First up from the God Machine this week is the annual Southern Baptist Convention, held this week in Georgia, where attendees declared “spiritual warfare” on marriage equality in advance of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported:
The Baptists acknowledged that the court seems likely to legalize same-sex marriage when it rules in the next two weeks, but leaders urged the faithful to stand fast and, indeed, lead the nation in opposition.“We are in spiritual warfare,” said convention president Rev. Ronnie Floyd. “This is not a time for Southern Baptists to stand back.”
As a rule, “spiritual warfare” is one of those phrases that should make Americans uncomfortable.
Of course, Floyd was just getting started. If you saw Tuesday’s show, you saw this clip of the Southern Baptist leader telling convention attendees, “I want to say to every pastor today of the United States who believes the word of God, this is a Bonhoeffer moment for every pastor if the United States. While some evangelicals – while some evangelicals may be bowing down to the inception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, or marriage in their churches, we will not back down, nor will we be silent.”
For the record, “a Bonhoeffer moment” refers to a German pastor who participated in a plot to kill Hitler during World War II. In other words, as Rachel put it, the head of the Southern Baptists this week said pastors “are going to have an assassinate-Hitler moment if the Supreme Court says that gay people can be married.”
As for Floyd’s specific plans, he went on to say, “I declare to everyone today as a minister of the gospel, I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies. I completely refuse.”
I suppose anything’s possible, but I’d remind Rev. Floyd that he’s unlikely to receive many invitations to officiate at same-sex weddings, so his refusal seems like a moot point. Call it a hunch.
Also from the God Machine this week:
* The latest from the Vatican: “Archbishop John Nienstedt and a deputy bishop resigned Monday after prosecutors there charged the archdiocese [of St. Paul and Minneapolis] with having failed to protect children from unspeakable harm from a pedophile priest. The Vatican said Pope Francis accepted the resignations of Nienstedt and Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piche.”
* An interesting case out of Gilbert, Ariz.: “The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled that an Arizona town had violated the First Amendment by placing limits on the size of signs announcing church services.”
* A curious controversy out of Hawkins, Texas: “A Texas town is heatedly debating what to do with a large sign on public property that reads, ‘Jesus Welcomes you to Hawkins,’ with the town’s mayor this week stating if their sign comes down, so do all signs across the country referencing Superman.”
* Don’t be too surprised if the Army appeals the ruling: “A Sikh college student from New York said Monday he is excited about a federal court decision that will permit him to enroll in the U.S. Army’s Reserve Officer Training Corps without shaving his beard, cutting his hair, or removing his turban.”
* And some creative faith-based marketing in North Carolina: “The Quran Mobile is rolling around Charlotte and Muslims hope it educates people about their faith. Concerned about the public’s perception of Islam after radical Islamic terrorists like ISIS have dominated the news cycle, Charlotte Muslims with the American Islamic Outreach Center wanted to take action. ’You got everything from book mobiles to bat mobiles so why not a Quran Mobile,’ Zahir Shaikh, director of the Quran Mobile said.”