Texas Baptists show they don’t understand the word “interfaith.”

The folks who run the evangelical megachurch named Hyde Park Baptist Church in Texas may want to invest in a couple of dictionaries as it’s clear that they don’t understand the meaning of the words “interfaith” or “tolerance” and need to look them up. They had originally agreed to host the Austin Area Interreligious Ministries’ annual Thanksgiving celebration only to back out at the last minute when they suddenly realized, despite having been told in advance, that there would be non-Christians, particularly Muslims, participating:

Organizers had booked the gymnasium at the Quarries in July and made the interfaith aspect clear to Quarries staff at that time, said Simone Talma Flowers, Interreligious Ministries’ interim director.

Several Muslim groups were acting as this year’s hosts for the event. Kent Jennings, associate pastor of administration at Hyde Park, released a statement Thursday that said church leaders received a postcard about the service Monday and only then realized that it “was not a Christian oriented event.”

The postcard also “promised space for Muslim Maghrib prayer and revealed that the event was co-hosted by the Central Texas Muslimaat, the Forum of Muslims for Unity, and the Institute of Interfaith Dialog,” according to Hyde Park’s statement.

“Although individuals from all faiths are welcome to worship with us at Hyde Park Baptist Church, the church cannot provide space for the practice of these non-Christian religions on church property,” the statement said.

Kent Jennings then added, without the slightest hint he recognized the irony in doing so, the following statement:

“Hyde Park Baptist Church hopes that the AAIM and the community of faith will understand and be tolerant of our church’s beliefs that have resulted in this decision.”


For awhile there it appeared as though the group wouldn’t be able to locate another host for the gathering, but a Jewish synagogue stepped up to show the Baptists what asses they were being:

With hundreds of people expected to attend and only a few days to find another site, Muslim organizer Shams Siddiqi said they couldn’t find another facility. That’s when leaders at Congregation Beth Israel, Austin’s largest synagogue, offered to host the celebration.

“Symbolically, that’s a very good thing,” Siddiqi said of the joint Jewish-Muslim endeavor.

Of Hyde Park’s decision, he said it was “unfortunate that people still feel this way in this day and age.”

Well they are evangelicals so it probably shouldn’t be a big surprise. It’s not like they shouldn’t have known ahead of time as this is only the 23rd year that this event has taken place. As one person in the news item asks, is that what Jesus would have done?

30 thoughts on “Texas Baptists show they don’t understand the word “interfaith.”

  1. ‘Inter’ = Between. Which bit do you think they didn’t read?  Perhaps they thought it was just different flavours of Christians. (Let the Baskin-Robbins jokes begin)

  2. According to my own personal thesaurus, based upon having been raised in a Baptist church, common synonyms for “Baptist” include “self-righteous”, “intolerant”, “stupid”, “bigoted”, and “dumbass”.

  3. also from the statesman.com news article
    Every year, a different faith group hosts the Thanksgiving event, which typically includes food, prayer, song and dance.

    DANCING in a baptist church property!!! they should have claimed that was the reason they had to back out of their agreement.

  4. Bah, there I was, hopping over to the comments in the hope that some religious nutjob defended the baptist definition of “tolerance”, and I’m at a loss – there is nobody like that here.

    What happened? What’s wrong? Do I need to re-think my life?

  5. Guido- just wait, I’ll draw the nutjobs in….Golden Compass, Evolution, Intelligent Design, Kent Ham, Kent Hovind….There, that should do it!

  6. This is happened a lot…Christians tend to think that Interfaith means just a bunch of other Christians.

    I’ve been invited to panels for interfaith discussion.  One was for a class on religion…it was enlightening with Mormon, Muslim Christian and Pagan members all there.

    Another all the various groups turned down.  The local John 3:16 church wanted to have Pagans and Muslims on a panel so they could:  “learn what makes pagans and muslims tick and apply this to the conversion process in Europe and Africa.”

    We said Hel No.

  7. You guys all missed the point. They actually heard the kid who works their favorite liquor store was showing up and they couldn’t have him spilling the beans about the head deacon showing up last month totally plastered.

  8. An interesting thought: would the organizers allow the Atheist Community of Austin to participate, or would it be a “believers only” event?  I’m not saying the ACA would want to participate, or that atheism is a religion (though many theists do make that claim), but if they wanted to, would the organizers refuse their participation?  If yes, would they be forced to admit that Atheism is not a religion? Perhaps I’m stirring up a pot of shit here where none need be stirred, but I thought it was an interesting thought.

  9. Brother Spikey Mace of Patience, Bog Brother is waving them in, and you alone are going to make things pop in their poor l’il heads. It could be bad.  shut eye

  10. Brother Spikey Mace of Patience, Bog Brother is waving them in, and you alone are going to make things pop in their poor l’il heads. It could be bad.

