Shiite Baptists: Newspaper Column Ripping Southern Baptists Causes Stir

So-called Shiite Baptists are overreaching in their reaction to social issues, one pastor’s wife wrote in a now-controversial newspaper column.

Angela Thomas, the wife of assistant pastor Bill Thomas from the First Baptist Church in Kentucky, wrote a newspaper column blasting Southern Baptists for opposing the end of the ban on gay Boy Scouts. Thomas called the group “the crazy old paranoid uncle of evangelical Christians,” sparking a controversy that could cost her husband his job.

Angela Thomas writes a weekly humor column in The Madisonville Messenger. In a late June column, she wrote that Southern Baptists have been drifting dangerously to the right, saying they have now become what she termed Shiite Baptists.

“Santa and the Easter bunny are simply the devil in disguise and cable television and the Internet are his playground. The Boy Scouts are his evil minions,” Thomas wrote.

Her column came in response to the Southern Baptist Convention, which represents the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. At the convention this June, many members spoke out against the policy that now allowed gay Boy Scouts.

“I am very sad to say that it seems as though (Boy Scouts) are moving away from the principles they were founded upon,” Wes Taylor, pastor at Tabernacle Baptist Church in Newport News, Virginia, said at the Southern Baptist annual convention. “It is an environment just fertile for young boys to be exposed to something that is ungodly and unacceptable.”

Gays are still banned from becoming Boy Scout leaders, but there is still opposition from what Thomas referred to as Shiite Baptists.

“This (BSA) decision politicizes the membership, and it also brings a sexual dimension that wasn’t there before,” said Steve Lemke, provost of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and chairman of Southern Baptist Convention Resolutions Committee.

The Shiite Baptists remark may have cost Bill Thomas his job. The pastor of his church said he accepted Bill’s resignation, though Bill later wrote in a letter that he had not quit. He has worked at the church for 10 years as an assistant pastor, also serving as music director.