Sunday, January 28, 2007

Why This Matters So Much

This makes 19 entries I've posted in January, most of them devoted to the furor over the departure of Dr. Klouda from SWBTS. Why have I blogged so much about this? That's a great question considering the following facts:

  1. I am the student of a female Church History professor at SWBTS, against whose dismissal I lobbied at SWBTS.
  2. I do not know Dr. Klouda, and what I know by reputation I find admirable.
  3. I do not have any problem with a woman teaching languages.
  4. If Dr. Patterson explicitly promised tenure to Dr. Klouda, and then broke his personal promise, then I believe he is wrong.
So, what explains the vigor of my blogging about this subject lately?

I offer the following for your consideration:
  1. Dr. Klouda is being used politically. I don't doubt that she would rather be used politically than be dismissed from a teaching position. Nevertheless, given the history of the past year, I have yet to meet anyone who believes that this uproar is simply about Dr. Klouda. It is clear what side her advocates' bread is buttered on.
  2. The zealots who have taken up this cause are perfectly willing to wreck American religious liberty in her defence. Do you have a written employment policy at your church stipulating what ministry positions women can hold and what positions they cannot? This group of people would apparently argue in federal court that the federal government has the right to suspend your church's exemption from federal anti-discrimination laws if you cannot demonstrate that your actions are in line with internal policies. The implications of a federal lawsuit upon churches and other parachurch ministries are not being taken into consideration. Southern Baptists have perfectly good internal processes capable of addressing any problem at any institution, yet this modern-day Hyrcanus would appeal to the Romans for us all, and we know how well that worked out for Judea.
  3. They are further perfectly willing to sacrifice the ministry preparation of every student at SWBTS. I do not believe that they will be successful in undoing SBWTS's accreditation, but that is certainly the objective of the letters being sent to accrediting agencies right now. Where will that leave the thousands of students whose degrees are in progress at SWBTS right now? Do our "radicals" care about them? Apparently not.
  4. This is not simply a campaign to redress procedural issues or obtain due process for Dr. Klouda. The posts and comments on this subject make it clear that the design is to discredit the conservative interpretation of 1 Tim 2:12 and to change Southern Baptist theology at this point, labelling the historic practice of Baptist seminaries and universities as "strange" and demonstrating once again that Burleson will only accept labels and insults if they are applied rightward.
  5. The ultimate design of it all is a revolution in the SBC in the vein of Saul Alinsky (see an interesting article about Alinsky, the father of liberal community organization, here. See a series of articles linking this insurgency to Alinsky here, here, here, and here. And, just for fun, see Alinsky's other prominent modern-day disciple here.) Alinsky's methodology is not hard to decipher—maniuplate the "ordinary people" to achieve the political goals of your elite cadre without becoming a true believer (see here for quotes to that effect). According to Alinsky, no cost is too high for victory. I disagree.
So, the stakes are pretty high for the SBC in 2007. Burleson and Cole are very well organized and focused. I think it very possible that they will carry the day in San Antonio, because they have quite the head start on conservatives. Your faithfulness to attend in San Antonio and bring your full slate of messengers could make all the difference.

Clearly, whether they win or lose in San Antonio, they intend to try to have their way through the federal courts and the accrediting institutions. That fact, in and of itself, is enough to mobilize me to write 19 posts in January and to do much more.

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