Bill Leonard is James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Church History and Baptist Studies at the School of Divinity, Wake Forest University. In a column yesterday, titled Baptist Shame, Leonard spoke out in condemnation against Charles Worley’s remarks about gay concentration camps.
Tonight I am ashamed to be a Baptist. Born into Baptist “cradle role” in the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Texas, and baptized on profession of faith in that congregation when I was 8 years old, I’ve been a born-again Baptist for over five decades.
Leonard draws a historical parallel:
In 1980, a Baptist evangelist declared on national television that, “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew,” a remark that in many ways advanced this type of homiletical diatribe into the American public square.
E. Glenn Hinson, then my colleague at the Baptist seminary in Louisville and one of the most Christ-like human beings I have ever known, said of that statement, “Such is the stuff of which holocausts are made.”
Hinson’s statement sparked great controversy inside and outside the seminary. His words were true then, and perhaps even truer now. Such concentration-camp language is shameful, whether used in 1930s Europe or 2012 North Carolina.
I recommend the entire column.