In what seems uncannily like the infamous Friday data dumps by the current Presidential Administration, the Baptist Press dropped an article on its site on Friday, June 24 that is less than completely transparent. It leaves the reader with the incorrect view that the SBC is not involved in any way with mosque building efforts, which is patently false.
Under the headline, Mosque-building satirical rumor exposed as lie the article responds directly to “satirical news-like websites and blogs” that are claiming the SBC and the Tennessee Baptist Convention are cooperating in the building of Islamic mosques.
Pulpit & Pen – a site devoted to polemics, theology, and discernment, NOT satire – has been vocal about the certain fact that the Southern Baptist Convention is actively supporting the efforts to secure construction of a mosque in New Jersey. (For more on the truth of the SBC’s mosque building alliances, see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE)
Baptist Press references a particular satirical website – not Pulpit & Pen – as the source of mosque building rumors, prompting the Executive Committee’s response “clarifying that the posts are indeed lies.”
The article continues with a few quotes from SBC Executive Committee and CEO Frank Page on the matter:
“The Southern Baptist Convention promotes planting and building soul-winning Baptist churches that proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the one and only means of salvation.”
Pulpit & Pen absolutely applauds this, prays for this, and supports this.
“Neither the Convention nor any of its entities promotes building houses of worship for any other religious group.”
This statement is patently false. The Executive Committee in total and Frank Page, in particular, should retract this statement as they know it to be absolutely deceptive. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission AND the International Mission Board are involved in promoting “building houses of worship” for Muslims in New Jersey.
“This controversy stems from a satirical website that falsely characterized an amicus (friend of the court) brief filed by the Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission as an endorsement of building mosques. Concerned that infringement of the rights of one will affect the rights of all, ERLC President Russell Moore responded to a messenger’s question at the SBC annual meeting that the ERLC brief seeks to defend the right of all religious groups to construct their own houses of worship, saying that when the religious liberty of one group is assaulted, the religious liberty of all is threatened.”
Again, the “satirical website” in view here is NOT Pulpit & Pen. The veracity of OUR articles on the SBC’s alliance with Muslims in a mosque-building effort is supported by the weight of publicly available evidence.
It is disingenuous to suggest, as the latter quote from Page above does, that filing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit does not translate into an effective endorsement for the intent of the legally filed brief. Support of the brief means support for the purpose of the brief – and in this case, that purpose is to secure the building of a mosque.
To be certain, the website and articles referenced in the Baptist Press release are satirical.
However, the fact that the SBC, via Russell Moore and the Ethics And Religious Liberty Commission, as well as the International Mission Board, have publicly and legally affixed themselves to the support of a mosque-building effort is undeniable.
(A link to the complete brief, as filed by The Becket Fund, and in which the ERLC and the IMB are listed as signatories is provided below.)
Pulpit & Pen calls on the SBC Executive Committee, Frank Page, Russell Moore, the ERLC, the IMB, and the Baptist Press to be forthright in clarifying that the SBC is indeed actively engaged in support of Muslims’ mosque building efforts in this case.
Southern Baptists deserve the truth, not an intentionally obscure article that does not clearly acknowledge what is being done by the SBC with SBC tithes and offerings.
[Contributed by Bud Ahlheim]