Religion: Century of Secession

The American Gomorrah, half-deserted by winter hedonists, was invaded last week by 8,000 teetotaling "messengers." Luxury hotels on the Miami bay-front were packed for the Southern Baptist Convention. They represented the second largest† U.S. Protestant group (5,668,000 members). Their 100th anniversary meeting, postponed by last year's transport crisis, commemorated the split in 1845 of Southern and Northern Baptists over slavery.

Unmindful of Appomattox, the Baptists have been content to remain divided, because: 1) Southern Baptists are generally more Calvinist—i.e., hard-shelled—than the Northern variety; 2) basic Baptist policy abhors organization and church discipline. Baptists will cautiously unite to form a "conference," but not...

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