Southern Baptists Frown on Drinkers

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Southern Baptists Frown on Drinkers

Southern Baptists who love serving the denomination but also drink an occasional glass of wine might have to decide which they enjoy more.

The Southern Baptist Convention approved a nonbinding resolution Wednesday that urges that no one who imbibes be elected to serve as a trustee or member of any Southern Baptist Convention body. The resolution would apply to those nominated to serve on Southern Baptist seminaries, missions and other convention-wide boards.

Some dissenters said that Jesus and the apostles drank wine and that Jesus turned water into wine. Others noted that Southern Baptists are supposed to take the Bible at its word and that the Old Testament includes a blessing of wine.

A variety of religious groups, such as Assemblies of God and the United Methodist Church, condemn alcohol and preach abstinence. But their focus is typically on specific issues, such as curtailing advertising aimed at teenagers or promoting education programs. Generally, most stop short of what Southern Baptists agreed to on Wednesday-- pushing abstinence as a litmus test for service.

"As Christians, we need to set an example," said the Rev. Marion Cornett of West Plains, Mo. He said he would have no problem asking lay people who are about to become deacons in his church whether they drink.

And if they choose to lie and are ordained as lay leaders anyway?

"They'll have to answer for that themselves," he said.

-- Knight Ridder Newspapers

Lesbian Withdraws As Bishop Candidate

As the conflict over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church boiled to the surface this week during its national convention in Columbus, Ohio, the lesbian dean of Cleveland's Trinity Cathedral said she has withdrawn her name from consideration to become a bishop.

A search committee in the diocese of Newark, N.J., notified the Rev. Tracey Lind earlier that she and others would be scrutinized and interviewed for the job, but she said that "after struggling long and hard with myself and with what God wants of me, I told them to withdraw me from consideration."

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