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June 20th, 2012
11:51 AM ET

New Southern Baptist leader: Former street preacher, Katrina survivor

By Ashley Hayes, CNN

(CNN) - Hospitalized at age 21 with compound fractures and serious head injuries after a motorcycle accident, Fred Luter Jr. decided to give his life to God and enter the ministry.

A native of New Orleans' impoverished lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, Luter was the third of five children raised by a divorced mother who worked as a seamstress and a surgical scrub assistant, according to Thom Rainier, president and CEO of the Nashville, Tennessee-based LifeWay Christian Resources and a friend of Luter's.

Although he had been active in the church as a child, Luter "began to do some serious reflecting on his life" after the 1977 crash, according to a Web posting on Rainier's website. "God used that incident to bring him back to serving him," Rainier wrote.

And what a long way he's come since. On Tuesday, Luter, now the pastor of the 8,000-plus-member Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, was elected the first African-American president of the Southern Baptist Convention, an organization that began as a pro-slavery church more than 160 years ago. His term officially begins Wednesday night.

"This is a brand-new convention," Luter told CNN on Wednesday, calling his election "Exhibit A, to the world, that this convention is now ready to open its doors."

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However, he said, he and the convention are opposed to same-sex marriage, acknowledging that he and President Barack Obama differ "on this particular subject."

"I'm a man of the book," he said. "I believe in the word of God. I believe in the Bible, and God has spoken about marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman ... no one can change that," he said.

"All of us, as believers, all of us love everybody, including those in the gay community," he said. "We're going to embrace them as far as who they are, but we're also going to stand on biblical principles that the word of God has already established."

Rainier said of Luter's election: "The timing is late, but the choice is right." He wrote on his website that he has rarely known a greater preacher or family man. "One of my greatest fears is following Fred Luter speaking," he said.

Luter said he was surprised to have been unopposed, given the size of the 16 million-member organization and the fact that it's an election year, but the support he received from the floor "just brought tears to my eyes."

His election comes 17 years after the convention apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies.

He told CNN on Wednesday that the organization's history cannot be denied, but he noted that "every one of us has a history ... there's nothing we can do about our past, but there's a lot we can do about our future."

Following what Luter called his 1977 "Road to Damascus" moment, referring to the apostle Paul's conversion experience in the Bible, he began preaching on a street corner.

"With no church to preach in, Luter set up shop every Saturday at noon on the corner of Galvez and Caffin Avenue, where he would preach to anyone who would listen," according to a biography posted on the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church website. In 1983, he preached his first church sermon at the Law Street Baptist Church in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans. By 1986, he was preaching regularly at Greater Liberty Baptist Church when he heard about the opening at Franklin Avenue.

Once an all-white church, the Franklin Avenue congregation changed to mostly African-American members as urban renewal resulted in whites leaving the neighborhood, the church's website says. When Luter was approved as its new pastor, the church had 65 members and was "struggling."

But Luter implemented an outreach strategy known as "Frangelism," according to the church. The "Fran" stood for friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.

He also focused on bringing men into the church, reasoning, "The man is the family. If he comes to church he's going to bring his family with him," according to the church biography. To foster male church involvement, Luter would have men over to watch a sporting event and "then make his pitch for God," the church said.

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"When Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns fought, I had about 25 guys at the house that night," Luter said in the church biography. "Many of them are still with us."

Franklin Avenue had more than 7,000 members by August 29, 2005, when Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and triggered massive flooding in New Orleans. The Ninth Ward neighborhood was among the hardest hit.

The Franklin Avenue Baptist Church building "took on more than eight feet of water," according to its website. "The church was destroyed, and members were scattered all over the U.S., struggling to comprehend what had happened while considering the possibility of having to build new lives elsewhere."

It was a low point for Luter, Rainier recalled in his website posting. He remembered seeing Luter in the halls of LifeWay not long after Katrina and speaking with him about it. As he began talking about it, Rainier wrote, Luter broke into tears.

" 'Thom,' he began, 'I just hurt for our people,' " Rainier wrote. " 'They have no homes. They have no church. They have lost family. They have lost so much.'

"The moment was powerful for me," Rainier said. "You see, Fred and (his wife) Elizabeth Luter had lost so much too. Their home was destroyed and their lives were displaced. But there was not a moment of self-pity. There was no questioning of the will of God. Yes, there were tears. But those were the tears of a shepherd who loved his flock so much that he could hardly bear their pain."

Luter began attempting to reunite his church, according to the Franklin Avenue website. He found displaced members, tried to get them home and traveled all over the country to preach in cities where they were.

