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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.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Will and Blanche, Hope for Alabama

  A couple days I called a couple members of Congress DC office and talked to two promising interns with ties to Bama, one to South Carolina. Blanche, an honors student, rising senior at U bama knew who Judge Frank Johnson was. That puts her in the top 7 percentile. Not many know and it's a shame. I think she was from Sullivan's Island SC. She may try to find my first cousin's friend from Alaska rising jr in the honors program. She took notes. Like Will I think she is gonna read Joe Crespino on Atticus.

   Ya'll should join them and listen to the interview on Two Way Street.

    Will was a charm a grad of Indian Springs prep in Bham and Sewanee, an English major. He's read Harvard Lit Critic James Wood and said he is a relatively sober Episcopalian. He didn't know Daniel Alarcon of Peru and Indian Springs, but good kid with good sense of humor.

    I think he gonna find a copy of Wood's The Fun Stuff and look up the essay on Alexander Hemon and his thought s on the location of the soul of a man.

   Two good kids. I think they could resolve our current immigration malaise if we could just get the Bama delegation to sign on their law.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Southern Baptists Rotten Theology from Texas Regulars through the Bush era to Trump

      I can't do the remedial reading for you but this blog will make the most sense if you are up to speed on Wuthnow's Rough Country, Molly Worthen's Apostles of Reason, Marie Griffith's Moral Combat, have a clue who George W. Truett was and can distinguish him from WA Criswell and Franklin Graham and understand what Bill Moyers was gettin at in his 1987 PBS documentary on how Paul Pressler of the TExas Regulars and Exxon Oil was trying to sabotage the Southern Baptist Convention for the Far Right.

   For anybody paying attention, Harold Bloom got it right in the American Religion in 93. Rough quote: The Tragedy in the Southern Baptist Convention is the result of pure political machinations masquerading as religious conviction. JD Grear is only 45 but he ought to own where he comes from now that he is back to 79 when SBC was on the verge of a great Missions Initiative. But Adrian Rogers and Pressler had some scores to settle with Jimmy Carter and James Dunn and LBJ

   Oh and google the religion dispatches piece on Rotten Theology. You can do that soon as you read this blog.

     The national press in the hysteria over JD Grear's pronouncement the SBC does Missions, Not political platforms misses a lot. The last 40 years of Baptist history has seen a religious group Marshall Frady said in the 60s was groping toward an accomodation with modernity and the Civil Rights Movement was jacklegged back into Jesse Helms camp and the playground of leftovers from the John Birch Society and White Citizens County. Read my course readings above. Ellen Rosenberg wrote me as much in a letter you can find in Baptist history at the forum site Baptist life dot com.
      Somebody has to do something with the stained glass windows of Paige Patterson and Paul Pressler at SWBTS. Will Grear let them stand. This happens as Dallas, hometown of Criswell and Jeffress. City council is trying to figure out what to do with the Stonewall Jackson and Jeff Davis Monutments there. Maybe they could move Criswell, Pressler and Patterson and get the sunlight right  and have a helluva a museum. Wuthnow has great chapter in Rough Country Judge Lynch to Jim Crow. Pressler and Patterson Stained glass light would be proper ambience for the arts and history conundrums of Dealy Plaza etc.
      Bill Friday told Cecil Sherman the most significant event in NC the decade of the 80s was the fundamentalist takeover of the Seminary at Wake Forest. My dad was a classmate there in the 50s with Randall Lolley. Friday told Sherman Jesse Helms and Pressler and the right wingers driving the SBC to the Far Right--Adrian Rogers political guru Ed McAteer, the Bircher Albert Lee Smith of Birmingham and his Eagle Forum Wife Eunie--they had some grievances to settle with Martin Luther King and his then SBC friends Carlyle Marney, Will Campbell, LD Johnson, Molly Marshall, James Dunn , Martin England and others.

     Read Molly Worthen Carefully.

     More later to cut to the chase for JD Grear. Congrats on leaning forward on immigration but the NRA will be the test case. As Atwater envisioned and Wuthnow reports, Racebaiting as a political strategy evolved into the mendacity of abortion politics, to the FLAG, Prayer in schools and now Kaerpernick and the NRA.

    Grear if he is for read must set up some truth and reconciliation committee in our subculture. And historically Baptist efforts in higher education driven from the fold in the 90s should every three years offer courses in all the reverberations of this rotten theology that has whipsawwed and bamboozled my people these last 40 years.

    It aint all reconciled with one forward looking resolution on immigration and mild flick on the wrist of Donald Trump

   And here is an update June 22, when some friends come back from Italy and others leave South Georgia for Bar Harbor

   I am hoping this all gets to be fodder for an  hour long conversation on NPR One A program. Jonathan Merritt had a piece in the Atlantic but Alan Bean has a better blog that got picked up by Baptist Global News 

Copy and paste the url.

   To Bean I would add Tom Edsall's report I think June 6, 1986 in the Wash Post after the Atlanta SBC in a headline New Right Now Controls Huge SBC, all the fundy SBC presidents to that date were founding members of Tim Lahaye's American Coalition for Traditional Values for which Joe Rodgers a former finance chair of the GOP raised a hundred thousand dollars.

