New SBC President Supports LifeWay's 'The Blind Side' Removal

The newly elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention supported the efforts of a Florida pastor to remove the movie "The Blind Side" from LifeWay Christian bookstores over its language content.

Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Ave. Baptist Church in New Orleans, speaks at the Southern Baptist Convention's 2012 Pastor Conference, Monday, June 18, 2012.
Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Ave. Baptist Church in New Orleans, speaks at the Southern Baptist Convention's 2012 Pastor Conference, Monday, June 18, 2012. | (Photo: The Christian Post)

The Rev. Fred Luter, senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church of New Orleans and who was elected the first African-American SBC president on Tuesday, corresponded with Florida pastor Rodney Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church regarding Baker's effort to remove the film from LifeWay shelves.

In his email correspondence, which took place in late May, Luter expressed his support for Baker's efforts, stating that the Florida pastor showed determination in doing something Luter agreed with. Baker requested that the actual language of the email not be published, but The Christian Post obtained a copy and verified Luter's support.

"Thank you, Pastor Luter, for your correspondence of encouragement to persist with this conviction and your willingness to follow-up to remove this movie from our stores," said Baker in an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday.

"I pray that there will not be any more products with explicit profanity, God's name used in vain, and racial slur sold in our Lifeway Christian Book Stores."

Earlier this year, Baker proposed a resolution for the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans that would remove products with questionable content from LifeWay stores.

While Baker's resolution refers to the film as an "inspiring movie … about adoption and the deliverance of a young man from an impoverished life," he feels that given the explicit content of the product, it should not be sold at a Christian store.

"BE IT RESOLVED that the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in annual session June 17- 20, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana expresses dissatisfaction with 'The Blind Side' and any product that contains explicit profanity, God's name in vain, and racial slur," reads the resolution in part.

Baker had previously expressed his concerns in a resolution submitted to the Florida Baptist State Convention in 2010, which was the same year LifeWay started selling "The Blind Side." The FBSC approved the resolution in November 2010.

For its part, LifeWay decided to pull "The Blind Side" from its shelves in response to the proposed resolution by Baker that would be brought before the SBC messengers at the annual meeting. LifeWay has stated that this decision was done to make the resolution unnecessary. Baker was grateful for LifeWay's decision.

"Thank you...for listening to the voices of the overwhelming majority of Florida Baptist Convention messengers, the voice of this resolution, and above all the voice of the Holy Spirit to remove 'The Blind Side' from Lifeway Christian Book Stores," said Baker.

"I am confident our staff have carefully and prayerfully reviewed all the products we sell and applied standards approved by our trustees," said Marty King, communications director for LifeWay, in an earlier interview with CP.

Starring Quiton Aaron and Sandra Bullock, "The Blind Side" was released to theaters across the country in November 2009. A biographical film, its plot focused on Michael Oher, a black orphan adopted by a devoutly Christian white family who would go on to play in the National Football League.

Grossing over $34 million in its opening weekend, the film would eventually be nominated for Best Motion Picture at the Oscars. For her part, Bullock would receive an Oscar for Best Actress.

"Is our Holy God pleased when we disciple believers to view movies that use God's name in vain, filthy language, and racial slur?" asked Baker.

"What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace," added Baker, who was quoting John Wesley, the founder of Methodism.

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