The full Board of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will meet tomorrow to decide what to do about Paige Patterson, who has lately been the center of controversy for his retrograde views of women.
My expectation is that the Board will affirm that Patterson is among the finest human beings to ever live (though we’re all no damn good, of course), that the seminary is fortunate to be led by such a Godly Holy Man, that ‘the world’ just happens to hate Patterson because he is so awesomely Godly, et cetera, et cetera.
My reasons for thinking so are:
Southern Baptists take great pride in their indifference to the opinions of ‘the world,’ which is unspeakably wicked and hates the baby Jesus. They will support Patterson just to stick a finger in the eye of the ‘politically correct.’
Though a strong theological case can be made for treating women as if they’re actual human beings (though no damn good, of course), Patterson’s disdain for women is solidly within the historic Christian teaching that women are for procreatin’ and growing the club. Much of the Board, undoubtedly, shares Patterson’s backward-looking views.
Patterson was an instigator and leader of the so-called Conservative Resurgence, that anti-intellectual carnival of fear and treachery that saw the Southern Baptist’s finest academics decamp to schools like Harvard and Princeton rather than disgrace themselves by pretending that Creationism and the Flood are intellectually respectable, that Jonah was actually swallowed by a great fish, that we should all be expecting a 7-headed dragon to appear in the sky at just about any time.
Patterson is a big time, honest-to-God celebrity amongst Southern Baptists; they won’t get rid of him for some degrading remarks about women when they needed years to get rid of well-documented, plain-vanilla fraud Ergun Caner.
They may soon have to decide what to do about the stained-glass window memorializing Paul Pressler, a co-leader with Patterson of the SBC’s Fundamentalist Takeover, now facing multiple charges of pederasty. The prospect of having to decide what to do about Patterson’s stained-glass window, too, is probably worth an entire jar of antacids.
Though they work more slowly in religious organizations, the Southern Baptist Convention is susceptible to the same market forces that work upon any other enterprise. Women who have enough self-respect to find Patterson’s attitudes objectionable — unfortunately, the SBC puts a lot of effort into degrading its congregants into slavish submission — should drag the hubby and children someplace else. Excepting unavoidable weddings and funerals I haven’t set foot in a church in more than 15-years, so I can’t make any recommendations, but the Unitarians and the liberal wings of the Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches are said by people I respect to at least not be crazy, so give one of them a try.
Or, better yet, spend Sunday morning with the family at a park. If you take Christian teaching seriously, God is there, too.