Religion: Bible Brouhaha

A Baptist power struggle

Being president of the Southern Baptist Convention is a largely honorary job, and most presidents typically tend their 13.6 million-member flock in obscurity. Not the Rev. Bailey Smith of Del City, Okla. Last August, Smith offhandedly told a conservative political rally, "God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew." In the furor that predictably followed, Smith met with Jewish leaders and said he regretted hurting anyone's feelings, but never took back the remark.

At the annual meeting of Southern Baptists last week in Los Angeles, Smith was up...

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