Here's how the Southern Baptist Convention's recently scolded ethics leader begins a column in praise of the convention's newly elected African-American president:
"Several thousand Southern Baptist pastors, church workers, laymen and their wives, most of them elected representatives ("messengers") from their local churches, witnessed history being made June 19 in New Orleans."
My adding the bold emphasis was probably not necessary to catch your attention either. But this is how SBC leadership views women at best: an add-on in support of men.
Of course, Southern Baptist leaders will talk the equality game but always end up with women being excluded from any key leadership roles. Treat 'em nice, but keep them away from places of power that are exclusively for men.
The growing acceptance of women in every leadership role in society is threatening to good ol' boys who don't want more competition for their positions of authority. Heck, the Georgia Baptist Convention even kicks out churches that dare to call a female pastor.
One one hand, Southern Baptists take bigger actions like that one and creating doctrinal statements that relegate women to secondary status. On the other, there is just the ongoing attitude toward women that is demonstrated by Land's opening remarks in this opinion piece.
It is hard to celebrate the SBC's very late step toward racial equality, that Land commends here, when his very effort begins with a clear example of how gender inequality is still the Southern Baptist way.
Why any women — or those of us who value them — would put up with such is well beyond my understanding.
No, Richard, Southern Baptists aren't arcing toward justice at any commendable pace. They "and (some of) their wives" are stuck in the wrong place.