Al Gore kind of Baptists

One of my favorite D.C. churches is First Baptist. Really. One reason: I like how the senior minister “tell[s] people we are the ‘Jimmy Carter kind of Baptists’ and not the Jerry Falwell kind,” which strikes me as a very evocative way of identifying a church. I’d take evocation over description almost every time.

That said, the next generation of Baptists might do well to make more of Al Gore’s award as Baptist of the Year, which the Baptist Center for Ethics awarded him at the end of last year.

Hat tip: Levellers

8 Replies to “Al Gore kind of Baptists”

  1. I’ve heard exactly the same self-description (about being a “Jimmy Carter Baptist”) from Spanish Baptists, so there must be some universal truth in it…

  2. As a former Baptist, I certainly can tell you with confidence that not all Baptists are of the Jerry Falwell variety. If you believe that “liberal Baptist” is an oxymoron, make a visit someday to a church such as Old Cambridge Baptist Church in Cambridge, Mass.; Immanuel Baptist in Portland, Maine; Myers Park Baptist in Charlotte, North Carolina; or First Baptist in Seattle. There is even a coalition (albeit very small) of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, similar to the Open and Affirming group within the UCC. Baptists are spread across the entire spectrum, theologically and even liturgically. A lot of folk don’t realize that.

  3. Baptists were a radical denomination at their start.
    and more recently, a corner stone of the Universalist Church, from Ballou to Clayton.
    There was a reason an early universalist Church was called the “Universal Baptists”

  4. Hey! I’m Alliance of Baptists. As is my church, Virginia-Highland Church (www.vhchurch.net) in Atlanta, which is also a UCC congregation. Go to our website and read how that happened. We are awesome! (just kidding, but it is a great church)

    But seriously, I went to the New Baptist Covenant last week and even though there was still some work to be done inclusion of orgs like Alliance, AWAB, and BPFNA that are open and affirming, it was a powerful experience to hear all these moderate to liberal Baptists, black and white, come together to talk about fighting poverty and saving the earth. As someone who never imagined I’d have any affiliation with anything Baptist, growing up where Baptist meant Southern Baptist only, for once I felt great to be Baptist.

  5. Anna (welcome back!) mightn’t recall I’m a native Georgian and was living there (or perhaps newly here) when the state Baptist convention put her church in ViHi through its ordeal.

    Readers: do follow look up the church and read.

  6. PS-The New Baptist Covenant Celebration included as speakers Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and Bill Clinton. All very good at being non-political and non-partisan while also spiritually inspiring, which I was surprised to see. Of course Gore called for action on the environment but not in a party politics sort of way, Clinton didn’t mention politics except to compliment Mike Huckabee, and Carter didn’t seem to mention anything explicitly political, just call for unity among the Baptists gathered there. I think my favorite was Gore, but Clinton’s message that we all “see through a glass darkly” and therefore could all be wrong and should avoid crucifying our religious and political “enemies” was very good as well. So you could say Carter/Gore/Clinton kind of Baptists.

  7. I am thrilled to read these comments. Perhaps eventually there will be a wider understanding of liberal/progressive Baptists that are dedicated to peace and justice and love of all. AMEN!!

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