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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Coke Stevenson and Texas Baptists warp the world


     Before I get to steamrolling click on this:

     Copy and paste whatever it takes.

     I have several links there and a history of my conjecture on this matter which roughly is:

     The Birchers and the whites citizens council to Civil Rights in the cauldron Of Exxon Oil and Paul Pressler's Texas Regulars were more of a driving force in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention than quibbles over the Nature of Scripture.

    Pressler had more in common with the Bircher that split the Missouri synod than he had in common with R. G Lee. I don't know what Adrian Rogers was thinking, but it appears Ed McAteer was doing his thinking for him.

     Inerrancy was a Ruse, to paraphrase W. A. Criswell on the priesthood of the believer.

     And now we got Benghazi Trey Gowdy and Ted Cruz fronting for the legacy of Billy Graham.  Thats how bad things have gotten messed up.

     It is imperative Roger Paynter, Chandler Davidson, Daivd Currie, Lee Berg,  Bill Moyers, Jimmy Allen, Randall Balmer have a focussed chat on Thomas Powers review of Robert Wuthnow's new book on Texas fundamentalism and how it became Ted Cruz and the Tea Party.

  Sidney Blumenthal and his rejoinder to Robert Caro on LBJ in early 90s needs to be in this chat too. And Tom Edsall about oil strategic financing of congressional races. I asked President Carter about that one in 93 

    Current issue print only is at a Barnes and Noble Near you soon. Reading the easily googled teaser online won't cut it.

     I know this is sketchy, but stay tuned. We're just starting on finally gettin this story right.

Excerpt from review:

  Ken Chafin said: "I'm not gonna roll over and let a group of Frank Norrisite Texas fundamentalists stea; the institutions of my denomination."

   But the Pressler-Patterson faction did exactly that; an unbroken string of fundamentalists were elected to head the denomination for the next decade and with power of the presidency they systematically packed every committee and board, pushed out anyone who did not agree, and gradually purged the Baptist seminaries of all the moderates, defined by Pressler as anyone 'who believes the bible does or could contain error of any kind".


Thursday, October 02, 2014

Baylor, Furman and the Upstate S.C. Tea Party

    Friends, this blog may not be Furman worthy on first draft but time compels me to post it right away. Please come back if at all interested next week as it may be refined and editted.

    I was shying away from the outburst but a confluence  of reports and events got me about to bust.
    One report was a religion news service story by Furman Grad David Gibson about conservative Christians using the theme of Exile to gain unwarranted attention. He even cited an An Atlantic Monthly piece in his roundup of stories on the theme. Ironically enough the Exile theme has more credibility in an anthology in which I will be published by U Tennessee Press in January, a series by Carl Kell, this one on the current generation of progressive Baptists displaced by the fundamentalist takeover.


     Furman poli sci proff  Brent Nelsen made a presentation on the Ukraine October First as part of Furman's downtown Greenville High Noon  presentations, a great effort of Furman in the Upstate community. My concern is he is a founding member of the PCA church of Jim Demint of the Upstate Tea Party and shares ideology with Trey Gowdy the Tea Party US Congressman from that district.

    Gowdy is a graduate of Baylor in the early 80s, as was Rand Paul. There was a grand chat today on NPR on Paul with Ryan Lizza about Lizza's current feature in the New Yorker.

   New Yorker does not say if they were acquainted there but they almost certainly traveled in the same Young Republican circles.

   Upshot is Paul at Baylor was progressive on abortion and evolution. Demint and Gowdy and FBC Sburg are not. And I would imagine current Furman Prez Elizabeth  Davis matriculating from Baylor administration; her views are more in line with Randall Balmer of Dartmouth who wrote a piece for Mother Jones in 04 on Baylor and Evolution and the Bible and recently had a bio on President Carter focussing on how Baptist fundamentalists that once threatened Furman hijacked the Presidency of Carter on the abortion issue and tax exemption for Bob Jones University over interracial dating.

