Yesterday I asked for reader support in part because we face declining revenue streams from two partner organizations at the very time that our productivity and constituency are expanding. We need to secure replacement funds for the declining support from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
Rabbi Arnold Belzer (left) and Baptist pastor David Hughes visit at BCE-sponsored Baptist-Jewish event.
We need to secure replacement funds for the declining support from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.
An even stronger justification for reader support, however, is based on the idea that past performance is a good predictor of future success.
Day in and day out, we believe BCE does more to inform and to shape the opinion of thoughtful Baptists than any other moderate organization. Pound for pound, we provide Baptists the best return on their investment of financial support.
Our track record during the past year surely indicates productivity.
EthicsDaily.com is emerging as the premier Baptist news and information Web site, providing stories with speed and rich content. Consider a few examples:
--A series of news stories that exposed the racist nature of the Southern Baptist Convention's 2004 Vacation Bible School curriculum and the hardwiring of Baptist state conventions to the SBC in promotion of this material.
--Early and continuous reporting on the SBC's defunding of the Baptist World Alliance.
--Comprehensive treatment of the anti-public school resolution submitted to the 2004 SBC and similar resolutions at state conventions.
--Daily coverage of the BWA general council meeting in Seoul, Korea.
--Extensive coverage of the European Baptist Federation meeting in Beirut, Lebanon.
--Setting the record straight when fundamentalists made false accusations against American Baptist Churches, U.S.A.
In addition to news stories that other entities shied away from covering, EthicsDaily.com provided weekly movie reviews—reviews offering content evaluations and not simply a word count of dirty words.
EthicsDaily.com also carried regular columns on leadership, ministerial ethics, religious liberty, rural issues, environmental concerns, the Iraqi war and world hunger, just to mention a few.
Acacia Resources, BCE's online curriculum wing, continued to prove its reliability as a supplier of educational material. This year alone, we produced four units that explored leadership, walking Jesus' way, the Ten Commandments and 21st century missions.
Far less expensive than print curriculum, these 13-lesson units are being widely used in churches, including an array of Baptist churches in the United States and some in other countries.
Beyond news and educational resources, BCE sponsored the most successful event at the CBF general assembly. We hosted a Baptist-Jewish luncheon designed to foster good will between two houses of faith for the common good. With over 500 Baptists and Jews in attendance, the event was widely applauded and sparked a number of new relationships between Baptists and Jews.
Other events included clergy education seminars in Alabama and Virginia.
While we have had a highly productive year, we believe even more constructive and productive days are ahead. We think the agenda that we've spelled out with this series of editorials will give us and our contributors a much higher-profile public witness.
What we need is a great many contributions from individuals who have a commitment to the biblical mandate for social justice, a discerning awareness of the distorting power of the religious right and a vision for an authentically faithful pan-Baptist witness.
As of mid-afternoon Thursday, readers were responding with much affirmation and gifts ranging from $10 to $250. We are grateful for these contributions. These folk are the Baptist drum majors for justice.
If you want us to quicken our march toward justice, then we need our financial support. If you vote yes to our agenda, then click here to make a donation.
Robert Parham is executive director of the Baptist Center for Ethics.
See related editorials:
Personal Word About the Future
Critiquing American Religion
Personal Word about BCE's Expanded Public Witness
Personal Word on Why We Need Your Help: Part I