The recent death of James M. Dunn, who was head of the Baptist Joint Committee for Public Affairs (familiarly known as BJC) 1981-99, furnishes a reminder of how people can change over the years. This is not said pejoratively since most people DO change as they pass through the different phases of life, myself included.
Dunn was a very effective leader vis-a-vis church-state relationship, arguing consistently and successfully for a solid separation of the two. After leaving the BJC, he became a faculty member of Wake Forest University School of Divinity. He was highly responsible for nullifying any state-mandated prayer in public schools but helped structure the opportunity, nevertheless, for students to pray.
The primary funding of the BJC was provided by the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist denomination in the U.S., until 1991, when SBC leaders, if not the rank-and-file as well, became dissatisfied with Dunn's approaches. From about 1979 until 1991, conservative leaders attempted to make the SBC itself more conservative and were successful, the result being a handful of groups pulling out, the largest probably the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which does not claim to be an actual denomination most likely because many if not most of its “partner” churches are dually aligned with both the SBC and CBF. It furnishes no membership statistics, as do other denominations, but has a headquarters in Decatur, Georgia. Dunn was a member of the Board of Directors of Baptists Today, a liberal magazine closely connected to the CBF.
Initiated in September 2003 was something called then or shortly after the Clergy Network for National leadership Change. It was a "527" organization, meaning that it was not tax-exempt, actually a PAC. Its head was Albert Pennybacker, a retired minister and former National Council of Churches honcho, and its headquarters was in the nation's capital. Part of its funding was furnished by the George Soros outfit (MoveOn.org), dedicated to the disruption of the U.S.
Sitting on its National Committee was Dunn, also listed as the president of the BJC Endowment. Serving with Dunn, who was also a substantial financial contributor about whose motives one can only conjecture in light of his former stance, was the Rev. Jesse Jackson, protest-gadfly and head of the Rainbow-Push Coalition.
The first paragraph of the CLN Mission Statement: As clergy--pastors, rabbis, imams, and other religious leaders, both men and women--we are deeply concerned about the well being of our country, we are committed to sweeping changes--changes in faltering political leadership and its increasing lack of credibility and rejection of public policies increasingly seen as not only failing but actually destructive of the quality of current life and America's future.
The actors in CLN were not identified as "citizens" concerned about the well-being of the country; rather, they were clearly identified as clergy and other religious leaders, so it would seem that their sole purpose was to tear down the wall that separates state and church (synagogue, mosque) by entering the elective process through religious convictions/actions only, else they would not have identified themselves unmistakably and solely as "religious leaders." So, the CLN was a PAC, pure and simple, dedicated to one purpose, the election of a specific candidate, John Kerry. Dunn had “evolved” into a liberal.
It was significant that in the 1,200-member CLN's National Gathering in Cleveland in May 2004 vice presidential candidate John Edwards (along with Jackson a high-profile adulterer) was a speaker. The CLN defined itself as the "Religious Left" on its Web site, thus identifying itself unmistakably with the Democrat Party, although it's inconceivable that more than a bare majority of its members could have been as far left as John Kerry or Edwards. Or Dunn?
Dunn's evolution continued when he joined Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton in 2008 in something called the New Baptist Covenant (advertised as representing some 30 or so Baptist groups), actually Carter's revenge against the uninvited SBC, whose leaders rejected Carter's theology in 1991, never mind his “devoutness.” Dunn conducted one of the conferences during the clambake, held 30 January – 01 February in Atlanta just as the conventions of the three largest black Baptist denominations were ending (attempting captive black participation) and just prior to the Georgia presidential primary vote on “Tsunami Tuesday.” Nearly half of the speakers were either then or had been connected to politics at the highest level (church-state separation?). Carter was on the record as supporting state-sanctioned civil unions for gay couples. Hillary lost Georgia to Obama, anyway.
The NBC's most profound fiasco was giving Al Gore time and space to present his film An Inconvenient Truth, which could be shown in British public schools only after its many errors (lies) were explained. Its claim of man-made global warming was thoroughly debunked in 2009 by emails of the UN-sponsored perpetrators of the monumental hoax, not realizing that they were leaving themselves to twist in the wind. On the light side, Bill Moyers, an ordained Baptist minister, was to be a featured speaker but was dropped from the program. For decades, he had been a member of a church affiliated with the United Church of Christ, the denomination of Barack Obama and the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah (God damn America) Wright, and which officially sanctioned same-sex marriage in 2005.
Just as Obama “evolved” (his term) almost overnight from insisting marriage only between a man and woman to actually marriage being anything, Carter “evolved” away from the Bible on homosexual behavior and Dunn, after years of yeoman service in behalf of church-state separation, “evolved” away from separation to clergy-sponsored politics and participation in a Hillary Clinton campaign effort (NBC) plus faux climate-alarmist clambake (NBC), whether he believed that stuff or not.
Sad to see the giants fall!
And so it goes.