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May 08, 2005

From Popping Culture's Eye On Fundamentalism Desk

Baptist pastor Chan Chandler of East Waynesville Baptist in North Carolina ex-communicated nine members this week who supported John Kerry in November's election.

Apparently, in fundamentalist churches, Baptist pastors have gained the right to ex-communicate members now. Great.

But wait! It gets better!

Chandler told his congregation last October "the question then comes in the Baptist Church how do I vote, let me just say this right now if you vote for John Kerry this year you need to repent or resign."

Then, he said his actions weren't political. Huh?

By now some 40 members of the church have left. They were the real Baptists, I think. The original Baptist faith was based on freedom of worship and separation of church and state. For a church pastor to require members to vote a certain way is fine if the congregation gives him that power, just don't call yourself Baptist.


The North Carolina Democratic Party has issued a statement about the Church's actions. Chair Jerry Meek says, "One of the Bible's most repeated commands is to love your neighbor. If these reports are true, the minister is not only acting extremely inappropriately by injecting partisan politics into a house of worship, but he is also potentially breaking the laws and treatening the Church's 501 non-profit status."

I am certain there are liberal churches out there doing stupid and abusive and sinful things as well, I just intensely hate the ongoing corruption of the term "Baptist," particularly given my interest and study in Baptist origins in general and the life of Roger Williams, my personal hero, specifically. Williams is turning over in his grave at some of the churches that claim the name "Baptist" these days.

Read more about East Waynesville Baptist here.

Posted by Dan at May 8, 2005 03:01 PM

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Tracked on May 1, 2013 07:42 AM


I was going to a Baptist church at the time of the 2004 election. It was very painful.

One night at a Bible study we were talking about how we can do better at including people who tend to be marginalized in church. We talked about poor people, even gay people, but then I said, "Probably the most marginalized people in our churches are Democrats."

The heavy silence was matched only by the pained quiet when I had told the group months before that I was grieving the abuses at Abu Ghraib--and contrasted starkly with the excitement in the room the time the Republic national convention was due to start just after the Bible study ended.

I'm now at a Mennonite church, and very happy.

The thing is--the people at the Baptist church are good-hearted folks. I believe them when they say they care about the poor. But for the most part they just cannot see that government policy can do anything to make things better for poor people. Not only is that the church's job (true), it's exclusively the church's job.

As for the war--every week in the church bulletin was a call to pray for our soldiers. Never a call to pray for Iraqi victims of the war.

How is it that "pro-life" people can oppose providing food to infants and support dropping bombs on children?

Meg, pro-life--consistently

Posted by: Meg at May 9, 2005 12:19 AM

Let me be quick to say that most Baptist churches are still full of loving, open people.

The actions of a few wingnuts, however, have made "Baptist" synonymous with fundamentalism in the public eye, which is a shame.

Posted by: Dan at May 9, 2005 02:53 AM

This story is indicative of the times we live in, wherein our system of governance, i.e., the Constitution, has been superceded by Church Authority.

In other words, God [through Pastor Chandler] has told the Constitution to sit down and shut up.

Posted by: Ara at May 9, 2005 04:23 AM

How did prayer that simply omitted the "Iraqi people" from the list turn into "support" for "dropping bombs on children?" Talk about being extreme! Pardon me, but having family in the midst of the clean-up of Iraq makes me pray for him and his troop specifically. It's not that I don't care about the Iraqi people, and perhaps I should more consciously pray for them as well, but PLEASE, don't go off the deep end and assume that it's a vote for bombing the hell out of the Iraqi's.

My Baptist background has shaped what I believe to be sound beliefs. If another denomination had done it better (consistently across the board), then perhaps I would have jumped on board with one of them. But, I didn't see a consistent stand in any of the protestant denominations out there, so I picked the one that came the closest to what I thought our country was founded on.

I'll steer clear of the separation of church and state comments. There's not enough time today to go into that debate.

This is just one Baptist's opinion.

Posted by: doug at May 9, 2005 01:39 PM

Big D:
It's Waynesville, North Carolinia. Not Virginia. If I was looking for a half-researched story with fake documents, I'd turn on the Network News. Take some pride in yourself! You're a blogger! The standard in the eyes of many is much higher. Go out there and win one for the "Drudge!"

Posted by: Jim at May 9, 2005 07:03 PM


I added the Virginia myself. Didn't know they had one in N.C. Obviously, something like that couldn't happen in Va.

Seriously, thanks for keeping me honest.

I am dripping with shame.

Posted by: Dan at May 9, 2005 09:57 PM

Dan, that's why we love you.....you keep it real!

Posted by: doug at May 10, 2005 09:38 AM

I always tell people, church is like anywhere, stupid people doing stupid things, whenever you place a group of personalities together, someone is like this. Religious or not.
God gave us minds it use, not blindly follow another man.

Posted by: at May 26, 2005 09:36 PM

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