NC Baptists and Gays

It used to be that so long as a North Carolina Baptist church paid its annual dues it could be a member of the Baptist State Convention of NC.  No more.

In addition to contributing financially, churches in “friendly
cooperation” with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina must
reject unrepentant homosexual behavior, according to an amendment
passed Tuesday by a two-thirds majority of delegates to the annual
meeting of the state convention. The amendment would allow the
convention to investigate churches suspected of countenancing active
gays.

Basically, they are saying that the single most important belief for a Baptist church, the only one worth having a membership requirement on, is not being nice to gay people.  Amazing.  I wonder what Jesus would make of that.

I'm also a little curious about what this may mean for my adopted Baptist Church that my wife attended while growing up (who I wonder if need to not name to protect them).  They are not exactly performing commitment ceremonies for gay couples, but there is an open same-sex couple in the church choir.  I guess we'll have to see just where that falls.

On Murtha and Democratic divisions

It is really something the amount of coverage the fight over who will be the Democrats' new House Majority Leader there has been (Steny Hoyer ended up trouncing John Murtha yesterday).  All of a sudden, the unity the Democrats in Congress had shown in recent years was completely thrown out the window and didn't count for anything, as far as the media was concerned.  Newspapers and TV have been filled with stories about the “bitter divisions” among Democrats.  The Today show ran a story this morning with the phrase “Democrats in Disarray” on the screen the whole time.  Their evidence for the disarray?  Joe Lieberman a man who lost in the Democratic primary for being too out of step with his party (and was re-elected to his seat only due to massive Republican support) disagrees with the rest of the party on Iraq.

What about bitter divisions among Republicans, who split 25-24 in re-instating proven racist Trent Lott to the Senate leadership?  Not so interesting.  The simple explanation is that the media has a number of political narratives that they always fall back on.  Among the most prominent is the one that Democrats are divided and just cannot get along.  Whenever an event can be placed into this narrative, the media is more than happy to do so.  Another example would be how in 2000 when Bush and Gore would both say something clearly false, Gore was lying/exaggerating while Bush was too stupid to tell the truth.  The “Conventional Wisdom” is a very powerful shaper of how the media covers politics, and when it comes to the new majority party in Congress, expect continuing stories about how divided they are, regardless of reality.

I should also point out, on a substantive note, that Democrats are doubtless less divided than when they last had majorities in both houses prior to the 1994 elections.  At that time, the Democratic advantage still depended upon a number of Southern Democrats who really were conservative.  Most of them lost in 1994 and subsequent years.  The Democrats from the South now, yes, even Heath Shuler, are much more ideologically similar to the national party than Democrats of an earlier generation.  Democrats simply are a less divided group than in earlier eras.  Will the media realize this?  I doubt it.

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