Monday, August 22, 2005

Under the Radar

The SBC may consider asking WMU to come under convention authority. This one flew under my radar. Literally. Perhaps this is due to the fact that I'm no longer a Southern Baptist and I was preparing to go to Denver for the national ABC-USA Biennial while the SBC annual meeting occurred a week or so prior over in Nashville. Frankly, what happens in the SBC doesn't interest me nearly as much as what happens in the ABC-USA.

Apparently the SBC is moving toward pulling the WMU into the fold with the ladies kicking and screaming. Never mind the fact that since 1888, the WMU has been an auxiliary of the SBC. Since the beginning of the denomination, the male dominated SBC has refused to allow women to have a voice in denominational affairs. Women could not be messengers. They could not vote. If that weren't enough, they had to organize the WMU in the basement of a Methodist church down the street from where the convention was being held. Women were not allowed to serve as messengers in the denomination until 1918! In this way, the SBC leaders were able to control the women and keep them under their thumbs.

So all these years since 1888, the women of the SBC have done their thing as an auxiliary of the convention. In the last 50 years, the denomination essentially had no control of over the WMU. The WMU has always been a cooperating auxiliary. Their mission has been --and still is-- to educate and inform the denomination about missions. Included in that mission is a mechanism for raising money for missions worldwide. Were it not for the work of the WMU, Southern Baptist missions would not be where it is today.

Now denominational leaders are "considering" a deal to "invite" the WMU to become an entity of the denomination rather than an auxiliary. Control is the name of the game with the fundamentalist SBC leadership. For the past 26 years, the SBC has been on a ruthless campaign to possess absolute control over the denomination. The problem is, however, they cannot have absolute control over the women until them manage to get the WMU to become an entity of the denomination. If and when that happens, Baptist women in the SBC will be set back a century. Currently, the SBC cannot control the WMU.

I'm no longer a Southern Baptist, so I have no voice in the matter. (Heck, even if I was a Southern Baptist, I would have no voice because I'm a moderate and the opinions of moderates are not welcome to the fundamentalists). When the Southern Baptist Convention "considers" anything, you can just about call it a done deal. My sincerest hope is that the WMU will thumb their collective noses at the fundamentalist leadership and refuse the "invitation" to become an entity of the denomination. The invitation is nothing more than devious ruse to bring the women under their absolute control.

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