Florida Baptist Convention

Follow the Money, Endorsements Are Not Only Revealed in What We Give

Jim Wallis, of Sojourners, has long considered a budget to be a moral document. It reveals what we believe is important as a Country. We may apply this conviction to our own personal budgets and, yes, the budgets of Christian denominations.

Recently Bobby Ross Jr. wrote a piece that showed up at Get Religion, whose byline is, “The press . . . just doesn’t get religion,” a quote from William Schneider. The piece caught my attention for its title, The Southern Baptists Scarlet “A.”  Ross Jr. evaluates the way a story of clergy misconduct is communicated in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Reading both pieces left me thinking we miss what receiving money communicates. I recall the debate in Oklahoma during the battle against parimutuel betting as a gateway to gambling in casinos. A classic ad campaign worthy of Mad Men fame lured voters into believing somehow horses were not allowed to run in Oklahoma. The measure passed and, as expected, paved the way for regulated gambling.

Would churches accept money, gifts, from winnings at any of these venues? Idealists touted how they would turn away money given from winnings at the racetrack, the casino, or from the lottery. I always wondered how well we scrutinized the other sources of our tithes and offerings at local churches. Read More