Alabama Baptists Anathematize Stuf-Mart

They had their annual meeting this week at Six Flags Over Jesus Hunter Street Baptist Church in B’Ham. You can find all their resolutions here. I’ll highlight two.

First, Wal-Mart is evil because it does business with the homersexshuls:

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists have long supported and believed in the biblical teachings concerning the homosexual lifestyle and the sanctity of marriage being between one man and one woman, and have supported the constitutional ban on homosexual marriage; and

WHEREAS, more than 81% of Alabamians recently voted in favor of The Sanctity of Marriage Amendment to the Alabama Constitution; and

WHEREAS, many Alabama Baptists regularly patronize Wal-Mart because of its appeal to the average consumer and its convenient locations; and

WHEREAS, according to the American Family Association, Wal-Mart in August of 2006 asked and received permission to join the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, pledging to give them $25,000.00 and fund two conferences scheduled by the NGLCC.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 14-15, 2006, call upon our denominational leadership, pastors, and church members to inform Wal-Mart at the local and national levels of our biblical beliefs concerning the homosexual lifestyle and our support of the constitutional ban on homosexual marriage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage Wal-Mart to reconsider its actions which are contrary to the biblical beliefs of many of its customers; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we encourage the 3,249 Alabama Baptist churches and their members to pray that corporate leaders at Wal-Mart as well as other companies will conduct their business in accordance with biblical principles.

Now, if the problem is that Wal-Mart is not conducting its business “in accordance with biblical principles,” then why no resolution about sex discrimination? Or making people work overtime, but not paying them for it? Or selling clothes made from two kinds of cloth, for that matter? Why does this one particular violation get them in such a tizzy? 

Two, and this is my favorite, if you drink, you are going to end up as a junky living on the streets:

WHEREAS, Resolution No. 5 was overwhelmingly adopted at the 2006 Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Greensboro, North Carolina, June 13-14, 2006, concerning the support of organizations that educate people on the destructive effects of alcohol and that promote abstinence; and

WHEREAS, the Bible warns of the dangers associated with alcohol use (e.g., Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on Alabama’s highways; and

WHEREAS, the breakup of families and homes can be directly and indirectly attributed to alcohol use by one or more members of a family; and

WHEREAS, the use of alcohol as a recreational beverage has been shown to lead individuals down a path toward the use and abuse of other kinds of drugs, both legal and illegal; and

WHEREAS, alcohol use is a problem that directly or indirectly impacts many Alabama Baptist churches.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 14-15, 2006, express our total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing and consuming of alcoholic beverages; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Alabama Baptists take an active role in supporting local legislation that is intended to curb alcohol use in our communities and nation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge Alabama Baptists to be actively involved in educating students and adults concerning the destructive nature of alcoholic beverages; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we commend organizations and ministries that treat alcohol-related problems from a biblical perspective, and organizations, such as the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), that promote abstinence and encourage legislation designed to limit the sale and use of alcoholic beverages.

I commented on the National Convention’s version of this resolution here. Contrary to the resolution, the Bible does NOT warn “of the dangers associated with alcohol use.” And it most certainly does not support teetotalism. Here’s the passage quoted by the resolution:

29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
       Who has strife? Who has complaints?
       Who has needless bruises? Who has    bloodshot eyes?

 30 Those who linger over wine,
       who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.

 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
       when it sparkles in the cup,
       when it goes down smoothly!

 32 In the end it bites like a snake
       and poisons like a viper.

 33 Your eyes will see strange sights
       and your mind imagine confusing things.

 34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
       lying on top of the rigging.

 35 “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
       They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
       When will I wake up
       so I can find another drink?”

Wonderful writing, but by no means support for a total ban on alcohol. Who has the problem, according to the passage? “Those who linger over wine.” Alcohol is no different than anything else in the world: Good in moderation, but subject to abuse.

Like I said in the earlier post, if the Baptists think alcohol is inherently bad, then they need to condemn Jesus too:

Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into very good wine. He was called a wine bibber.  And don’t forget Psalm 104, where we learn God

causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

Don’t misread me, I used to be a Baptist, and plenty of my family members still are. But this kind of stuff is just dumb. The old joke was that the sum of Baptist ethics was “don’t drink smoke cuss or chew, or hang around with girls who do.” I’ve always thought the Bible had a much more robust message than that, and I think most Baptists do, too. These resolutions, though, simply reinforce the stereotype of Baptists as people who don’t belive in fun and who do believe in cherry picking parts of the Bible to support their own prejudices.