"New FABCs (Franklin Avenue Baptist Churches) sprang up in cities like Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas, but Luter wasn't satisfied," wanting a New Orleans church for members to return to, the biography said.

He was able to strike a deal with Pastor David Crosby of a Baptist church in the city's Lakeview neighborhood that had been spared major destruction from Katrina and was able to reopen within a few months. For the next three years, Luter held 7 a.m. services at the church while rebuilding Franklin Avenue.

In the process, the two pastors forged a friendship they say will last a lifetime, the church said. Crosby was to nominate Luter for his Southern Baptist Convention presidency.

The new Franklin Avenue sanctuary opened on April 6, 2008, the church said, and its membership has continued to grow.

The church notes that Luter is not naive about the Southern Baptist Convention's past. In 1986, when he began at Franklin Avenue, the church was considering leaving the convention, it said.

"In a move that could be described as fortuitous, he told his organization that he believed 'this convention had a heart for evangelism, for discipleship and reaching people in difficult times,' " according to Franklin Avenue's website. "Not knowing what would happen years later, he convinced them to stay."

Luter has been married to his wife, Elizabeth, for 32 years, according to the church. The two have a son and a daughter.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity

soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Gerry Johnson

    A black Southern Baptist is like a Jewish Nazi. Something's wrong.

    I suspect he was only elected because they think it will deflect African-Americans from supporting equal civil rights for LGBT Americans. I personally do not believe the average African-American is willing to dance to the Southern Baptist tune.

    June 21, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  2. RoadRunner, Albuquerque, NM

    A classic case of "the blind leading the blind;" he's a perfect shill for the Baptist theology that interprets the Bible to be pro-slavery for black people, anti-female, and anti-gay. He is clearly the Baptist's token black to counter the message of President Obama in support of marriage equality, and rally this popular fundy-cult groups literalist zealotes against the President in November to further their anti-gay "hate wrapped in love" agenda. They–right wing political religious groups always resort to the same anti-Christian tactics: they use the formerly oppressed to further oppression against other minorities; they wrap their hatred and bigotry in the legitimacy of religion and the flag (similar to arab terrorist fundamentalist sects (also very popular with the masses), and they disguise their offensive and hate-filled political agenda in the relative innocence of christian love. What other obscenities are they capable of?

    June 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  3. Henri

    there is no need to tear down any human being, or his or her belief. we are to love, give, believe, and thus we live....for God so loved the world that HE gave his only begotten SON, that whoever believes in him, shall not perish. It is not about what we think , it is about how we are to behave. No matter what the religious belief system, just imagine if each of us lived , to love our neighbor as ourselves, provide for those who are in need, believe in God, and live by the directions HE left us.... this does not preclude that many will chose not to, HE knows that as well..but it does tell those who say they believe in His word, how to live, Self Check? Those who claim His word?

    June 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Awesome

      Thanks Henri, you've done a wonderful favor for explaining how you are the problem.

      "No matter what the religious belief system... believe in God, and live by the directions HE left us..."
      Another wards, my religious beliefs are correct, and yours are wrong. of course, the thousands of other belief systems that have existed are all flawed, except yours. Please. And stop trying to use John Lennon lyrics to praise your invisible man.

      I also enjoy how you Casually accept how your god knows not all people will yield to his threats, therefor, obviously burn in h.ell, what a swell god!:-D threats they are Henri, do as I say or burn for eternity. Count for me, I've forgotten, how many we're murdered by god, personally, because their belief system was different?

      June 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
    • JWT

      You can believe in god all tat you want to. I don;t and both our ways are right for ourselves. You are implying, perhaps unintentionally, that belief in god is necessary to be a good person. Rubbish.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  4. J

    Every conversation on the belief blog nowadays:

    Christian: Hello. I think x, because God says y.

    Athiest: Well then you must be a ha.teful, ignorant, crazy, ho.mophobic Christian Bigot (even if it doesn't apply.)

    June 21, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • LinCA

      Just one question. Is that a typo, or are you ignorant?

      June 21, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • J

      What typo?

      June 21, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • LinCA

      @J

      You said, "What typo?"
      Thanks for answering the question.

      Atheist*

      June 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • J

      Sorry.

      June 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  5. jason

    "His election comes 17 years after the convention apologized for the denomination's onetime support of white supremacist and segregationist policies." ....guess that means with enough time they will eventually apologize for their non-support of equality in marriage.

    June 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Edwardo

      Don't hold your breath Jason. These self-righteous thugs hang on to that, to give them their false sense of superiority. The shrimp scriptures seem to be ignored, but gays... those shine out to them like a beacon in the night!

