AP's Zoll Smears Conservative Southern Baptists

In a January 29 article for the Associated Press, reporter Rachel Zoll lambasted conservative Southern Baptists as "vicious" partisans who sought to "wipe out" any trace of liberals or moderates from the denomination. What's more, this characterization came while reporting on a gathering of "moderate" Southern Baptists set to convene tomorrow and featuring ex-presidents (and liberal Democrats) Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. (h/t Steve Barrett) Both Clinton and Carter were raised Southern Baptist, but Carter has since cut ties to the Southern Baptist Convention and Clinton frequently attended the liberal Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., with his wife while president. Here's Zoll's first two paragraphs:

Weary of Southern Baptists' dominance in American Protestantism, a new push is starting by other Baptist groups aimed at working on social justice issues, and showing their religious tradition is broader than the conservative SBC. Former President Jimmy Carter is leading the effort. More than 10,000 moderate and liberal Baptists are expected for three days starting Wednesday in Atlanta for the “Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant.” Organizers aren't forming a new denomination, but want to develop common ministries that would have a big impact.

And the aforementioned offending paragraph (emphasis mine):

Conservatives waged a long, vicious campaign for control of the Southern Baptist Convention in the 1970s and '80s to wipe out any moderate or liberal thinking in seminaries, churches and Baptist agencies. Paul Pressler, a retired Texas judge and one of the leaders of the purge, famously said that conservatives were “going for the jugular” for the cause.
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters