, in 2008 -- they are particularly painful for a denomination whose singular reason for being is to make converts.

In other words, if you're a Baptist and not nailing new pelts to the cabin walls, you're certainly a failure if not something of a disgrace. At least that's what they used to tell us kids in Sunday School. (So I'd march right out and try -- unsuccessfully -- to convert my nearest neighbor, who bought her likker from my own bootlegging great-aunt. I never attempted to convert that aunt, given the odds ... and the personal hazard.)

Anyway, reporter Shimron works the margins of the whole big problem of a major American religious organization getting itself so thoroughly associated with a now failed politics, and what the fall-out from that association might end up being.

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