Protest & resignations follow Hendersonville group’s threat to defund Baptist newspaper

According to an article in the Associated Baptist Press, two resignations have emerged in the wake of a letter threatening to defund the N.C. Baptist State Convention’s newspaper, the Biblical Reporter. The threatening letter — which was written by Sandy Beck, the director of missions in the Hendersonville-based Carolina Baptist Association — took the newspaper’s editor to task for not knowing “the mindset of this predominantly biblically conservative state.”

Most recently, a Convention board member, Patricia Faulkner, resigned Nov. 4 in protest, saying she was quitting because apparent pressures had been brought to bear against the newspaper’s editor, Norman Jameson, who resigned in October.

The article quotes Faulkner as saying that “[the editor] was increasingly under pressure both from some Recorder directors and others in the state convention angered by the editor’s refusal to avoid covering subjects in Baptist life that irk conservatives, who have solidified their control over the convention.”

The editor resigned after Sandy Beck, director of missions in the Hendersonville-based Carolina Baptist Association wrote to Convention leaders saying that unless the editor was removed, “a motion would come from the floor of the convention to defund the newspaper in the state convention’s Cooperative Program unified budget,” according to the article.

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism. Follow me @fobes

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8 thoughts on “Protest & resignations follow Hendersonville group’s threat to defund Baptist newspaper

  1. twinkie223

    ” … the editor’s refusal to avoid covering subjects in Baptist life that irk conservatives …”

    Oh my God conservatives are irked! Someone must be fired! Better resign before you get wrestled to the ground and stomped on. Wonder which “subjects” are being alluded to here, I’m guessing it has to do with the gays.

  2. Betty Cloer Wallace

    God works in mysterious ways her wonders to perform.

  3. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Sadly, Twinkie223, this most recent effort by ultraconservatives affects perhaps half of NC humankind who are of the Baptist persuasion.

    Among other conservative efforts by the Baptist state organization to stamp out “diversity,” this most recent conflict happened because the editor of the Baptist newspaper committed the following sin: …continuing to cover North Carolina Woman’s Missionary Union, which is no longer recognized by the state convention…

  4. Dionysis

    Conservative christian types evidently believe in the unfettered freedom to agree with them in any manner one chooses.

  5. dpewen

    Very scary and ugly people these baptists … glad I am an atheist and don’t believe in their type of diversity.

  6. Dave Connelly

    Associational Missionaries once viewed themselves as servants of God’s churches. Now they’re Enforcers of Doctrinal Purity. Our pastor often explains, “Oh, we’re not *that* kind of Baptist.” Dave in Durham.

  7. Lamont Cranston

    I guess this is another example of what is called in these mountains a “Baptist Swarm”.

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