As the June 15-16 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in Nashville, Tenn. approached, news media across the country brought their interpretations of Southern Baptists and a frame for the nation to view it through.
Here’s a snapshot of the main points as covered by a few:
Secret recordings, leaked letters: Explosive secrets rocking the Southern Baptist Convention (Washington Post) – The Washington Post highlighted letters issues featured in two leaked letters written by former Ethics and Religious Liberty President Russell Moore. The letters discussed Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Moore’s displeasure with the way the SBC Executive Committee handled an investigation into sexual abuse that took place in member churches.
‘Take the Ship’: Conservatives Aim to Commandeer Southern Baptists (New York Times) – The Times’ coverage focused on the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) and concern that a takeover by it would prove more conservative than that of the Conservative Resurgence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It involves Southern Baptist pastors aligned with the CBN invoking pirate themes and flying skull and crossbones flags. It remains to be seen if any of the flags have been spotted in the convention halls.
‘Our Lord Isn’t Woke.’ Southern Baptists Clash Over Their Future. (Wall St. Journal) – The paper warned evangelical support of former President Trump in the last election hurt the SBC with minorities and the argument over CRT is inflicting even more damage. It also stated the Convention’s conservative core’s lack of support for LGBTQ rights could be seen as discrimination. The writers briefly mentioned claims of misogyny within the SBC by former Lifeway writer and Southern Baptist Beth Moore. However, it was clear the WSJ wasn’t writing to Southern Baptist readers.
Racial tensions simmer as Southern Baptists hold key meeting (AP) – The Associated Press’ coverage offered a bleak view of racial relations within the SBC. One of its reporters spoke with Joel Bowman Sr., senior pastor of Temple of Faith Baptist Church in Louisville, an African American congregation and member church of the state and national conventions. “The SBC to me is not currently a safe place for African Americans and other people of color,” Bowman said. “There are probably a number of churches and pastors who would leave the SBC, but because they’re so financially tied to the denomination, they’re probably slower to leave.”
Tensions erupt among Southern Baptists ahead of their big meeting in Nashville. Here’s why (The Tennessean) – The Tennessean covered the Moore letter leaks, racial tensions, sharp discord over who will be voted SBC president, and the disagreement over the handling of abuse issues. The writer also managed to strike a familiar refrain from the past with a discussion regarding potential concern over a drift towards liberalism in the Convention.