- (Courtesy of Baptist Press/Thomas Graham)
BALTIMORE – Southern Baptist Convention members discussed a diverse collection of subjects in the 2014 SBC business meeting this week, ranging from a motion about worship music to another about the name of the NFL team Washington Redskins. During the business sessions, 5,240 registered "messengers" representing many of the convention's member churches had the opportunity to bring up issues – from cultural topics to theological discussion – for the SBC committees and the body of Southern Baptists to consider, discuss and address.
Here are seven of the most controversial, strange and heart-warming motions brought to the SBC floor.
Impeach President Barack Obama – Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist in Buena Park, California, asked the Committee on Resolutions to join Operation American Spring's efforts to impeach Barack Obama.
An online search of organization revealed that Operation American Spring – adapted from the middle eastern movement "Arab Spring" – is a grassroots effort for "patriots" to replace President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D), Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R), House Speaker John Boehner (R), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder with "law-abiding leadership." Drake's motion received a scanty second. The SBC Committee on Order of Business later declared the request was not in line with the convention's mission.
Ban the 2011 NIV Bible – Bob Lilly of FBC Richland asked that Lifeway "reconsider its decision to publish and pay royalties for the gender neutral 2011 NIV in Southern Baptist Sunday School Material."
The 2011 New International Version Bible has been a source of controversy among the evangelical Christian community. The translation, which erases gender-specific details from several of the texts, has been rejected by Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Texas megachurch First Baptist Church and even the Southern Baptist Convention.
Lifeway Christian Resources trustees voted, however, to continue selling the 2011 NIV despite the SBC's repudiation of the modern Bible translation. The Committee on Order of Business rejected the motion Wednesday because it offered a directive rather than a request.
Prayer for Kidnapped Nigerian Girls – Victor Vaughn of Agape Community Baptist church in San Diego urged the SBC Tuesday to "pray passionately and regularly for persecuted Christians." Vaughn specifically asked the convention body to remember the Nigerian school girls kidnapped by Islamic militant group Boko Haram. The motion was accepted and Committee on Order of Business Chairman David Smith led prayer for the girls Wednesday morning.
Admitting a Muslim to a Baptist Seminary – Mike Scott of Faith Baptist Church in Iron Station, North Carolina, motioned for a report explaining why SWBT admitted a person of another faith into its seminary in 2012. The Committee on Order of Business denied the request, noting that questions can be asked during the seminary's Wednesday report.
SWBT Spokesperson Steve Smith defended its decision to enroll Palestinian Ghassani Nagagreh into its archaeology program to The Christian Post by saying, "The student was a part of a dig site… and had a great relationship with our folks and wanted to study archaeology."
Change the Music – Kristoher Burns of Immanuel Baptist Church of Louisville Kentucky asked the Committee on Resolutions "to pursue ethnic diversity in all levels of convention" including its worship music. He asked the Executive Committee "to consider ways of expressing our convention's ethnic diversity through the worship music leadership music style, song selection and special music at future convention."
Julio Arriola, global worship pastor at Cross Church in northwest Arkansas, was recommended to serve as music director at next year's meeting.
Denounce the Redskins – Dwight McKissic, Sr. of Arlington, Texas, submitted a resolution to denounce the Washington Redskins of the National Football League for holding on to what he deems a "racially insensitive" name. Committee on Resolutions members declined the statement against the Washington, D.C., team because they believed there is no consensus among Native Americans about the name.
Moments later, Charles Martin, senior pastor of Winston Salem's Cornerstone Baptist Church and "a proud member of the Sappony tribe," publicly defended the Redskins saying he believes the name is one of honor.
Recognition for a Loyal Employee – John Rodgers valiantly defended a resolution to commend a longtime employee of his church, Plymouth Haven Church in Alexandria, Virginia. Harry Davis has worked as a Plymouth Haven custodian for 50 years. Rodgers said the church appreciates Davis' faithful service and wants to celebrate him.
The Committee on Resolutions said it could not pass a resolution for this purpose. However, a resolutions committee member committed to write a personal letter of commendation.