Thursday, April 4, 2013

There's irony in the air here, brethren...

...and some pretty heavy irony at that.

Here in the Peach State (on that, check the photo on our tags but don't let it out that more peaches are grown in a couple of counties in SC than in all of GA) our state convention leaders have agreed to some self-limitations on publication of nominees for state convention offices.

In 2011 the GBC had a hotly, but congenially contested election for the presidency of the convention. While the GBC has had to deal with declining budgets and  serious money shortfalls, there were no  correspondingly hot or controversial issues to be decided. 

Nonetheless, nominations were made by well known GBC personalities. Websites were put up. Endorsements were made. Online lists of endorsees were public for all to see who liked whom. Camps (Baptist talk for ecclesiastical cliques) were formed and energized. And heavy, heavy campaigning was conducted (I heard one of the two candidates say he had over 40 meet-and-greets scheduled around the state).

Good, old fashioned Baptist politicking. 

Everyone was gracious. The election was held. Someone won. Someone lost. I am informed that feelings were hurt and folks began to question the value and propriety of ten month campaigns.

So what has happened is that the GBC Executive Committee voted to call for a moratorium on endorsement of candidates until early September. Our state paper, The Christian Index, agreed to withhold publication of nominations until that date, eschew political ads completely, and only publish simple formulaic stories about candidates that include name, church name, Cooperative Program percentage, baptisms, along with one endorsement limited to 500 words.

All that is fine. Eight weeks is plenty long enough for me to decide who I will vote for. I suspect that the moratorium will hold until something really important is at stake in the GBC. I have no problem with our leaders attempting to dial down the politics.


Have we forgotten? Conservatives wrote the book on denominational campaigning, starting back in 1979. We valued it then and never apologized for it. Now, as long as we are in the same general conservative camp, we're against it? 


The Christian Index, though not in recent years, has been a pretty blunt tool wielded in favor of one issue or one candidate or one camp or another. Editors have been told what to print and when to print it. 


Sometimes the word irony has the descriptive adjective "delicious" prefixed to it. This is a good spot for that.


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