Apr 18, 2012 (Fort Worth Star-Telegram - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Southern Baptists have gone wild this week, and I'm not just talking about Ed Young's illegal lion.
The senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas now says he's cool with a Mormon president, though he still thinks that faith is a cult.
Meanwhile, the ethics boss of the Southern Baptist Convention says he wishes he hadn't called two ministers "ambulance-chasers" for siding with Trayvon Martin's family, a line lifted with others from a newspaper column.
Also, Young wants more attention for him and his Fellowship Church lion.
In the most telling political turn of the week, the budding marriage of evangelical Christians and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was cemented when the Rev. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas said he'll support Mitt Romney for president based on "shared values of the sanctity of life and marriage."
Jeffress always said he would prefer Romney to President Barack Obama. Now, he says Southern Baptists can form a "moral alliance" with Mormons.
"There are great theological differences between us," he said by phone Tuesday, "but I think people of all faiths are interested in changing Washington."
In Arlington, the Rev. Wm. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church replied: "Jeffress said what?"
McKissic said the Mormon church's past teachings on race and segregation "trump any pro-life view": "How can you support somebody who believes in that book?"
McKissic made headlines by calling for the firing of Richard Land, president of the church's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.
McKissic said Land "lost credibility" with many Baptists by complaining on a March 31 radio show that sympathy for Martin was being "juiced up" by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, "racial ambulance-chasers."
Land has since apologized for the comments and for not crediting them to the Washington Times.
SBC Vice President Fred Luter of New Orleans, about to become the Baptists' first African-American president, had said Land's commentary "doesn't help, that's for sure."
And about the lion:
Young rants on a Web video that his Grapevine church has not been "denied" a permit for sermons like his Easter event with a caged lion and that WFAA/Channel 8 got it wrong.
I checked with police.
Lions are illegal. Period.
No lion permit. No lion.
Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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