Grateful for open viewpoints

    August 8, 2018

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    I am thankful for the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) having the journalistic integrity and fairness to allow open viewpoints. Yay for American free press!

    Now unbiased information is rare and disillusionment has come with everyday grandstanding and political posturing. The disgusting lies have demolished trust.

    Where is there to turn but to pray to God? Jesus Christ commands us to love one another. Only when we respect and value one another enough to really listen with a compassionate heart will we find a common ground.

    In the Baptist Faith and Message statement adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 2000 Article XVII Religious Liberty states “God alone is Lord of the conscience and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His WORD (my emphasis) or not contained in it. Church and state should
    be separate.”

    This guideline was not followed when Vice President Mike Pence spoke in Dallas to the Southern Baptists.

    Look back at the ABN June 28 2018 issue and read the entire last column on page 9. See if you also conclude that the White House asked Southern Baptist officials to allow Pence to speak. They succumbed. Also two business amendments were rejected that would have replaced Pence’s speech with a time of prayer in the first session. Apparently support was about 50/50 among the audience since most of the middle was political.

    It was pretty obvious to me why Pence came!

    All other motions allowing any other political speakers at future conventions are in the hands of the SBC Executive Committee for further (and prayerful) consideration. Since the SBC’s identity is built in the gospel surely the goal is showing more constraint by neither aligning with a particular platform or administration nor publicly endorsing any political candidate in any position.

    Linda Simers