      June 21, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • jaun es de la Marque

      Dude!!!!! all you have to do is read the tenth chapter of acts to get a full explanaiton of why shrimp is ok to eat...

      jeepers dude , honestly ?!!! 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Righteo

      Given a choice between Jesus' direct instructions to follow the old covenants for the rest of eternity in Matthew 5 and the words of somebody else in Acts, you ignore Jesus and accept Peter?!?!?! Really? Why do you say you follow Jesus when you ignore him and follow Peter?

      I bet you haven't sold your possessions and given the money to the poor either, which people like you love to misinterpret as only applying to so rich kid and not all of his followers.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • juan es de la Marque

      @ righteo..... I'm sorry dude, you'll have to do some growing before I can properly respond to you...
      your ability to reason has not matured at all yet...

      here's a clue from th esame bible...STUDY TO SHOW THYSELF APROOVED, UNTO GOD, RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH... that's all I can say for you...son... 🙂 🙂 🙂

      June 22, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  6. MD

    So they have elected a new President for their "Only Convenient for Me" Club. Bunch of idiots!

    June 21, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  7. Copper's Donut Shoppe

    When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9.
    The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    June 21, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • atheists reject only one religion, the one they grew up with

      You do know that is old Jewish law? Meant for Jews??

      June 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • jaun es de la Marque

      no he has no idea! 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Righteo

      Actually, Jesus directly instructed you to follow all those old laws in Matthew 5:17-20

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

      Got that? Let me repeat it for you so you understand that they are still in effect.

      "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law."

      "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law."

      "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law."

      "Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law."

      Has heaven and earth disappeared? No? Well then that last line applies to you: "you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

      June 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • The Woof

      When the Ultimate Sacrifice was made, there was no longer a need for animal sacrifice.

      June 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Righteo

      Jesus says that you have to keep those old laws, Woofy! You are being deceived into disobeying Jesus' words by somebody else! What human could possibly have authority to supercede Jesus, and why do you choose to obey them instead of Jesus?

      June 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • juan es de la Marque

      well there you go Righteo, right in from of you there, Jesus said he came to fuffill them and HE DID!!!!!

      no one else in the history of the world did so but Jesus to absolute perfection...

      NOW!!! if you read the epiostles of Paul to the gentiles you will someday perhaps it will be an epiphany to you when your realize that we obey thye gospel of Christ through faith in him an dhis work on the cross and not in ourselves...
      We who believe have actually Christ in us by ansd throgh the spirit whic dwells in us...agsin by the blood of Jesus are we accepted in holimess with God HIMSELF !!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      June 22, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  8. Austin Powers

    Oh behaveee...

    or I'm going to call Adwarf Hitter... Hail hail yeah baby!

    June 21, 2012 at 6:01 am |
  9. Awesome

    I just love stories like this. How quick the supposed oppressed and discriminated are to turn around and exact the same behavior onto someone else. But, biases and prejudice be d@amned, it's nothing new to see a religious nut or black person sit on their ivory tower and sh!t on gays. Because, you know, they choose a life of discrimination and enjoy everyone's hate. It makes perfect sense.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • jaun es de la Marque

      poor gays ...bringing up the rear... 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  10. Name*scott Jarvis

    Au the lord bless you and give you peace

    June 21, 2012 at 3:19 am |
  11. me

    Who cares? Its the baptist church. Not like they matter or anything...I mean they promote their "pastors" from off the street. Who follows a religion like that?

    June 21, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • RC

      Why do you even care enough to ask in the first place?

      June 21, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Jade

      All religions are important. How would you like it if someone took away your right to believe in something you cared about?

      June 21, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • Jack

      @jade how would he like it if someone took away his right? your statement is absolutely absurd. Rights and religion have never coexisted hand in hand. Religion is important because its designed to steal away your 'rights', tell what to do, what to say. Let's talk about the rights of the millions of people murdered bin the name of religion. Whoops, theyre all dead. Religion is used to oppress opposing beliefs and people who do not conform. It's obvious by the yahoo's who run for office in this country, in the middle east where religion is used as governmental control, do we need a history lesson here? Should we begin with the gays as second class citizens because of overzealous religious loons?

      June 21, 2012 at 4:05 am |
    • Atul Chaudhary

      Jack, I find your logic amusing. Liberals and democrats they want more government, more rules means being controlled by the government. They have problems with Godly rules, suddenly their liberal cerebral starts to move with warp speed. I have studied this phenomenon, my conclusion is that their actions find them guilty when they compare it with Godly laws or may be their consciousness makes them feel guilty. Best think is to condemn Godly rules so you don't have to worry about breaking them.

