The Southern Baptist Convention has an Islam problem. In a mass email, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee chair Ronnie Floyd reminded readers that on September 11th, 2001, “‘Terrorism’ struck our nation in a devastating manner.” Not Islamic terrorists – “terrorism.” This is the same SBC whose International Mission Board (IMB) and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (an entity charged with the religious liberty of Southern Baptists) vocally supported Muslim religious freedom yet looked the other way as Christian churches were forcibly shut down by the government.
For the younger among us who were not around then or for those who forgot, a reminder: “Terrorism” was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks any more than a car is responsible for a person killed in a drunk driving crash. The perpetrators of the attacks were radical Islamists – many would argue they were true adherents to Islam as outlined in the Koran, simply killing the infidels as instructed.
Yet the SBC, an entity ostensibly charged with spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, cannot even bring itself to identify the murderous false religion whose most faithful adherents killed nearly 3000 Americans and wounded countless others. Rather, it apparently prefers to call on America to remember how we (short-sightedly) resolved to end global terrorism:
I will never forget the way our nation unified and resolved that we will “never forget” this tragic day in American history. Under the courageous leadership of President George W. Bush, America resolved to bring an end to terrorism around the world. Unity to this cause was resounded by millions upon millions of Americans.Ronnie Floyd, via a mass email to the SBC EC email list.
One of the most unfortunate consequences of the September 11th attacks was how quickly Americans accepted newly-discovered government power over our communications and privacy under the banner of stopping “terrorism.” Rather than identifying the true source of the 9/11 attacks as the evil, murderous, and anti-God ideology of Islam, we blamed it on “terrorism,” chastised anyone who focused on the ideology behind the attacks for supposed Islamophobia and endowed the federal government with broad-based and subjectively defined new powers that made a mockery of due process. Of course, this was done under the banner of “patriotism.” We even called it that – the Patriot Act. Rather than having the moral courage to call Islam evil (at least the radical Islamist version of it) and rightly blame the perpetrators, in our fear we blamed the weapon they used.
This new authority paradigm has conditioned the public to believe the government has the authority to monitor our communications, detain us indefinitely (if they can argue we are terrorists, as with the January 6th protesters still in jail), and use our fear to intrude into our most personal and fundamental decisions on the basis of supposed “safety.”
Yet Ronnie Floyd refuses to name the evil that claimed the lives of our countrymen. This is the Executive Committee of the same SBC that is now forcing all of its missionaries to “vaccinate” themselves and their kids 16 years old and up or be disallowed from returning to the mission field. You know, for safety. This is the same SBC whose Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission cannot find a theological justification for Christians to object to others forcing medical treatments on them, but any false religion that is anti-vaccine can use their anti-scientific legalism as a shield to retain their liberty.
The Southern Baptist Convention has unquestionably and consistently failed the test of standing for God’s righteousness in front of a watching world (to use their preferred lingo). Their churches shut the doors for fear of a virus that spares nearly everyone it infects, and those who faithfully gathered received no support in word or deed. Rather the faithful were attacked. Their missionaries are forced to submit to extra-biblical government legalism if they wish to return to the mission field. And their religious liberty public policy arm – tasked with defending the God-given rights of Southern Baptists – can’t even make a biblical case for its existence.
In the SBC, the 11th Commandment is “thou shalt not criticize a fellow Southern Baptist.” Apparently, the 12th is “thou shalt not criticize Islam.”
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