Alarm Over Anti-Muslim Comments at Southern Baptist Convention Meeting

June 13, 2002

Source: The Dallas Morning News

On June 13, 2002, The Dallas Morning News reported "Baptist's slam on Muhammad repudiated by other faiths." The article noted that the statement about the Prophet Muhammad "was the most recent in a series of conservative Baptist comments and actions over the last 20 years or so that have antagonized one group or another." This included: "In 1980, the Rev. Bailey Smith, a former Southern Baptist president, said God does not hear the prayers of Jews... In 1988, the convention declared that salvation was found only through Jesus Christ... In 1999, the convention's International Mission Board published guides to praying for Muslims, Hindus and Jews to become Christians. Prayers were to be offered especially on those worshippers' holy days." Condemnations of the statements about Muhammad came from both Jewish and Christian leaders: "'In the name of God, we condemn the hateful statement made in our city about Islam and the prophet Muhammad, and we express our solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters,' said Bishop George Wayne Smith of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri in a prepared statement. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, called Dr. Vines' remarks 'demeaning and damaging to the American ideals of religious diversity and intergroup civility.'"