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Former Presidents Carter & Clinton call for 'A New Baptist Covenantí
Baptist Press ^ | Jan 10, 2007 | Erin Roach

Posted on 01/11/2007 8:59:58 AM PST by presidio9

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have proposed the establishment of a broadly inclusive alternative Baptist movement to counter what they called a negative image of Baptists and to address poverty, the environment and global conflicts.

Carter and Clinton kicked off their plans with a news conference Jan. 9 at the Carter Center in Atlanta, flanked by leaders of moderate Baptist groups including the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, a breakaway group of an unverified number of churches that objected to the election of conservative leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention. Carter and Clinton announced a “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant,” tentatively set for Jan. 30-Feb. 1, 2008, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, which they hope will attract 20,000 Baptists.

“This is a historic event for the Baptists in this country and perhaps for Christianity,” Carter said at the news conference.

About 80 leaders of 40 moderate Baptist organizations claiming to represent 20 million Baptists in the United States, Canada and Mexico met at the Carter Center for the announcement. Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention were not invited to attend.

“This is an attempt to bring people together and say, ‘What would our Christian witness require of us in the 21st century?’” Clinton said, adding that his goal is to be a “cheerleader” for the group.

Bill Underwood, president of Mercer University in Georgia, said at the news conference that the 2008 meeting is meant to draw attention away from “the Baptists who have the microphone,” meaning conservative leaders who frequently appear in the media voicing conservative views.

“North America desperately needs a true Baptist witness,” Underwood said.

Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C., took issue with Underwood’s assertion and Carter’s and Clinton’s remarks apparently aimed at Southern Baptists.

“Instead of engaging in a war of words, let’s do a reality check,” Page told Baptist Press. “Word games are fine, but reality says Southern Baptists are presenting a positive life-changing message, impacting our culture with our ministries and sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Carter and Clinton “said they want to counter concerns that Baptists have been ‘negative’ and ‘exclusionary’ and promised an inclusive organization willing to debate openly on all issues.”

Morris H. Chapman, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee, said that Carter’s concerns about negative perceptions of Baptists ring hollow.

“He has been one of the most vocal critics of Southern Baptists, using ‘fundamentalist’ as a pejorative and drawing a caustic comparison between Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in Iran and the resurgence of conservative leadership being elected in the SBC,” Chapman wrote to Baptist Press.

Chapman also disputed Carter’s and Clinton’s notion about a negative perception of Baptists.

“Research shows this premise is false,” he said. “Zogby International conducted a survey for the SBC that showed adults view Southern Baptists favorably, equally to their views about Catholics and United Methodists. Not surprisingly, we fared best in areas where we have a strong presence and the community at large experiences our ministries and is familiar with our beliefs."

Tentative themes for plenary sessions at the 2008 meeting in Atlanta, according to a CBF communications report, are: Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant, Unity in Bringing Good News to the Poor, Unity in Respecting Religious Diversity, Unity in Seeking Peace with Justice and Unity in Welcoming the Stranger and Healing the Broken-Hearted.

Both Page and Chapman addressed Clinton’s and Carter’s statements that the gathered group offered something new for Baptists.

Page pointed out that although Southern Baptists are painted as a white denomination, “It was not long ago that the Saturday Evening Post described the Southern Baptist Convention as 'the most ethnically diverse of all U.S. Protestant denominations.'”

According to SBC data for 2002, 4,742 out of 43,071 churches identified themselves as predominately ethnic, with 2,085 describing themselves as African-American. The SBC does not keep demographic information on individuals, so churches identified as predominately one race may have diversity among their members not reported in the data.

Chapman defended Southern Baptists’ record of ministering to the poor.

"Southern Baptists address world hunger in many ways, but a good example this past year was their giving $5.8 million, collected by the SBC Executive Committee, with every penny going solely to combat this global tragedy," Chapman said.

According to budget allocations, about 20 percent of funds collected for the SBC’s World Hunger Fund are used in the United States and 80 percent overseas.

“In the U.S. alone, Southern Baptists provided over 5 million meals,” he said. “The great difference in our approach from liberals is that in ministering to the body, we do not neglect the needs of the soul, and the Gospel was shared with over 500,000 people with over 32,000 professions of faith resulting.

“When we offer a loaf of bread, no strings attached, we also present Jesus as the Living Bread and lives are changed both physically and spiritually,” Chapman told BP.

The 2008 confabulation Clinton and Carter propose will coincide with a U.S. presidential election year. Clinton's wife, U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is a possible candidate and has hired a consultant to advise her on religion. Democrats have made winning over "faith voters" a major election strategy. --30--


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: antichrist; apostates; baptists; carter; christianleft; churchofexpresidents; clinton; democraticbaptist; election2008; homosexualagenda; howcanwefoolthem; jimmyhypocrite; justaboutsex; leftists; mcreligions; moralabsolutes; perverts; religiousleft; valuesvoters; worstexpresident
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To: PistolPaknMama

Liberals have typically ignored the community of faith for decades. Curiously, it was Howard Dean, an Episcopalian, who suggested Democrats put political ads on evangelical radio stations in middle America. His own people thought he was nuts. While we Conservatives laughed at the notion, it bore fruit in the midterms. Substantial numbers of evangelicals crossed over to vote Democrat. I think it was the ethical scandals that did it.


81 posted on 01/11/2007 11:07:10 AM PST by tomcorn
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To: presidio9

Bookmark to read later...


82 posted on 01/11/2007 11:08:23 AM PST by DocRock
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To: wayne_b24

That is the focus here. The Liberals see an opportunity to divide the REAL Baptists from the NEW Baptists. I don't know what the most effective strategy would be to counteract the effort. During the last election the strategy worked with Evangelicals.


