Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

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Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:22 pm

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/arc ... al/394406/

Sidney Blumenthal name has repeatedly come up in Ben Ghazi hearings.

He was near the phone when I called the Wash Post in 84 and I may have talked to him about the New Republic piece he wrote on Pressler and the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. His colleague Tom Edsall was in Atlanta for the 88 convention and I talked to Tom there after he met my Dad and Bill Self.

Blumenthal knew the underbelly of the SBC and what Paul Pressleer was up to. I still want to talk to Billl Moyers on Blumentha's insight into the 48 Senate race in Texas between LBJ and Coke Stevenson who ran with Pressler's crowd. Sidney corrected Robert Caro and I'm convinced unwittingly nailed the origins of Pressler's obsession with the SBC!
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Ed Pettibone » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:01 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/05/on-the-frenzy-over-sidney-blumenthal/394406/

Sidney Blumenthal name has repeatedly come up in Ben Ghazi hearings.

He was near the phone when I called the Wash Post in 84 and I may have talked to him about the New Republic piece he wrote on Pressler and the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. His colleague Tom Edsall was in Atlanta for the 88 convention and I talked to Tom there after he met my Dad and Bill Self.

Blumenthal knew the underbelly of the SBC and what Paul Pressleer was up to. I still want to talk to Billl Moyers on Blumentha's insight into the 48 Senate race in Texas between LBJ and Coke Stevenson who ran with Pressler's crowd. Sidney corrected Robert Caro and I'm convinced unwittingly nailed the origins of Pressler's obsession with the SBC!


Ed; Steve, what is it you hope to accomplish with your constant harangue about Pressler's involvement in the SBC takeover?

Those of us who opposed the takeover in real time know the Judge was the primary mover. To those who support the the so called resurgence he is a hero. Having read his account in (A Hill On Which To Die) I think he relishes the attention, so why feed his ego?
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby David Flick » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:37 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/arc ... al/394406/

Sidney Blumenthal name has repeatedly come up in Ben Ghazi hearings.

He was near the phone when I called the Wash Post in 84 and I may have talked to him about the New Republic piece he wrote on Pressler and the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention. His colleague Tom Edsall was in Atlanta for the 88 convention and I talked to Tom there after he met my Dad and Bill Self.

Blumenthal knew the underbelly of the SBC and what Paul Pressleer was up to. I still want to talk to Billl Moyers on Blumentha's insight into the 48 Senate race in Texas between LBJ and Coke Stevenson who ran with Pressler's crowd. Sidney corrected Robert Caro and I'm convinced unwittingly nailed the origins of Pressler's obsession with the SBC!
    Ed Pettibone wrote:Ed; Steve, what is it you hope to accomplish with your constant harangue about Pressler's involvement in the SBC takeover?

    *Those of us who opposed the takeover in real time know the Judge was the primary mover. To those who support the the so called resurgence he is a hero. Having read his account in (A Hill On Which To Die) I think he relishes the attention, so why feed his ego?

        *I'm of the opinion that not only does Pressler relish the attention, which feed his ego, but Fox relishes the attention of rattling off names of people, entities, and places, which feeds his ego...
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Sandy » Mon Oct 26, 2015 3:11 pm

Nothing in the discussion having to do with Benghazi, except Stephen's use of it to grab attention. Blumenthal isn't Baptist. Doesn't seem there's much to discuss here.

No FBC Spartanburg mention or Billy Graham. Hmm. :wink:
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Flick, Moyers and Pettibone

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:40 pm

I mainge Flick and Pettibone have similar reservations about Bill Moyers speaking this fall in tribute to James Dunn's legacy. There are new insights and revisions all along about what Pressler wrought, the latest being Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country. Flick and Pettibone have said their peace. A multitude of others including Moyers and myself continue to be amazed at how Pressler's poison continues to infect the national discourse.
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Moyers event

Postby Stephen Fox » Wed Oct 28, 2015 4:08 pm

Here is 2006; another coming soon

http://www.wfu.edu/wfunews/2006/030106m.html
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Re: Flick, Moyers and Pettibone

Postby Ed Pettibone » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:01 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:I mainge Flick and Pettibone have similar reservations about Bill Moyers speaking this fall in tribute to James Dunn's legacy. There are new insights and revisions all along about what Pressler wrought, the latest being Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country. Flick and Pettibone have said their peace. A multitude of others including Moyers and myself continue to be amazed at how Pressler's poison continues to infect the national discourse.