     Upshot is to paraphrase the gubernatorial candidate in Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Gowdy, Demint  and their Tea Party fundamentalism with a wink by Billy Graham is not my culture and heritage.

    Ryan Lizza did a piece on Roger Milliken in New Republic in 1999. It was fascinating. Furman sources tell me Millken tried to place the Christian Reconstructionist Gary North on Furman faculty in 73 or so. Furman was nice enough to show North the campus and the front gate; not to say the front gate wasn't an option for me on a couple occasions when I was there.

    Long story short, lot of folks who side with right wing have been students at Furman over the years. Over the years  Some  children of very prominent players associated with the right and religious right were students  including the 2014 grad Lauren Cooley from Billy Graham's grandson's church in Ft Lauderdale Florida;  Nixon's Southern Strategist Harry Dent's Daughter, Dolly; Lee Atwater's daughter, Salley; Even this year very conservative southern forces are represented at Furman,  family and extended family of politicians hardwired to the Tea Party and American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC--google New Racism, New Republic, ALEC in NY Times, Jan this year, and the conversation just today on ALEC at

   I'm fine they were at Furman, in fact I have an ongoing exchange with Dolly's sister Ginny who rose to some prominence in the SBC after the takeover. And I think Dr. Nelsen is good for the conversation at Furman. I witnessed an exchange between him and the Knight of the Religion Department Albert Blackwell in a High Noon exchange in 2010.

     Bottom line is tribalism in Ukraine in some ways is comparable to Upstate S.C. Tea Party if I understand Wahalla novelist Mark Powell, and Emory's Joe Crespino.  There are analogies to the legacy of Strom Thurmond and the Tea Party mindset to Putin heavy handedness in the Ukraine. And I wish I had been at the High Noon presentation with Nelsen yesterday to explore that notion.

   Of course for the conversation to make sense, Furman would have to do the background reading with Crespino, Powell, Lizza, New Republic's Jason Zengerle, Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason, and Giberson and Stephen's The Anointed as syllabus.

    At a minimum I hope Furman has Crespino and Powell on campus this coming spring in a much publicized event and there is a community read worthy of their presence. 
    And here is most recent national coverage of my concern, one that goes to the heart of assertions I have been making for 30 years now:


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Alabama Third World? Hubbard the Bleacher/Gads Times Oct 6

    The following letter was published in a shorter version  in the Gadsden Times Monday October 6.  The published version mentioned the Collinsville Public Library's relationship with 

  In some fashion the following wil be submitted to the Gadsden Times in response to Mr. Floyd's weekly Saturday column. His last week Sat Sept 20 column --see public policy of for ongoing chat on this matter--showed no evidence he had read the easily googled New Republic, New Racism cover story on Alabama Tea Party bleaching. He had a chip on his shoulder about some reference to Alabama as Third World. The following is my feeble effort to bring some probity to the matter.

      The Editors, Gadsden Times

      There have been several pieces in Alabama media over the last month chatting up the cover story of the New Republic a month ago The New Racism, the End of Civil Rights. It is sad most reports miss the point of the article or distract to some anecdotal aside. Some Bama reports focus on the relationship of former power brokers Hank Sanders and Lowell Barron, while one misbegotten piece whined about a two sentence remark in a seven page two column story; the aside that said raw sewage in Lowndes County in photos taken by the Baylor College of Medical Research looked like the Third World. The pictures were taken within a mile of City Hall in Ft. Deposit.

    Any functionally literate person would understand the crux of the easily googled cover story was about the political strategy of Bleaching in Tea Party Mike Hubbard's state house. Bleaching, a new term for me, gerrymanders voting districts with the express purpose of weakening the representative power of minorities.  As one law proff describes it in the article: “The situation today has the semblance of what representation looks like without very much ability to actually exercise it.”  How this insidious move has escaped the outrage of for instance, The Alabama Baptist, or its state convention's Executive Director Rick Lance, Governor Bentley's former pastor, escapes me. It's as if Judge Frank Johnson, the grand  Alabama Republican of the last half  of the 20th Century never lived.

