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3 Bumps

If the leadership doesn't represent the members, why aren't the members speaking up?

Southern Baptists Convention’s Embarrassing Poll

The poll covered Americans in general, then broke down the stats by people overall and people who specifically self-identify as born-again, evangelical, or fundamentalist Christians.

Americans: 58% believe gay marriage is a civil right, 64% think gay marriage legalization is inevitable

The self-identified group (the ones who should all agree with the views of the SBC): less than 20% believe employers should be allowed to discriminate against gay employees, less than 40% believe landlords should be allowed to discriminate against gay tenants 

Either that's a statistical anomaly with odds so great it would win the lottery, or 80% and 60% respectively of the members of SBC churches feel the same.

If it's the minority of members are so opposed to gay rights, why are the majority of members sitting by while that conference lobbies against them in Washington, preaches to their congregations to support anti-gay candidates, and counsels their congregation's pastors to teach anti-gay curriculum in Sunday school and bible study?

Wouldn't the logical choice be to either publicly denounce the leadership or to leave the denom for one more in line with their beliefs? 


Answer Question
 
NotPanicking

Asked by NotPanicking at 5:17 PM on Mar. 12, 2013 in Religious Debate

Level 50 (419,152 Credits)
Answers (16)
  • That would be the logical and honorable choice, but I imagine that it's easier said than done.  Few people are willing to speak out against injustice, anyway, when the injustice is perpetrated by authority figures that are farther removed from them.  I imagine that many people in those churches feel a community connection to it and that makes it difficult to speak out against what they imagine to be the majority.  I think many people are willing to be honest in polls where they can maintain their anonymity, but may not feel safe enough to be able to openly express their beliefs like that.  Plus, when we consider the authority and reverence that preachers are given, I'm sure it's a perfect storm for keeping those wishes for equality quiet.  Not enough people are that brave.

    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 7:08 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • im just drawing from my own experiences in church here...but i bet most SB dont talk about how they think discriminating based on homosexuality is wrong. they think they are the only one who has a problem with it and are too afraid of being ousted by the church if they did speak up.

    kinda like how all the kids in my youth group were virgins, didnt go to parties, didnt drink or smoke, never cursed and were all around good Christian boys & girls. but in reality very few were virgins and the majority of us did all sorts of "bad" behaviors.
    okmanders

    Answer by okmanders at 8:45 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • "preaches to their congregations to support anti-gay candidates, and counsels their congregation's pastors to teach anti-gay curriculum in Sunday school and bible study?"

    I am a Southern Baptist. I have never heard this topic addressed in church at all, in any form ever in all my 39 years. But as a Southern Baptist, we believe in the "priesthood of the believer" which means that we do not have a written doctrine that we have to abide by. We believe that each person has the ability to think and make decisions for themselves - which is probably why there is a wide variety in the beliefs of our congregants, and that's okay.
    I don't have a problem with the leadership. If I did, I would have no problem speaking with my deacons, pastor or even members of the convention.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 9:18 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • I think the whole gay rights issue makes a lot of conservative Christians very uncomfortable because they don't take the hard line personally that their churches officially follow. They keep their political views and their religious views apart, and a lot of them probably hope that more fair-minded politics will prevail--they just don't talk about their convictions at coffee hour after church.

    As for me, I've chosen to find a fairly liberal church that doesn't presume to dictate how I should vote or how I should believe politically.
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 8:51 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Also, in the South going to church is something people do - whether they believe or not, if they want to do well in business in most cases, they go to church. The SouthEast is the only area in the world where as socioeconomic standards rise, so does church attendance (in every other place, generally the reverse is true). Doesn't mean they agree with anything the church stands for or behind. They are just there putting in their time. Hence, another reason for the divide between the church's beliefs and the members.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 9:21 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Interesting, missanc. Because the people you describe sound a bit like the hypocrites Christ railed against! I guess they're building their treasure on Earth.
    gdiamante

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:03 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • I've witnessed what missanc is talking about above.  In fact, one of my best friends has started attending church, even though she is atheist, because her husband would stand a better chance of advancement within his company if he attended the same church as his boss.  Turns out she was right. 

    jsbenkert

    Answer by jsbenkert at 11:06 PM on Mar. 12, 2013

  • Yes gdiamante, it's very hypocritical. Just because someone attends church does not make them a Christian or even a good person. You have to look at their actions to see their heart. I am a Christian and advocate going to church but I'm not blind to what goes on.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 9:37 AM on Mar. 13, 2013

  • This is why polls are often terribly inaccurate. They cannot measure anything but what people are willing to admit or what they are willing to lie about. Not to mention the people who are confused. Quite often people are born into a Christian family, consider themselves Christian but don't practice the faith at all. There are those who claim to be Christian, truly think they are Christian and even go to church every Sunday but still do not practice the faith in reality. There are those who are on their way in or out of the faith, lingering on the fence and decide to still afiliate themselves with the faith.

    The Christian religion is built on a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ and to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit. He is our leader and none is above Him. Christians are supposed to read their Bible, study it and learn it enough to know if what their leaders are teaching is Biblical. cont.
    NikkiMomof2grls

    Answer by NikkiMomof2grls at 6:58 PM on Mar. 19, 2013

  • Quite often people are born into a Christian family, consider themselves Christian but don't practice the faith at all. There are those who claim to be Christian, truly think they are Christian and even go to church every Sunday but still do not practice the faith in reality. There are those who are on their way in or out of the faith, lingering on the fence and decide to still afiliate themselves with the faith.


    So you're saying that "real" Christians hate gays and the ones who say they don't aren't "real" Christians, but don't realize it?

    Incidentally, when did Jesus appoint you to decide which Christians were the "real" ones and which one's weren't? If you have the power to declare others to be "not real", doesn't that, in turn, give members of all the denoms you don't practice the same power to declare you not a "real" Christian?
    NotPanicking

    Comment by NotPanicking (original poster) at 7:01 PM on Mar. 19, 2013

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