Saturday, June 2, 2018

Paige Patterson's Misogyny Exposes Pervasive Bigotry and Patriarchy Among White Baptists

I am reminded of Dr. King's powerful statement that the moral arc of the universe sweeps wide, but bends towards justice.

How do victims of Paige Patterson's wickedness achieve re‎parations? Do current leaders of these religious institutions see no similarity between Patterson's reign of misogyny and sexism and the abuse cases involving Catholic priests and vulnerable persons?

Expect some of the leaders to take solace in statutes of limitation which will work to defeat claims dating beyond three to five years. That answers the legal liability question for "stale" - the legal term - claims. It does not address the moral, emotional, physical, and ethical harms ‎inflicted on untold women and girls at the hands of Patterson and any other persons whose similar conduct he may have enabled.

The Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship convene, separately and ironically, later this month in Texas. It will be interesting to observe leaders of both groups try to ignore or play down the crocodiles of longstanding injustices ‎against women and persons of color (SBC) and persons who are LGBTQ (CBF) that the world knows and sees in their respective bathtubs.

Those efforts are doomed to fail. The "nones" - meaning persons who no longer are affiliated with any religion - include a growing influx of former Baptists. SBC and CBF efforts to stop the bleeding by appealing to black and Latino clergy and congregations cannot and will not change what the world already accepts as true about their respective realities: notwithstanding their pietistic rhetoric and pretensions about "inclusion," SBC and CBF are merely different manifestations of white religious nationalism, white supremacy, and patriarchy.‎

Civil rights activists‎ share a slogan, "No justice. No peace."  As CBF meets later this month in Dallas on the heels of its Illumination Project exercise to apply pietistic Great Commission makeup on a generation-long history of open bigotry and injustice toward followers of Jesus who are LGBTQ, CBF leaders should ponder that slogan. They should think of the Paige Patterson SBC history. They should think about the longstanding bigotry and injustice CBF has tolerated and continues to empower aganst persons who are LGBTQ. And, CBF leaders should remember what Dr. King said about the moral arc of the universe.

Repentance is a moral and ethical imperative and prerequisite to attaining reconciliation and doing justice. Unfortunately, it appears that the largest predominantly white Baptist bodies in the U.S. lack the capacity to perceive and pursue the urgent imperative of repentance.

That is not "good news" for victims of injustice. 

That is not "good news" for the world.

It is merely the latest manifestation of hatefulness masquerading in the costumes of religion and‎ empire.


  1. Normally I agree with you judge but isn't this pretty much par for the course for all protestants, including Black denominations? Patriarchy, sexism, misogyny, anti LGBT bigotry are staples of traditional Black Christianity in the US. At least it was last time I went to church which was admittedly over 20 years ago. I'm pretty sure it's still the same.

  2. Well said. Black Christianity has, sadly, copied from the religion of Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and Pat Robertson rather than followed the example of Martin Luther King, Jr., Gardner Taylor, Jeremiah Wright, and Bishop Yvette Flunder.

    My observations in this blogpost focused on the Southern Baptist Convention and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship because those are the largest white Baptist bodies and because they are, separately, meeting this week professing their devotion to Jesus and the Great Commission while disregarding injustice in their own houses.