Ed: Stephen when have you ever heard Flick or my self say any thing about Moyers that would make you think Flick and or I would have any reservation about Moyers Speaking in tribute to James Dunn's Legacy.
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Re: Flick, Moyers and Pettibone

Postby David Flick » Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:54 am

Stephen Fox wrote:1I mainge Flick and Pettibone have similar reservations about Bill Moyers speaking this fall in tribute to James Dunn's legacy. There are new insights and revisions all along about what Pressler wrought, the latest being Robert Wuthnow's Rough Country. Flick and Pettibone have said their peace. 2A multitude of others including Moyers and myself 3continue to be amazed at how Pressler's poison continues to infect the national discourse.


    1) Fox, James Dunn's legacy speaks for itself. Aaron Weaver wrote the book on that issue. (Incidentally, Aaron sent me a signed copy of the book.) It doesn't matter a whit to me who speaks in tribute to Dunn. While I may disagree with Moyers on not a few issues, wrt Dunn, I completely agree.

    2) Now here's an all-time first on BL.Com. You talk about a "
    multitude of others" and fail to drop a single name. Merciful heavens! What is this world coming to?? ... Anyway, other than you and Moyers, I haven't a clue who the heck that "multitude of others" is. I think probably you might be talking about those four yellow Democrat dogs in Collinsville, AL. Wait a minute!.. :o Hold it just a second!.. :o Change that to read, "...those four yellow dog Democrats in Collinsville, AL." :wink:

    3) As much as I intensely dislike the Pressler for what he did to the SBC, I'm not convinced that he's had much of an effect on the national discourse. He may be big in Texas politics and big in the hearts of fundamentalist Southern Baptists, but he's pretty much a non-entity outside those two factions. Other than your ranting and raving about him here on BL.Com, I've yet to hear his name mentioned a single time in the entire past year in national media. If he is even half as "poison" as you claim, surely to goodness the Lame Stream Democrat media would have destroyed him years ago. The very fact that the media ignores him tells me that he's a virtual nobody in the political scheme of things.

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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Sandy » Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:00 am

David Flick wrote:As much as I intensely dislike the Pressler for what he did to the SBC, I'm not convinced that he's had much of an effect on the national discourse. He may be big in Texas politics and big in the hearts of fundamentalist Southern Baptists, but he's pretty much a non-entity outside those two factions. Other than your ranting and raving about him here on BL.Com, I've yet to hear his name mentioned a single time in the entire past year in national media. If he is even half as "poison" as you claim, surely to goodness the Lame Stream Democrat media would have destroyed him years ago. The very fact that the media ignores him tells me that he's a virtual nobody in the political scheme of things.


Well, David, that statement is a clear admission that you haven't read Wuthnow's Rough Country, or been paying much attention to what is happening at FBC Spartanburg. :wink: Your assessment of Pressler's outside political activities is pretty accurate.

Pressler served in the Texas legislature as a Democrat. He served as a judge in a minor appeals court position, but his political influence, or lack of it, even among Harris County Republicans was evident when former President George H.W. Bush decided not to appoint him to directorship of the government's office of ethics, an extremely minor appointment, but decided not to do so because of the opposition of some Baptist moderates who had more influence with Bush and the Harris County GOP. Most of his GOP political activity has resulted in failure, or has come to nothing because of lack of influence to push it. He hosted the "stop Romney" effort at his ranch near Brenham prior to the 2012 GOP primary, where those gathered threw their support behind Rick Santorum, who lost badly and dropped out just a few weeks later.

Part of the problem with Stephen's imaginative theories regarding Pressler is that many of the movers and shakers in Harris County and Texas Republican circles are members of churches that fought against the conservative resurgence in the SBC. Many of the party officers, major contributors and even some elected officials hold membership in Baptist churches that are a litany of core Moderate Baptist support. Bill Moyers more or less underlined Pressler's minor role in GOP politics by asking him a provocative question about balancing the time between his SBC activities and his job. I always saw that question as a deliberate irritation of Pressler, whose response more or less confirms that.

Pressler has name recognition among Southern Baptists because of his role in the conservative resurgence. But the fact of the matter is that anyone who came along with the knowledge of the convention's inner operations, and a plan to activate messengers from large segments of churches that had been inactive and disinterested in convention politics for years would have initiated a movement that would have changed the direction and position of the SBC's leadership. Methods may have been different, but ultimately, no movement as large, or sustained for as long, as the conservative resurgence in the SBC could have rested on the personality of a few individuals.
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Wuthnow trumps Flick, Sandy and Ed P

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:14 pm

You fellows are out to lunch.