     In October 2012 I called the Paul Finebaum show and talked to Bama's Rhodes Scholar nominee QB Greg McElroy. I brought up a 1984 New Republic article by Bama native Howell Raines that talked about the relationship between George Wallace and Bear Bryant and how the Bear mighta nudged Wallace a little faster and in the right direction. Finebaum said it was one of the best pieces he had ever read on football in Alabama.

     Mike Hubbard, as the recent New Republic article mentions and has long been known in Alabama has made a small fortune having privatized the Sports Information Department at Auburn. I hope a panel of Condi Rice, Pultizer Prize winning Civil Rights authority Taylor Branch who last year had a provocative piece on the NCAA in The Atlantic Magazine, and some of the folks now scrutinizing the NFL can take a look at this matter in a most public way soon.

   In the meantime here's hoping the good people or Etowah County and Northeast Alabama read this article for themselves and do so soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A Blog for William Thornton and Mike Hubbard

  A Response to Thornton's arbitrary deadline on a site he is not supposed to administer at, this one Baptist faith and practice:

     First I know more than Flick and Thornton cause I was elected Most Intellectual of the Class of 71 at Gaffney High School and They were NOT!! LOL. And before the kangaroo court of Flick, Sandy and Thornton ban me for Life that stands for laugh out Loud, or what most sophisticated people know to be an attempt at self-deprecatory humor.

Thanks Haruo for seeing the conections.

I am making the case incrementally on the Furman facebook wall--they host Harvey Gantt, the black man Jesse Helms of the fundamentalist takeover of the SBC--Thursday night. Gannt integrated Clemson University.

I think Ed answered Sandy and Thornton's reservations pretty well.

I don't have the time to do all the remedial explanations for Sandy and Thornton they demand, but I do remember  a deacon at my Dad's church, a brawny fellow even in his 70s in the 60s telling me that a rite of passage for his manhood growing up near Chesnee  S.C. was on Saturday night he would lock arms with another 14 year old boy and then with a free open hand they would slap the other one full force till one fell to the ground or asked for mercy. That's the way Babdiss deacons were raised just a generation prior to me.

I did find Sandy's anecdote about Ray Rice's matriarchal spiritual formation quite interesting and educational.

The most frightful Baptist preacher I ever encountered was Ed Young's long time Associate Pastor and End Timer James Deloach. He closed the door on Randall Lolley, his classmate at SEBTS in 87 but in 68 he was in the TV room at our house in Gaffney showing me how to swing a baseball bat. There is instruction and then there is apocalyptic instruction.

So yeah, William, I would like to see Russ Moore on panel with Vicki Covington who at one time wrote routinely for John Grisham's--a great Mississippi Baptist--to talk about complementarianism and the SBC.

Moore was in concert with the Albert Lee Smith in Alabama fundamentalism and Vicki and myself were about the Kingdom of God in fuller Glory.

God Bless you All and have a Nice Day.

And if you can't see the analogy of Roger Goodell to where Mike Hubbard finds himself now with the SEC in Light of the New Racism article in New Republic, then William I can't help you.

One more thing. God Bless Steve Spurrier and the Carolina Gamecocks for sharing the Gospel with the Georgia Bulldogs rain delay and all last Saturday afternoon!!!!!!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Truett Cathy

     Truett Cathy died this morning at age 93. I understand his Mother named him for the great Baptist of the first half of  the 20th Century George W. Truett. Cathy's son Dan was in my religion class at Furman the fall of 1971. And a first cousin's family operate his Win Shape program at Berry College.

    I think I only met Truett once and haven't talked to Dan since Furman.

     My Dad had a hilarious conversation with Truett at a cousins wedding in the late 90s where My Dad was trying to get Cathy to open a store at the West triangle of 411 in Centre, Alabama. Dad was Telling Cathy what a great spot it was and Truett said, Billy, we know the location, we've done the metrics, counted the cars and we're just not ready to commit yet.