Now I know the true faithful will answer that Christians should only be concerned with what God thinks about them, and not with what other people might think. I have no quibble with that principle other than to point out that what people think about God may be affected by what the faithful say and do.  

Then again, I suppose having a beer after work tonight could lead to rolling doobies tomorrow, and we all know what that eventually leads to:

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16 Comments on “Alabama Baptists Anathematize Stuf-Mart”

  1. Texas Redhead Loser Says:

    I don’t care for Baptists or Wal-Mart. Whose side should I be on here? And wouldn’t it be great if two opposing factions of evil cancelled each other out?

  2. JCH Says:

    Heh, I just bought beer at Wal-Mart. WHEREAS, I hope nobody saw me.


  3. “Six Flags over Jesus” I canNOT stop laughing over that one!

    I LOVE this blog!

    The comments are great, too!!

  4. Kathy Says:

    Wow, way to focus on that gospel message, not to mention what the prophets were always on about. Not homasexshuls or likker, but taking care of the widow and orphan. Do these people have some kind of learning disability that affects their reading comprehension?

  5. Anon Y Mous Says:

    Yeah, I guess we’re “LD.” Or maybe “just dumb.” Those are useful pieces of criticism. Thanks.

    Apparently some folks like to cherry-pick over passages that suggest that bashing your brethren in a blawg isn’t exactly a fine example of Christian love, either.

    But I guess that’s okay if you support all the right PC causes.

    You guys are so tolerant.

  6. wheeler Says:

    anon,

    i started to respond in detail to your comment, but it isn’t worth the effort. all i’ll do is point out that while you do call me an uncharitable hypocrite, you do not come within a light year of touching any of my actual arguments.

  7. Anon Y Mous Says:

    What do you want me to tackle first, Wal-Mart or the alcohol issue?

    Maybe I can compete with giants like you.

  8. Anon Y Mous Says:

    On second thought, I’ll ask you to make an actual argument. Why is “use alcohol in moderation” a wiser position than is “abstain from alcohol completely”?

  9. Anon Y Mous Says:

    Oh, I just thought of a couple more. The New Testament doesn’t directly condemn slavery or polygamy either. So I guess you’d think it’s ridiculous for the SBC to have resolutions against those?

  10. wheeler Says:

    “Maybe I can compete with giants like you.”

    -my point was that you have not even entered the competition. no doubt you will do well once you provide some substantive responses instead of stupid catch phrases, cliches, red herrings, and ad hominems.

    “Why is ‘use alcohol in moderation’ a wiser position than is ‘abstain from alcohol completely’?”

    – 1) because alcohol in moderation is healthy and pleasurable and (if you accept it as an authority) commended by the bible.

    – 2) the obstacles to faith in god are plenty enough without adding silly requirements like teetotalism.

    “The New Testament doesn’t directly condemn slavery or polygamy either. So I guess you’d think it’s ridiculous for the SBC to have resolutions against those?”

    if the bible is the sole guide to life, then yes, i would call them ridiculous.

    i would not call the sbc ridiculous simply for condemning slavery and polygamy, which i think most people would agree are bad. in that regard, this situation is different than alcohol, which most people say is good. so, unlike the alcohol condemnation, i think they would be correct.

    however, as is the case with the alcohol prohibition, i think they may be contradicting their own rule book to reach that result. if, as you assert, the sbc condemns things which the bible allows, then it seems as if the sbc is adding to the bible. that’s fine by me – i’m a mary worshippin’ papist – but it’s not fine if you fervently believe in sola scriptura.

  11. Anon Y Mous Says:

    Your dismantling of the SBC resolution isn’t as complete as you’d like to think. You attack only the first point–that the Bible warns about the dangers of using alcohol–but then don’t address the rest of the resolution, which points out the destructive effects that the abuse of alcohol has on society.

    I don’t dispute that believers have freedom in Christ to consume alcohol, nor do I contend that the Bible requires abstinence from alcohol. However, the Bible does warn about abusing your freedom in Christ. See, e.g., Romans 14. No doubt, it’s a personal matter, and not one that I think can always be applied to everyone in the same way. Even so, there’s nothing wrong with Southern Baptists coming together and saying that, as a denomination, we don’t think it’s prudent to advocate the use of alcohol–even in moderation.

    If you read the text of those resolutions closely, nowhere does it say that it’s a sin to drink.

    Sorry about the “stupid catch phrases, cliches, red herrings, and ad hominems.” I know you never use those. Your blawg is a testament to objectiveness and even-handedness, particularly when you talk about Baptists.

