Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

June-10-08

Southern Baptist Churches Numbers Decline, Sexist Positions Cited

In preparation for Southern Baptist Church Convention in Indianapolis this week, many churches are responding to their declining baptism rates by considering dropping the name "Southern Baptist" and distancing themselves from the Church's fundamentalist image. The Washington Post reports that numbers have fallen for the third straight year in a row and for the last seven out of eight years. Rev. Frank Page, President of the Southern Baptist Church warned that by 2030 half of the denominationís churches could be closed.

The Southern Baptist Convention holds fundamentalist conservative beliefs, for example, that the bible is the literal word of God, that homosexuality and premarital sex are sins, and that abortion should be illegal, according to the official statement of the Southern Baptist Convention. At its convention in 1988 the Southern Baptist Church turned even more ideologically conservative and passed a radically extreme addition to its already conservative beliefs: that wives should "submit graciously to their husbands." According to the Dallas Morning News the first membership downturn occurred shortly thereafter, and many have blamed this shift towards extreme conservatism for the decline in membership.

Many Southern Baptist Churches blame the decline in membership on their shift towards a fundamentalist viewpoint, according to the Washington Post. The Washington Post reports that some more progressive Southern Baptist Churches have changed their names to exclude the words "Southern Baptist" so as to distance themselves from the right-wing "culture warriors," who they claim have "hijacked" the Baptist name. Other Southern Baptist Churches, such as the Sandals Church in Riverside (CA), not only remove the word "Baptist" but have begun using unconventional outreach methods, such as holding meetings in night clubs, and recruiting young people who have tattoos and Mohawks, according to the Press Enterprise.

Southern Baptist churches have full autonomy in running individual congregations, many not affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. This explains the historically broad spectrum of adherents, from Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jimmy Carter.

Media Resources: Washington Post 6/8/2008, Washington Post 6/8/2008, Dallas Morning News 5/19/2008, Press Enterprise 5/31/2008, Public Research Associates 5/1995


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/1/2015 House Reverses DC Law Banning Reproductive Health Discrimination by Employers - The US House of Representatives voted Thursday night to overturn a Washington, DC, law that makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who use their insurance to cover procedures like in-vitro fertilization or abortion and contraception like birth control pills and IUDs for themselves, their spouses, or their children. The District's council passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act last year. . . .
 
4/30/2015 400 Women and Children Have Been Rescued From Boko Haram in Nigeria - In two different operations in under a week, Nigerian troops have rescued more than 400 women and children who had been kidnapped by Boko Haram. On Tuesday, Nigerian troops announced they rescued 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram - and today news has come out that troops rescued another 160 women and children. While the news is promising and shows progress made in Nigeria to combat Boko Haram, the girls rescued were not the Chibok girls who inspired the #BringBackOurGirls movement last year. . . .
 
4/29/2015 Hillary Clinton Calls for Criminal Justice Reform and an End to Mass Incarceration - Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 18th Annual Dinkins Leadership and Public Policy Forum today, addressing directly criminal justice reforms she would like to see to prevent another "incarceration generation." "It's time the end the era of mass incarceration," Clinton declared to much applause, citing statistics about the disproportionately higher rate of incarceration that black men in America face. . . .