I may pick it up again after Moyers speaks at Wake Forest.

FTR, Flick, Aaron sent me a copy of his book on James Dunn as well. I especially liked the anecdotes about Stewart Newman with whom my Dad and I had supper at Shoney's in Gaffney SC in 77. It was my first hearing from the man in person who stood up to Criswell's race baiting speech in Columbia SC in 56.

I cannot force any of you to read Wuthnow AND the Powers review in the nybooks.com

It is disheartening however to see you boast in your ignorance and lack of insight re Pressler's legacy
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Sandy » Mon Nov 09, 2015 1:26 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:It is disheartening however to see you boast in your ignorance and lack of insight re Pressler's legacy


I can't help how you feel. However, an assumption that if we just read the right books, especially those by authors who have slants and biases that can somehow be twisted into some kind of support for your opinion (though there's nothing in either Worthen or Wuthnow that directly supports any of your assertions), we will be enlightened, is an example of your own naivete and, if you will, "lack of insight."
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Sandy distorts

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:43 pm

Pressler as a weather front, as a force of the darkness Marshall Frady speaks about in his intro to the bio of Billy Graham, about all the naivete and dimwitted "goodness" of those who packed all those mid century Crusades with the best of intentions; that seems to be the worldview Sandy is locked in and can't see the forest for the trees.

I would be surprised if the majority of the board of Christian Ethics Today doesn't applaud the substance of my insight on the ongoing relevance of Presslerism as a dark force in our country's politics and a betrayal of the best of the Baptist witness. I remain disappointed Flick and Pettybone get bogged down on the incidentals.
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Re: Sandy distorts

Postby Sandy » Thu Nov 12, 2015 10:53 am

Stephen Fox wrote:Pressler as a weather front, as a force of the darkness Marshall Frady speaks about in his intro to the bio of Billy Graham, about all the naivete and dimwitted "goodness" of those who packed all those mid century Crusades with the best of intentions; that seems to be the worldview Sandy is locked in and can't see the forest for the trees.

I would be surprised if the majority of the board of Christian Ethics Today doesn't applaud the substance of my insight on the ongoing relevance of Presslerism as a dark force in our country's politics and a betrayal of the best of the Baptist witness. I remain disappointed Flick and Pettybone get bogged down on the incidentals.


Are you saying that people who go to Billy Graham crusades are "dimwitted" and naive?
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby William Thornton » Thu Nov 12, 2015 12:05 pm

Big news...Fox and Molly Worthen got a divorce, her name unmentioned in repeated fox posts here.
My stray thoughts on SBC stuff may be found at my blog, SBC Plodder
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Thornton, Billy, Molly and Sandy

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Nov 12, 2015 5:20 pm

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/ ... e-of-union

I just shared the link above with the Limestone Prez minister's son who finished Gaffney High a year ahead of me and was in Beta Club with me and Ben Bernanke's first cousin. He now sings in a choir in the NE and teaches college there after his doc in rhetoric from MIT. We understand Billy Graham.

Billy Was good for the faith development of some, but bad for those who got stuck there. If I were to dismiss Billy's influence I would cast aspersions on about 90 percent of my extended family and at least one UGA grad who was a Rhodes Scholar Nominee and now leads a CBF congregation in middle Georgia. He drank the kool aid for a while after Billy Gee's Montogmery crusade of 1970 or so.

We've traveled this territory before.

Al Mohler said Billy was a tremendous behind the scenes player in the fundamentalist takeover of the
Southern Baptist Convention. So place him in the timeline and spectrum of the new Yorker piece above, and he watered down, or racheted up the dim wit quotient of his time.

Still, as James Dunn says, it's messy.

FTR, I do not apologize for engaging and promoting the insights of Molly Worthen; nor being convinced Pressler's legacy has bent out country's trajectory for the worse.

That's all I got right now.

Which reminds me to go on facebook and recommend to the BJC Library in DC a copy of my friend Stewart Newman's book on the Free Church Movement. Everybody who visits BJC should know of Newman's influence on James Dunn and be encouraged to read his book so a remnant can see in future generations how Billy Graham's lack of vision coulda been corrected a little if only he'd understood Newman in his time.
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Sandy » Fri Nov 13, 2015 3:11 pm

I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to those who responded to an invitation at a Billy Graham crusade as "drinking the kool-aide." That's a new one. So is calling those who became followers of Christ at one of his crusades "dimwitted."

