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Author Richard Pierard

As an unreconstructed “Northern” Baptist now living in the South, I find rather curious the endeavor of the Southern Baptist Convention to find a new name for itself. After all, it is the church that was born in the controversy over slavery, did what it could to keep black folk down after the slaves were […] Read More

Former U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon died at the age of 89 on Aug. 7. He was one of the last of a remarkable breed of politicians – a moderate Republican. In this day of intensely ideological politics, when RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and Blue-dog (conservative) Democrats are marked for extinction, Hatfield […] Read More

We have just observed the 30th anniversary of a milestone in the spiritual deterioration of American evangelicalism: the National Affairs Briefing on Aug. 21-22, 1980. Organized by Ed McAteer, called by some the “godfather of the Religious Right,” it brought 15,000 people to Dallas. It is usually remembered for Southern Baptist Convention president Bailey Smith’s […] Read More

In late March, a document flashed across the Internet: “A Covenant for Civility: Come Let Us Reason Together.” It was a very nicely worded statement that affirmed seven points, each reinforced with a Scripture verse or two, and it conveniently fit on one sheet of paper. Because no person of good will could quarrel with […] Read More

When I read on a few days ago that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina had “defunded” the Baptist Center for Ethics, I was reminded once again of how little Southern Baptists really understand ethics. When a Southern Baptist pastor like Wiley Drake in California openly called for God to bring about President […] Read More

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, has demonstrated in recent days that he knows as little about ethics as he does religious liberty. He has accused me of wanting to be a “speech czar.” Why? As a professional historian and scholar of German history, I called him to […] Read More

The story on about Richard Land, who heads Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, comparing President Obama’s proposed health-care reform to the Nazi program offended me more than practically anything else I have seen or heard in recent days on the issue. His action goes beyond the unprincipled behavior of such foul mouthpieces […] Read More

I recently received the statement signed by “47 religious leaders” titled “A Matter of Health … A Matter of Wholeness.” Not being a “religious leader” but just an insignificant Baptist layperson tucked away in the mountains of western North Carolina, I of course was not invited to sign the document.   Those who did were […] Read More

Two significant conferences on environmental matters took place at the same time in May and only 250 miles apart. One was Al Gore’s North American summit in Nashville that focused on the ethics and equity of climate change and global warming; the other was Flourish ’09 in suburban Atlanta, a modest Southern Baptist gathering designed […] Read More

A prominent Christian conservative, Richard Land, has at long last condemned torture, at least in the extreme form of waterboarding, and many in the press have heaped accolades on him for this change of heart.   Baptist Press praised the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission for saying in an […] Read More