Southern Baptists mull whether ‘Southern’ still fits

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RNS photo by Bill Starling/The Press-Register.

RNS photo by Bill Starling/The Press-Register.

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FAIRHOPE, Ala. (RNS) For the Southern Baptist Convention, which has used the same name for nearly 170 years, changing its name to make it less "Southern" isn't easy. First, there has to be the will to do so. And on that, the jury is still out. By Roy Hoffman.

  • Sabelotodo2

    Several decades after growing up Southern Baptist, and escaping that religion in college in the mid-60’s because of that denomination’s stands on racial issues, I came to reflect on why this denomination is so centered on passionate preaching about “sin and shame.”

    The lights went on after watching a great ABC news documentary on Appalachia, I was once again reminded of the incest so prevalent in that region–the deeply shameful family sin that dared not speak it’s name until recently. It infected my family as well, although they moved West, away from there before World War II.

    I’ve not found anything like that level of childhood shame entrenched with any of my friends growing up in the Presbyterian, Lutheran or Episcopal churches, in other regions of the country–nor any such impassioned preaching on “sin and shame.”

    If a name change does nothing more than insulate the ongoing institution from that horrible taint that–to some extent or other–accompanies the ‘Southern” name, then I would say such a change is well worthwhile.