His announcement came four months after the convention rejected women as pastors and two years after it demanded that wives be submissive to their husbands. (And, on a personal note, I'd like to add that throughout their history, the Southern Baptists have been on the wrong side of everything—civil rights, the Vietnam War, women's rights, gay rights.)
Mr. Carter will continue to serve as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga., which, while affiliated with the convention, does not adhere to all of its doctrines. Maranatha Baptist allows women to serve as deacons, Carter said, and it would not have any problem with a woman as pastor.
The Rev. James G. Merritt, the convention president, was saddened by Mr. Carter's decision, but he does not expect a mass exodus. More than 41,000 churches belong to the convention, and while a handful have left, many more new churches have been built.
President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Sen. Trent Lott, Southern Baptists all, joined Mr. Carter in condemning the reactionary policies of the convention and in announcing their own break with the group. No, wait, sorry, they all just shut up about it and went along as if nothing had happened. My mistake.
The Last News Quiz Party Invitation Extra
Please join us for the wake marking the end of News Quiz.
We will gather in New York on the day after the presidential election, Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 6 p.m.-9 p.m., in the swelegant upstairs room at Novocento, 343 West Broadway, between Broome and Grand.
First drink on us (assuming there is no last minute move from the antitrust division of the Justice Department).
After the party, should dire circumstances prevail, those so inclined can head up to Penn Station to join Alec Baldwin on the train to Canada.