    I think the real issue is that you like drinking, and you don’t like people who disagree with you. Me, I don’t drink, and I think that drinking is a real stumbling block to people when committed Christians do it. If you disagree, fine. You have freedom in Christ to drink. But just as you condemn the Baptists for getting “extra-biblical,” don’t make your freedom in Christ an absolute command for everyone else either.

    I also disagree that it’s “just dumb” (an objective phrase, to be sure) for the SBC to pass a resolution calling for abstinence from alcohol and efforts to curb its sale and consumption.

    Does that qualify as entering the competition, O Swami of the Scriptures?

  12. Anon Y Mous Says:

    And if you want to read more (not that it will change your mind), there’s a good paper on the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s website about alcohol.

    http://erlc.com/erlc/article/on-alcohol-use

  13. wheeler Says:

    “there’s nothing wrong with Southern Baptists coming together and saying that, as a denomination, we don’t think it’s prudent to advocate the use of alcohol–even in moderation.”

    – but that is not what they did. they expressed their “total opposition to the manufacturing, advertising, distributing and consuming of alcoholic beverages.” that is absolute prohibition for everyone – not just less use by baptists.

    “You attack only the first point–that the Bible warns about the dangers of using alcohol–but then don’t address the rest of the resolution, which points out the destructive effects that the abuse of alcohol has on society. ”

    -i’m not going to dispute that some people people abuse alcohol though the “findings” in the resolution are very exaggerated, but that is no reason to ban it for all the rest of us.

    “Me, I don’t drink, and I think that drinking is a real stumbling block to people when committed Christians do it.”

    -imho, the real stumbling block is adding unecessary requirements to being a christian.

    -also, in my experience, when a baptist drinks, the people who get upset are not the pagans, but the other baptists. non-christians don’t care if christians drink. if anything, it makes christianity more attractive.

    “Sorry about the ‘stupid catch phrases, cliches, red herrings, and ad hominems.’ I know you never use those. Your blawg is a testament to objectiveness and even-handedness, particularly when you talk about Baptists.”

    – if what you want is a blawg that gives all arguments equal credit, you’ve come to the wrong place. i’m going to call a spade a spade.

    – but i try my best to only call names AFTER demonstrating that the names are deserved. here, for instance, i did not take the easy route and simply post the resolution and then add a quick “baptists are dumb.” i tried to explain what i think they have taken two very silly positions. i stand by my conclusions and my language.

  14. Anon Y. Mous Says:

    A response (in your style, since apparently it’s smart to do it that way):

    “though the ‘findings’ in the resolution are very exaggerated”

    –Says who? You? What are you going to do next–swear an oath and cite yourself for authority?

    “but that is no reason to ban it for all the rest of us. ”

    –Sure it is. We Baptists can’t have fun. You shouldn’t either.

    “imho, the real stumbling block is adding unecessary requirements to being a christian.”

    –Yes. Good, close reading on that one. That’s exactly what the resolution says. “Whereas, we propose adding a 17th chapter to Romans, which sayeth, ‘If you believe in your heart that abstinence from alcohol is the ONLY way to live, and confess same with your mouth, ye shall be saved.'”

    “also, in my experience, when a baptist drinks, the people who get upset are not the pagans, but the other baptists.”

    –And, of course, “other baptists” who get upset don’t qualify as “brothers” or those who might stumble or be offended in the Romans 14:21 sense. We stupid, excuse me, DUMB Baptists should just grow up and accept the rest of you who are mature and enlightened.

    “non-christians don’t care if christians drink. if anything, it makes christianity more attractive.”

    –Yeah, right on. Maybe we should have orgies like the Corinthians. After all, they were Christians. Besides, if we sin more, God will be able to give us more grace, so really we’re doing him a favor.

    “if what you want is a blawg that gives all arguments equal credit, you’ve come to the wrong place. i’m going to call a spade a spade.”

    –Yeah, me too.

    “but i try my best to only call names AFTER demonstrating that the names are deserved. here, for instance, i did not take the easy route and simply post the resolution and then add a quick “baptists are dumb.” i tried to explain what i think they have taken two very silly positions. i stand by my conclusions and my language.”

    –Yeah, me too.

    I’d love to see one of your point-by-point, sarcastic commentaries on the ERLC article I cited you. It should be a fun project for you, especially when you don’t have to cite any reliable authority other than yourself.

    “For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”


  15. […] what the council ought to do. Sure, Rev. Gooch, your idea of God might not like alcohol sales, but mine does. Who’sright? This side of eternity, and maybe even then, no-one can know. So here’s […]


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