   Also see Ellen Rosenberg's letter to me in the History section of Baptist life dot com forums.

  Garry Wills framed the bigger picture in reviews of EJ Dionne and Joe Scarborough's analysis of the Republican party in the NEw York Review of books, nybooks dot com.

  Bean is on to it saying outright it was never about scripture but resentment of Brown V Board and the role of women in church. My references spell that out.

   And Edsall's suggestion a Carter Windfall profits tax helped focus Pressler's Exxon world with the Leftover Bircher and marginal of the White citizens council in his inner circle of Jesse Helms, Ed mcAteer and Bham and Eagle Forum's Albert Lee Smith

  Footnote. Ellen Rosenberg letter of 88, an excerpt. She wrote the seminal work that year SBaps, a Subculture in Transition

   Quoting her:  I really enjoyed talking to you, and receiving that wealth of material and food for thought. My back issues of SBC Today finally arrived and I feel much more up to date.

What I think now is this: The SBC is being mobilized to serve as the base for a New Right movement. Falwell's throwaway comment in Salt Lake to look to James Dobson for leadership after the demise of the Moral Majority was a red herring. When the SBC has been disciplined and intimidated and the necessary personnel substitutions have been made, they will move. All the other stuff is incidental. Each successive outrage is outrageous but not worth getting bothered about (except, of course for the individuals involved)--it is the pattern that is important. What I see going now is an erosion of board-staff boundaries, this constant interference by trustees in personnel and program responsibilities.

What interests me now is why the moderates took so long to see what was happening. I found a piece by Glenn Hinson in Rev-Exp, Spring 1982. p 229, they...."have linked arms with the American political right and thus articulate positions more social and political than theologgical in nature." He saw what was happening...was anybody listening? Was he too gentle, too reluctant to be more explicit? Too Afraid?



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Rough transcript of my serendipitous call to Finebaum show June 4

  Ryan McGhee the baseball writer who lived in Travelers Rest SC in late 80s when his Dad worked for Furman was guest host. I was first caller about ten minutes in and the conversation just took off. We seem to have better rapport than Finebaum and me on most occasions, not counting my glorious conversation with Greg McElroy, one Rhodes scholar to another, in October 2012.

    Ryan: First caller today from Gaffney South Carolina, home of the peach.

    Fox: Got a lot on my mind today and would love to talk about the Furman legends at fluor Field but you are the SEC network so I guess will start with the Bear. Well before that what you think of this Luke Chapman kid from Easley with the Gamecocks in the playoffs. I was at a wedding over the weekend and playin one ups stories and threw my pick up game with Kevin Garnett out there when he was a 9th grader on a playground in Mauldin SC. Fellow from Arkansas a kidney doctor immediately went to his wife and her story of her 103 year old grandmother who witnessed Johnny Cash and Bear Bryant tossing a football just outside Fordyce Arkansas way back there in the 20s 1920s when both were still boys. Same town Mick Jagger of the Stones got arrested in the 60s.

    Ryan:  Chapman is the real deal. Having a good playoff. Gonna keep following him...... Lot happens in small towns. You had a strong story with Kay Gee, but Bear and Johnny Cash hard to beat. So how's Gaffney.

   Fox: I don't live there now but that's where I'm from. Guess how many football games they lost from fall of 1960 through Billy Ray Rice senior year, fall of 67.

   Ryan: I don't know Seven, I just know anytime even in the 80s they came in or near Greenville County they kicked hiney.

  Fox, Answer is three, those textile mill white boys and cornbread boys from Grassy Pond, Goucher and Corinth were serious under the direction of Bob Prevatte and Wayne Whiteside.

    Ryan: Tell me a little something about the Furman legends at Fluor Field.

   Fox: The Golf women, Dottie Pepper, Betsy King and Beth Daniel are there with Stanford Jennings, Sam Wyche who drew up the play for the forty niners where Montanta threw the Superbowl touchdown to Dwight Clark, and Clint Dempsey and tennis legend Coach Paul Scarpa.

   Ryan: I remember Scarpa's wife was one of the Snake's Girlfriends.

  Fox: if you got time for the short version as I heard it.

  Ryan :   Pushing it now but maybe 45 seconds at most

    Fox. I was at a Furman tennis match about ten years ago and as I was about to leave spoke to Mrs. Scarpa in the stands and mentioned some mutual friends, cousin connection of Greenville folks to peeps in Bama.

   She said, oh your from Alabama. Do you follow the Tide.

  I said I'm not crazy about them but aware they have a football team.

   She says I was one of Kenny Stabler's ole girlfriends.

  I said Mrs. Scarpa your still an attractive woman but as good lookin as you had to be 45 years ago anybody that good lookin within 40 miles of Tuscaloosa was one of Stabler's ole girl friends.

   She said I was one of the real ones. I road all over south Alabama in that 66 Mustang.

   (Ryan like the story) and then volunteered after I hung up. Yeah Gaffney got to do something about that peach on 85. Its as if they are mooning every body passing through, Ought to turn it around or at least do something with the leaf to cover  some hiney.....We'll be right back.