      If men had followed Godly principle, we wouldn't have diseases like AIDS. Get real. Yes, you have your right to do whatever you want including going to hell.

      June 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  12. Will

    The people that gave us and supported segragation, the sub-human treatment of women and opposed inter racial marriage elect a black man to tell gays and lesbians they have no place on the bus (much less the back of it) but promplty throws them under the bus.

    Nice one.

    ...and since I am a straight man how did I suddenly become a "gay activist" for thinking that gay people should have the right to marry? Seems to me this a lie created for one intent, to demean something that is long over due.

    June 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Edwardo

      Thanks for your post Will. It is so nice to hear someone say something so intelligent. Nice to see a man who isn't so anti-gay. I'm probably the most harmless person you've ever met. Hard to believe society treats me so badly. I live a good life, happily partnered for 14 years, we do a lot of work for the community, we hold down good jobs... etc. Yet, murderers in prison can get married, yet I can't marry the love of my life...

      June 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • chris T

      education does wonders. It can even cure ignorance. Will is obviously well educated.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:13 am |
  13. tony

    This really weird that he would come out against gay marriage given this is the same convention that was pro-slavery, also using the bible in there defense of slavery. Seeming like history just repeating it self with a new leader to me......

    June 20, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Edwardo

      How quickly the oppressed become the oppressors, huh? I used to feel bad for the black community, but I rarely ever hear them stand up for my rights. There's a few, not labeling them all... just seems as a rule, they are against equality for me.

      June 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • jaun es de la Marque

      Eduardo , I'm sorry for you dude... but we're doing this for you own good... 🙂

      No really Christians are engaged in a political firestorm mostly led by serpents as described in the bible...they have bitterness under their tongues... and Jesus said that belivers should take them up as mentioned in Mark chapter 16 just before he is taken up into heaven in the sight of his disciples...Paul mentions them in Romans chapter one saying they have the poison of asps under their tongues... 🙂 though this ain't funny , I dopn't know what esle to do but laugh 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  14. hippypoet

    Awakened Desire

    I dream of a night where i can blink eye and put out the light.
    It's obvious to me now to get to sleep is held by slits allow.
    When it came time for shut-eye and goodbye.
    My spirit was set free for great depravity.
    I bit my lip and clenched my fist,
    But these tainted desires, these thoughts persist.
    At the reach of each arm lay a tangible temptation.
    Through the act of sin i find i love this abomination.
    I caress her legs and run my fingers down her skin.
    The warmth of her body, like a blanket I wrap myself in.
    I @ssume her throne and bathe in her power.
    I rock her earth and debase her flower.
    Shy the sigh and give to scream instead.
    Don't hold back, Lay with three in the artists bed.
    One for me and one for you,
    Lets find out what an extra four lips can do.
    You have your toy and I have mine.
    How fast can you make those eyes shine?
    I make you my own and show you my cure.
    You'll never walk right again, that you can be sure.
    So I pull out and set my loin free.
    I see in friends eye desire my specter be.
    She charges hell's inferno and makes me her own.
    But little does this wretch know there is no room for her on my throne.
    Know if others fire burns in my eye, there will be no sleep for me.
    For I find I have a grave gift of deplorable debauchery.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Cartman

      You again with your cr@ppy poem? Get out of here you d@amn hippies!!! >:-O

      June 21, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  15. Nigel

    DEREGULATE TACOS

    June 20, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  16. Lisaburgess

    Top Ten Signs You're a Christian
    10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
    9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
    8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
    7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
    6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
    5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
    4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
    3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
    2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
    1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history – but still call yourself a Christian.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Nigel

      jesus would be ashamed of the church today. He never planned or wanted organized religion. I am a Christian who is against the authoritarian church because their actions and preachings are not what he taught.

      June 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Just Curious

      Try reading the Bible before posting things of which you're clearly unaware

      June 20, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • True Believer

      @Lisaburgess: The beauty about "Christianity & the Bible" is that it will stand the test of time. Unfortunately, if you die unsaved... that is... die without accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior by Believing the Gospel of Salvation as recorded in the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), you will find out that your "Top Ten Signs You're a Christian" cost you your life.

      They say that two things are certain: Death and taxes. Actually, neither of these are 100% true. There are some living today, that pay zero taxes... and there are some that according to the Bible, will never see death. But one thing is certain: Judgment Day.

