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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.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Are Fundamentalist Baptists and Islamists similar?

Feb 5 Update. Uncle Prentice has been doing some investigation and notified me of this report from the Colllinsville Baptist Newsletter. I was not aware some of the youth and some chaperones had heard Ergun Caner in Pigeon Forge.
I think Caner is a demagogue and a blight on Christendom at the moment. I heard reports today of John Hagee appearing with Jerry Falwell on cable television, Falwell being Caner's boss at Liberty.
Even so I applaud the good hearts and the good intentions of the folks now in charge of the youth at Collinsville; maybe a rural conversations initiative would bring some enlightenment; then again there was hope with Pacers, and hope conversations would ensue from the documentary Coming to a Crossroad, but they were muted.
And there was hope at one Time the periodicals Baptists Today, and Oxford American would be shelved in the Collinsville Public Library. Maybe that will play in the latest conversations, or maybe Gabriel Byrne was right the first time: "Same as it Ever Was."
Links in question
The Carsey Inst of New Hampshire has a report that promises to go back up online soon about Baptist Identity and the Republican Women's Committe of Liz Murdoch in the community of Elba, Alabama. How all that squares I'm convinced would be a great chapter in the sequel to Tom Edsall's Building Red America. Or just revise the chapter that has explorations of Richard Land and Ronnie Floyd.

There is a growing consensus both are a hindrance, a drag on the best of their traditions and constitutional democracies. My experience with elected officials in Collinsville, Alabama and church leaders here suggest as much, though most of the locals are good folks but cannot bring themselves to be more than bystanders.
If some aspects of the fundamentalism of Mohler, Pressler, Adrian Rogers and Karl Rove's operative Richard Land aren't not challenged by local church leaders then the frightful scenario of Chris Hedges may be our end. It is not only me and another exceptional product of Collinsville, Alabama; the editor of the Anniston STar is troubled as well as his recent review of this book proclaims

But at Emory University in Atlanta, there is more hope for redemption of Islam, than there may be for the Baptist faith in Collinsville, Alabama. A Sept 11, 2006 New Yorker article I came across yesterday in Guntersville, Alabama profiles a man who may become the Martin Luther King, the Oscar Romero for his faith tradition.

Here is a man on pilgrimage whose reform movement faces as much a challenge as Christians of conscience and perspicacity faced in George Wallace's 1960's Alabama, and many face today in places like Collinsville.
Here is the dilemma the article explores. I hope many of you will read the entire thing.

Naim’s quandary over Islam was an intensely personal conflict—he called it a “deadlock.” What he heard at Taha’s lecture resolved it. Taha said that the Sudanese constitution needed to be reformed, in order to reconcile “the individual’s need for absolute freedom with the community’s need for total social justice.” This political ideal, he argued, could be best achieved not through Marxism or liberalism but through Islam—that is, Islam in its original, uncorrupted form, in which women and people of other faiths were accorded equal status. As Naim listened, a profound sense of peace washed over him; he joined Taha’s movement, which came to be known as the Republican Brothers, and the night that had begun so idly changed his life.

It is a revelation story, and some version of it is surprisingly easy to hear in the Islamic world, especially among educated middle-class Muslims in the generation that came after the failures of nationalism and Socialism. During a recent trip to Sudan, I visited the University of Khartoum, which is housed in a collection of mostly colonial-era, earth-colored brick buildings in the city center, where I met a woman named Suhair Osman, who was doing graduate work in statistics. In 1993, at the age of eighteen, she spent the year between high school and college in her parents’ house on the Blue Nile, south of Khartoum, asking herself theological questions. As a schoolgirl, she had been taught that sinners would be eternally tormented after death; she couldn’t help feeling sorry for them, but she didn’t dare speak about it in class. Would all of creation simply end either in fire or in Paradise? Was her worth as a woman really no more than a quarter that of a man, as she felt Islamic law implied by granting men the right to take four wives? Did believers really have a duty to kill infidels? One day, Osman took a book by Taha off her father’s shelf, “The Koran, Mustapha Mahmoud, and Modern Understanding,” published in 1970. By the time she finished it, she was weeping. For the first time, she felt that religion had accorded her fully equal status. “Inside this thinking, I’m a human being,” she said. “Outside this thinking, I’m not.” It was as if she had been asleep all her life and had suddenly woken up: the air, the taste of water, food, even the smell of things changed. She felt as if she were walking a little off the ground.

Fox: For Naim and Osman it is Taha who helped them in the revelation pilgrimage. For me it has been Marshall Frady, Will Campbell, L. D. Johnson, Fleming Rutledge and Barbara Brown Taylor that has helped lay aside the shackles of George Wallace, Adrian Rogers,WA Criswell, Al Mohler, Richard Land and Karl Rove.


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