It explains a lot, though.
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby David Flick » Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:59 pm

Sandy wrote:I don't think I've ever heard anyone refer to those who responded to an invitation at a Billy Graham crusade as "drinking the kool-aide." That's a new one. So is calling those who became followers of Christ at one of his crusades "dimwitted."

It explains a lot, though.

    Indeed it does, Sandy.
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Bush 41, Pressler's Houston Birchers and Jon Meacham bio

Postby Stephen Fox » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:19 pm

Sunday I read several segments of JOn Meachams highly praised new bio of Bush 41. I focused on the analysis of Bush early political days in Harris County (Houston), Texas where he is certain to have come acros Pressler's network in the far right. Bush ran for US house in 1966 and faced down the Birch Society there. He had to navigate them in a defeat in the 64 US Senate Race. Bush grew weary of having to deal with Pressler's Birchers, but he had to engage them to be elected. As We know things got so mushy he nominated Pressler in 90 to head the US Govt Office of Ethics with James Baker's endorsement of Pressler.

Pressler is not mentioned in the bio but toher sources place Pressler and his family squarely in the Birch Society wing of the Far Right in Texas in the 60s. It is interesting reading to see how 41 played that constituency, and how the Meacham bio nuances some of Bush's tacking though the Wuthnow book and Chandler Davidson's Race and Class in Texas Politics with its 100 pages on Criswell fill in the Southern Baptist Fundamentalism aspect much clearer and the Powers review of Wuthnow the best.

At one point Bush does talk about the Pat Robertson people in Iowa and how he feared they would come back to bite the best of the GOP in the butt and we are seeing the fruits of Bush 41's compromises now in Trey Gowdy, Billy Graham's great friend at FBC Spartanburg, and the Freedom Caucus which Franklin used Billy's stature to help elect in US House Votes in 2012 in particular in Alabama.

That is how Pressler's legacy lives on entangling Ben Ghazi

Marshall Frady wrote about the "softness" of many salvation experiences at Graham crusades in his 79 definitve bio of Graham, "A Parable of American Righteousness"!
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Dimwit poor choice of words

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Nov 19, 2015 6:33 pm

Sandy is right. What I was trying to get at is a lot of Graham's converts became voting fodder for Pressler's fundy takeover of the SBC which Al Mohler himself said Graham had much greater role than most people were aware.

But many of them accepted Jesus in all sincerity; and to call them dimwits was wrong on my part.

Hal Crowther, like me a fan of Marshall Frady, said Billy Graham was intellectually challenged. OTOH lot of folks who have come to accept Jesus probably shook the hand of an intellectually challenged Preacher when they got to front of the aisle, and God Bless both of them
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Re: Benghazi and Blumenthal's Baptist history

Postby Ed Pettibone » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:02 pm

Ed: Nice recovery Stephen. However I am more inclined to say Graham was somewhat a product of his heritage rather than intellectually challenged. I don't know Hal Crowther, and have no way of evaluating the comment that you attribute to him, sans context.

However, I have been acquainted with several "intellectuals" who in my view fall short of Graham's Spiritual acumen.
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Robinson's antidote to Presslerism

Postby Stephen Fox » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:45 pm

Marilynne Robinson has an excellent refutation of Presslerism and the Tea party Freedom Caucus it inspired in her new collection of essays The Giveness of Things. In the Chapter Memory she is spot on saying she doubts Jesus could recognize anything or much Christian about most of what the Tea Party "Christianity" is about. She names the penchant for militarizing America and the exclusive rhetoric as case in point. She has some resisting words for academic higher criticism as well, in specific those who would throw the baby out with the bathwater. She has no problem with investigation of Scripture, just those who want to deny the power of the Tradition and Christian thought like the Incarnation and the Resurrection. I am convinced she would be perfectly content at Wake Forest or Duke Divinity School.

Most of you are as close to a Barnes and Noble as I am. Spend thirty minutes reading that chapter of have your locallibrary or juco get a copy coming asap.

There is a great feature in Poets and Writers magazine with her on the cover you will want to read at B and N as well. Hopefully you will pick up copies of the book and mag for your church library if it is worthy a ****.
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