      For those who share your beliefs, that judgment is called "The White Throne Judgement." For myself and my fellow believers, we will stand before the judgement seat of Christ. At that time, both you and I will see the reality of whether that which we have bet our lives on is indeed reality.

      If there is no God, you will simply die some day, and close your eyes forever. If my Bible is correct, death simply means that you will be "loosed" from your present body and this present world, to a reality that you can not even begin to imagine. Ironically, I too, will open my eyes to a world that is beyond my wildest dreams as well.

      But one thing is certain... this is an argument that will definitely be settled. It just so happens that I have read the book, and I am already convinced. But then again... I guess you are convinced too.

      If I understand my Bible correctly Lisaburgess... you and I will meet at some point in the future. One way or another, we will meet. For your sake, I hope we meet as family. But we will meet.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Edwardo

      @Believer – thanks for regurgitating that load of indoctrinated b.s. what a fairy tale you spewed. Total nonsense to say the least. If you think your god, who has drowned babies in great floods, and countless other atrocities, has a right to judge anyone, you are truly warped.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Front door

      true believer has enlightened all of us with the proverbial underlying truth and ultimate design of religion. Do as I say, or burn in h.ell

      Actually, do as I say, not as I do, or burn in h.ell

      Can't forget all of gods hypocrises, that would be a sin*snicker*

      June 21, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • NONATHEIST

      You set up this ridiculous straw man based upon the worst stereotypes, pretend that it is an accurate representation of all people faith, and then criticize them? Rather disingenuous, isn't it? Besides, if I had to pick the group most characterized by outrage in my life experience, it would not be Christians, but atheists.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • jaun es de la Marque

      awe jeepers I missed out on the first ah #10...I have the pone and only God ther is but could care less what otehers think about it.. 🙂

      June 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  17. Ronin

    I can not stand the south, the Blacks in the south or the whites in the south.. Nothing but TRASH in the South..... I have No respect for Blacks in the South , and neither do any of my Black friends from NJ, DC, NYC and as far as my White from from NJ, NYC & DC...they consider southern whites a bunch or Backward Rednecks , everyone doing their sisters, husbands in the south having affairs with both women and men, yet lecturing the country about morality....Get Real....bunch of damn HICKS!!!

    yeah I said it HICKS....they are the one's that keep America from Advancing... I wish America would just get ride of the south once and for all !!!

    June 20, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • ashley

      Go kill yourself because you must be a very miserable person

      June 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Jade

      How do you get rid of the South?

      June 21, 2012 at 2:31 am |
  18. HeavenSent

    What is this? Planet of the Apes. Monkeys can't lead.

    Amen

    June 20, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Wow

      Good laugh, good laugh

      June 21, 2012 at 4:16 am |
  19. Dana

    Not news to me as aren't all baptists black anyway?

    June 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  20. ReallY?

    The democrat party was the party which supported continued slavery, and went to war for it. The Republican's were the party agains slavery. How quickly people forget.

    I grew uo baptist, and this is the FIRST I ever heard that the Baptist religion was founded to support slavery. Was it started by democrats?

    June 20, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Read some history, ignoramus.

      If you think that the Democratic Party of today is anything LIKE the Democratic Party of the 1850s-70s, you're too stupid to post anything about it.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • What Is A Six-Letter Word for "Doomed To Fail"? ROMNEY!

      Actually, the Democratic Party in the pre-Civil War years was split along regional lines as to whether it supported slavery. The same was true of the Whigs, the other major party. They were divided. The Republicans were indeed the only party purely against slavery.

      However, the Republican Party today is so far removed from Lincoln's time that it would be unrecognizable to him. The party's opposition to the plantation system, is at odds with how Corporate America possesses things and exploits labor, and yet to be Republican is to love and support corporations.

      Do you favor hard money? Of course not. Do you favor high tariffs? The is the opposite of the Republican free-trade world-economy approach. Do you favor generous pensions for war veterans? I haven't heard Republicans do that.

      You have nothing in common with Lincoln era Republicans. The Southern Baptists, however, remained actively racist until recently, and they are latently still so.

      June 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • NONATHEIST

      NO, Baptists began centuries ago in Switzerland and surrounding countries. They objected to infant baptist, and affirmed baptism of persons who took a conscious step to affirm their faith, thus making their churches a gathering of like-minded persons more so than a family thing. The article claims the Southern Baptist Convention, which is only a small subset of all Baptists worldwide, began as a slavery-affirming church. In truth, slavery is against traditional Babptist beliefs, although that didn't stop Confederate Baptists from doing what they had to do to continue their chosen lifestyle in the mid-nineteenth century.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:54 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.