Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Interfaith Dialogue Rejected in Oklahoma

Another milestone has been reached in the march toward theocracy in Oklahoma. As usual, Baptists are leading the charge. This time, however, it is being led by moderate Baptists who know better.

Today, for all the world to see, First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City has sent a signal repudiating interfaith dialogue. Other Baptists and the public-at-large in Oklahoma will perceive that the church has identified with the "Christian Nation" evangelicals that will occupy the Capitol tomorrow at a prayer rally opposed to the Interfaith Day of Prayer we organized.

Here's a link and the last six paragraphs from the story that appeared in today's The Oklahoman:
Prescott said he was "absolutely shocked" by Ogburn's statements and the churches decision. He said the local Americans United for Separation of Church and State chapter did nothing wrong in the way it promoted the dialogue with Lynn. The group simply stated where the meeting was to be held, he said.

"Anyone who has followed Baptists knows that they have been backsliding from their commitment to religious liberty for all Americans for 25 years," Prescott said in a statement.

"Apparently a number of people at First Baptist are uncomfortable with the Baptist legacy supporting church/state separation, and the current leadership of the church is too timid to address it."

He said the event will go on because of the graciousness of the Rev. Mark Christian at First Unitarian Church.

The lecture is in conjunction with the National Day of Prayer. The Interfaith Day of Prayer and Reflection observance will be at 11 a.m. Thursday on the south steps of the state Capitol. It is hosted by the Interfaith Alliance of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Chapter of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists.

Interfaith Alliance and First Christian Church will host a dialogue event at 7 tonight at First Christian Church, 3700 N Walker. The evening of Interfaith dialogue will focus on the religious culture of Turkey with Muhammed Cetin, president of the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bruce,

As a Baptist, do you also support the Baptist Joint Committee? As Baptists, we have a deep commitment to both the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. However, many moderate Baptists are turned off by Mr. Lynn. He often comes across as anti-Christian and only concerned with Establishment Clause issues. I think he could change his public perception if he more frequently championed Free Exercise issues. For example, look at James Dunn and what he accomplished while with the BJC for nearly 20 years. He was very confrontational and controversial. His rhetoric was HOT! But he also displayed a deep commitment to his uncoerced faith. Perhaps, Mr. Lynn could take a similar appraoch?

Greek Shadow said...

Bruce, glad you found an alternate sight, and were able to get the message out at the last minute.

Anon, why are you asking Bruce these questions? They are better directed at Mr. Lynn. Your comments about his style and manner Bruce has no control over.

Anonymous said...

Greek Shadow,

Perhaps the last questions are better left for Mr. Lynn. I just assumed, that Bruce could give some insight into Mr. Lynn and AU.

Really, I just wanted to know if Bruce, as a Baptist, supports the BJC? And if not, why does he prefer Americans United to BJC?

This isn't an attack. I'm a CBF kinda Baptist who enjoys reading Bruce's blog each and every day.

Anonymous said...

It is real easy to ruffle their fur here on this site, anonymous. They think everyone is against them and there is a "boogerman" everywhere and especially in the Southern Baptist Churches.

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Anonymous,

I strongly support the work of BJC. My work with AU in no way indicates a preference for the work of one over the other.

The most significant differences between the organizations are that one represents more than Baptists and it has chapters of grassroots activists around the country.

I've tried to encourage the Mainstream Baptist Network to become an organization of grassroots activists related to BJC, but so far, the rest of the Mainstream state leaders have demonstrated reluctance to do so.