    You had to be there to fully appreciate. Point being everything good said about Cathy's ability to relate to the common man, I saw with my own eyes.

     I have some differences with the Cathy's political leanings, have reservations about their seeming inability to see what was at stake in the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention; but I am proud of Truett as a trustee of Mercer University standing up for Kirby Godsey when the fundies were cryin for his head on a platter.

    And quite frankly I am disappointed to put it mildly to see Chic Fil A as a sponsor of Trey Gowdy and the Upstate S.C. Tea Party's Life and Liberty--Truth for a New Generation featuring a roll call of Fox News Ideologues--this past weekend at FBC Spartanburg, S.C. 

     However one comes down on Chic Fil A's notoriety of August 2012, I think Truett's greater legacy for the good lies elsewhere. My example is the ongoing conversation I had with a young woman of color who worked in his Gadsden store a few years ago.

    I noticed she pretty much kept the trains running on time, a natural leader during the noon rush hour when I would be there. I  got to know she was going to JSU majoring in English. I felt her out on Alice Walker, Flannery OConnor, Toni Morrison, Faulkner, even Rick Bragg. She knew them all and could talk about them. I think I introduced her to Ron Rash.

    She's teaching English now, all 110 pounds of her, at a High School in NE Alabama.

     Whatever you say about Truett Cathy, and there are numerous other grand things to say, remember that as well.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Phil Williams, Hugh Taylor and Joseph Morgan

   Friday night I met st. Senator Phil Williams for the first time. He is the Tea Party Super Christian gerrymandered GOP candidate for a slither of Deekalb county. See my letter below on Mike Hubbard and Bleaching and read the New Republic article.

     Joseph Morgan, operative Mark Cooper and the Senator's wife were with him. Jojo and Mark it appeared gave the Senator a quick debriefing before they came in the Subway after they'd done some politikin at the local HS football game. Williams said he was in a hurry; jojo ran interference. Jojo said Williams was an ordained Southern Baptist minister. Mark wanted to quibble about the New Republic article. I tried to drive home the point I was convinced if you asked Joseph's three borthers, the Dukey, UVA grad and Yale Div grad the right questions, they didn't share Williams versin of a "Christian world view"; especially the part where he coagulated with Scott Beason on the Kris Kobach immigration bill a few years ago in Bama that woulda deported half the Collinsville soccer team that won the state championship in 2013.

     Google Willimon repents, ethicsdaily, to see what Brother Mark Morgan's former Duke Chaplain thought of that "draconian" measure.

      Donnie Myers, JoJo's mother's go  to deacon for churchins, said the bill was written with "malice".

     On October 9 2012 about 9 influential couples in Collinsville gathered at the Collinsville Library for an endorsement of DeKalb County Judge Rains. Joseph's machinations helped defeat Rains. Jojo's machinations also helped elect Hugh Taylor as Supe of schools,

    Taylor isn't too popular in the County now with his crusade against beloved HS basketball coach Neal Thrash.

    Williams was pleasant in his brief exchange with me Friday night. His wife even smiled once when I teased taunted Joseph about his recent weight gain.

   But I remain convinced Williams is just a polished up version of Hugh Taylor. If you like Hugh Taylor, you're gonna love Phil Williams.

   Stay tuned; more to come


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mary Alice Helton on NPR

   Mary Alice Helton of Walland Creek outside Pigeon Forge, Tennessee became Mrs. W.D. "Shorty" Fox in 1916 when she was 16 years old. She told me once she always knew how old she was if she knew what year it was cause she was born in 1900.

      She was my grandmother. She and her generation came to mind yesterday as I was listening to a panel on NPR discuss Alice McDermott's new novel Someone. I called in about the 35th minute. You can listen online. Put Nanny in good company with Flannery OConnor, Ron Rash and the great transcendents of her time