ADL: Baptist Leader's Remarks Offensive, Demeaning And Damaging
New York, NY, June 12, 2002 ... The Anti-Defamation League today deplored a speech by the Rev. Jerry Vines, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention at the group's national meeting in St Louis, in which he denigrated Islam and blamed many of America's problems on religious pluralism.
Responding to the speech, Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
Recent statements attributed to Rev. Jerry Vines, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, calling Mohammed "a demon-possessed pedophile" and asserting that "Islam is not just as good as Christianity" are offensive, demeaning, and damaging to the American ideals of religious diversity and intergroup civility. They strike a troubling note of discord at a time when Americans of all faiths are striving for unity based on shared values and mutual respect.
Unfortunately, such deplorable, divisive rhetoric is not surprising coming from the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, which has a track record of denigrating and delegitimizing other religions. In 1996, at their annual meeting, the Convention adopted a resolution to direct their "energies and resources" to the conversion of Jews. The group has published proselytizing guides, including one in 1999 targeting Jews on their High Holy Days.
We call on the current leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention to publicly reject Rev. Vines' remarks about Islam.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.