83 posted on 01/11/2007 11:10:16 AM PST by tomcorn
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To: tomcorn
A more accurate picture of Cahtlicism would be its " catholic" nature ( the adjective) Catholcism is no more monolithic than protestantism. Within the body of Catholics you run the range from Nazis to Communists. As my brother noted Catholicisnm in the only faith in which you could have Pat Buchanan, Joe McCarthy, The berrigan Brothers and Daniel Ortega sitting in the same pew read the same St. Joseph's missal.

Here's the deal that a lot of people don't get when they talk about Catholicism (because I don't think that the concept really exists in non-heirarchical churches), it believes in a concept of self-excommunication. Catholics who are not following the official teachings of the Church are not really practicing Catholics. Now, there are sins, like using birth control, and then there are more mortal sins like a politician advocating a pro-choice position (like John Kerry or Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi or Rudy Giuliani). It is the Church's official position that such people have excommunicated themselves by their continued rejection of the Church's position, and priests are directed not to offer them Communion. We have free speech in this country and they can call themselves whatever they want (they can call themselves the Linburgh baby), but the Church doesn't recognize them as Catholics. No matter what the MSM thinks. The same goes for the elements in Poland, or Daniel Ortega, or for that matter Adolf Hitler. Catholicism is a religion, not an ethnicity. Nobody is "born" a Catholic. It's something that you have to practice.

84 posted on 01/11/2007 11:12:47 AM PST by presidio9 (It's "news" that New Jersey smells bad?)
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To: presidio9
“This is an attempt to bring people together and say, ‘What would our Christian witness require of us in the 21st century?’” Clinton said, adding that his goal is to be a “cheerleader” for the group.

I think he meant he goal was to bag a cheerleader.

85 posted on 01/11/2007 11:13:48 AM PST by Always Right
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To: tomcorn
Curiously, it was Howard Dean, an Episcopalian

But only because the bike path at his Methodist was preventing him from connecting with his Creator.

86 posted on 01/11/2007 11:15:18 AM PST by presidio9 (It's "news" that New Jersey smells bad?)
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To: presidio9

I guess in this church lusting in the mind and Bjs are accepted church policy.


87 posted on 01/11/2007 11:18:20 AM PST by dforest (Liberals love crisis, create crisis and then dwell on them.)
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To: presidio9

I thought christians were evil.


88 posted on 01/11/2007 11:19:18 AM PST by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: presidio9
By all accounts, his father was a scumbag, so he gets a pass on honoring him.

I guess the apple doesn't fall far from the tree!
89 posted on 01/11/2007 11:21:21 AM PST by Froufrou
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To: Froufrou

Yup. Chip off the old *ock.


90 posted on 01/11/2007 11:22:25 AM PST by presidio9 (It's "news" that New Jersey smells bad?)
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To: presidio9

Self excommunication is one of those polysyllabic pantload constructions.


91 posted on 01/11/2007 11:23:15 AM PST by tomcorn
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To: tomcorn

Nope, it's a necessary evil when you have one Pope and a billion followers. America is not the only country with corrupt political figures masquerading as Catholics. The Pope was very cear on this (actually it was then Cardinal Ratzinger writing for John Paul II): If you do this, you are no longer a Catholic. Note to priests: If you no somebody who is doing this you are not to offer them Communion.

None of the people I mentioned in the previous post are Catholics (well, perhaps the Lindbergh baby was).


92 posted on 01/11/2007 11:27:22 AM PST by presidio9 (It's "news" that New Jersey smells bad?)
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To: twigs
"The Southern Baptists have had liberal problems for years..."

After the "conservative takeover" of the Southern Baptist Convention, liberal Baptists formed their own organization called the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This group has long existed to be in direct opposition to the Southern Baptists. Up to this point, they have quietly worked within existing Southern Baptist churches - now it looks like they have decided to break off into a totally separate group. This may be the best solution for all involved.
93 posted on 01/11/2007 11:28:46 AM PST by Waco1
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To: MeanWestTexan
The Covenent of "What's Happening Now"

"...inclusive organization willing to debate openly on all issues..."

Nailed it! It's all on the table, help yourself. A religious smorgasbord. (Oh! Swedish meatballs!)

94 posted on 01/11/2007 11:38:33 AM PST by rbookward (When 900 years old you are, type as well you will not!)
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To: presidio9

Book


95 posted on 01/11/2007 12:06:59 PM PST by Doomonyou (I voted and all I got was a FUBAR Congress.)
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To: wideawake

I perused this thread to see if anyone else would make the same connection.

I would even say that Masturbating into the washroom sink at your place of employment may not be a good point to bring up when evangelizing...


96 posted on 01/11/2007 12:15:08 PM PST by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [This is some nasty...])
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To: pby
It's already been done. They call themselves "Unitarian".
...or Purpose Driven.

That'll leave a mark. Maybe even on the right hand or forehead.

97 posted on 01/11/2007 12:18:10 PM PST by L,TOWM (Liberals, The Other White Meat [This is some nasty...])
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To: OB1kNOb
“This is a historic event for the Baptists in this country and perhaps for Christianity,” Carter said at the news conference.

That really leapt off the page.

98 posted on 01/11/2007 12:23:57 PM PST by dighton
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To: presidio9

Sounds like the Democrats new southern strategery, trying to confuse Baptists into voting for abortion-loving Democrats.


99 posted on 01/11/2007 12:24:54 PM PST by Always Right
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To: presidio9
Nooooooo....Clinton only signed on because he thought it was a COVEN.
100 posted on 01/11/2007 12:26:12 PM PST by NordP (America Votes: So sad to find out the majority is self-centered, short-sighted, and impatient.)
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