by John Grooms
So, the Southern Baptists are perturbed and puzzled about their denomination’s falling membership, and some of their leaders say the church should change its name (although the word “Baptist” would still be included in the new moniker). The name change idea came up after a Southern Baptist (SoBap) poll showed that 44 percent of Americans said if they knew a church was Southern Baptist, it would “negatively impact their decision to visit or join the church.” What a shocker! Who knew that a lot of Americans wouldn’t want to attend a church led by medieval-minded cranks?
Anyone else remember when the North Carolina Baptist State Convention expelled Myers Park Baptist from the NCBSC's holy midst in 2007? It turns out Myers Park's policy of "welcoming" homosexuals — i.e., treating gays and lesbians as if they were human beings who are as good as you or me (just imagine it!) - was awful in the eyes of the all-knowing state Baptist convention.
As I wrote at the time, who knew so many gays and lesbians were clamoring to join the Baptist Church? Keep in mind, too, that the Southern Baptist Convention was founded as a protest against the anti-slavery views of American Baptist leaders in the 1840s. As late as 1968, racism was rampant in their churches, with only 11 percent of Southern Baptist churches willing to admit African-Americans. In fact, it wasn't until 1995 that the SBC renounced its racist roots and apologized for its past support of slavery. The awful truth is that, for as long as anyone can remember, Southern Baptist churches have been a bulwark against progress, fiercely fighting any attempts to make their congregations, or America, more inclusive, much less open-minded. This in spite of Jesus being repeatedly portrayed in the Bible as welcoming and hanging out with outcasts and sinners. Frankly, why anyone but a masochist would want to join such a group is beyond me (although an un-closeted masochist would be rejected, too, I suppose).
So, back to our story, the Southern Baptists may be looking at a name change. Here are our Top Ten suggestions, which we hope will help them bring in more new members:
Top Ten New Proposed Names for the Southern Baptist Church
10. Holy Rollin’ On the River Baptist Church
9. Moralist Theocrats R Us Baptist Church
8. Quick, Hide the Liquor Baptist Church
6. Queers Stay Out Baptist Church
5. Written 3,000 Years Ago By Members of a Nomadic Warrior Tribe? It's Gotta Be Literally True! Baptist Church
4. Rapture-a-Go-Go Baptist Church
3. Spare the Rod and Ruin A Good Time Baptist Church
2. Our Minds and Our Women’s Legs Are Closed But Our Doors Are Open Baptist Church
And our top pick for a new name for the SoBaps is ...
1. Checks Cashed! Baptist Church