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.