Battle of the Baptists

Why one church is having two conventions in the same town, with Disney caught in the middle

Call it the great mouse schism. Last week 16,000 delegates of America's largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, kept very busy in Orlando, Fla. They elected the 16 million-member Convention's first baby-boomer president, James Merritt, 47. They announced a couple of headline-grabbing conservative policies: support for the death penalty and an explicit ban on women pastors. But for all its productivity, the meeting was awfully quiet. This was because most of the usually rancorous, relatively liberal opposition sat it out. The rebels, who call themselves the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, will also meet in Orlando. They will be lodged at Disney...

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