Last week, Richard Land, Director of the Southern Baptist Convention's political arm, issued a call for all Southern Baptists to contact their congress persons and support the Tea Party proposal to "cut, cap and balance" the federal budget. That proposal failed to pass the Senate.
Today, reports are indicating that the hardline "cut, cap and balance" crew is at the forefront of the group that refuses to compromise to find a solution to the budget impass.
Most Americans do not agree with Southern Baptists and the "cut, cap and balance" crew. News reports from the conservative state of Oklahoma are indicating that a full two thirds of those who called Senator Tom Coburn yesterday were in favor of congress working out a compromise to get the debt limit raised.
For more than 30 years, the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention has honed and cultivated an uncompromising stance in every conflict in which they have engaged. Documentation of intransigence by men like Richard Land, who helped lead the takeover of the SBC in the 1980's, is readily available for anyone interested in reading the history of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC. The history of the work of the "peace committee" in the late 1980's is particularly instructive. From the outset the fundamentalist line was, in effect, "My way or the highway." Needless to say, the work of the peace committee did not end with peace. It ended with convention moderates leaving and forming a new convention -- the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
If a compromise cannot be worked out and no solution is found to our nation's debt crisis, Southern Baptists will be one of the most central impediments to the kind of pragmatic, rational governance that is necessary to preserve a healthy pluralistic democracy.