    Oh Brothers and Sisters, have mercy on these poor confused people, for they seem unable to undahstand that there is a veritable plethora of religious inclinations all across this heere fine nation, especially in the region of the GREAT state of Texas, where in there is alone at the very least at least FOUR whole different indahviduals of the one true faith; of course I am speaking of the faith that moves mountains, the faith that makes the blind to walk and the lame to see, the faith that alone has defeated the evil one and delivered us into the eternal salvation that is so rightfully ours for believing in his noodly appendages.  Yes Brothers and Sisters, have faith and ye shall be touched, and pray that he does caress these HEATHENS with his noodly goodness soon so that we can all come together and be of one mind and one spirit. In his Noodly Name we pray.  Ramen.

  11. So I started reading Bog Brother’s passage in a Southern Baptist voice, and could barely hold back my laughter as I got toward the end. LOL  LOL

  12. So I started reading Bog Brother’s passage in a Southern Baptist voice, and could barely hold back my laughter as I got toward the end.

    If you do read it aloud, ya gotta remember that the first sentence needs to be said without taking a breath in order to make it sound extra authentic.

  13. By definition a megachurch is independent. Hyde Park Baptist church is not, they participate in the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Speaking of knowing definitions to words…

  14. By definition a megachurch is independent. Hyde Park Baptist church is not, they participate in the Southern Baptist Convention.

    Um, semantics aside, how exactly does that change the point of this thread?

  15. Each and every baptist preacher is a deviate. I know a lot that got converted in jail and other deviant places. GO Boys GO – Your Bullshit always catches up on you!!
    Science never backed down from religion, but religion always “kow-tows” to science!
    Religion is on it’s way out – thank f=ck.
    Long live AMERICA – f$cf all christians, muslims, jews and other misguided people.

  16. Wow.  Gerry, if you aren’t being a total sarcastic ass (and I know a lot about being a total sarcastic ass), can you just keep that to yourself?  We at the World-Wide Atheist Conspiracy don’t really need your kind of help.  You see, with your absolute statements and generalizations about one or more religious groups, you just come off as what they like to call an “Angry Atheist”. It doesn’t really help our cause, you just look like you’re pissed at their god.  If you want to be angry, try producing some hard evidence to support your claims, be frustrated at their absolute claims and groundless assertions rather than producing your own.  It helps us keep the Rational Thinkers Cup in our trophy case from year to year.

    Bog Brother
    King of the World-Wide Atheist Conspiracy

  17. Why is everyone so surprised this happenened. Interfaith to them could only mean other christian churchs and If you think the nation of Islam followers would do anything different wake the fuck up and smell the c4.

  18. told ya so –
    Ah yes, the old “at least we are not as bad as the Muslims” defense.  Who said anything about being surprised? Do you think that anyone here is surprised that a denomination not exactly known for it’s tolerance of other religions does not understand “interfaith”?  No, I’m pretty sure this was posted to point out the irony.  Kinda like the fact that you interpreted the irony as surprise.  You know, that’s kinda ironic all by itself. Good jorb!

    By the way, the Nation of Islam is the group lead by Louis Farrakhan, not the terrorists from Saudi Arabia who took down the WTC.  Though they share the same religion, and The Nation of Islam does have questionable methods and practices, I doubt that you should really equate 9/11 to the Million Man March.  They do happen to share the same religion, but if you are going to paint all Muslims with the same brush, then there really shouldn’t be any difference between Catholics and Baptists right?  After all, they are all Christians, right?

  19. Hooray, the nutjobs are starting to pour in! Bring it on smile

    Too bad there aren’t just religious ones but actually atheist ones too, this comes as a surprise to me (unlike the things about baptists, or “told ya so”‘s completely predictable banter).

    The funniest thing is that that last reply obviously stems from a person who hasn’t had much contact with muslim culture as of yet – traditional stereotypes, both muslim and christian ones, are the thing my (muslim) parents-in-law and myself (being agnostic, but on paper christian) laugh most often about.

  20. It wasn’t that long ago when Protestants, Catholics, and the various other brands of “Christian” superstitions were used as excuses to kill each other. Basically retards like “told ya so” are just the same brand of idiot as his “nation of Islam followers” he’s painting as terrorists, he’s just not got enough soldiers from Asia parked in his backyard to strap on bombs and die for Hank Williams and Apple Pie.

    Furthermore, he’s mixing up his Muslims. Nation of Islam was founded in Detroit. NOI members have been linked to violence in contingency with the civil rights movement in the past, but off the top of my head I don’t think I can recall a military explosives bombing they’ve endorsed. The presence of NOI isn’t even implied in any of the websites of the listed organizations that the church denied entrance to, which is probably a good thing since I think a church in Texas denying entry of the NOI to an interfaith dialogue of some sort would probably find itself in a pickle for racism – and not the sort of happy-it’s-ok-Republican racism that Told Ya So enjoys, but the “we dare you to call us niggers” sort that he probably only nurses in secret.

  21. It’s always jarring to see local places in blog posts. Until six months ago, I lived within half a mile of Hyde Park Baptist Church (HPBC), and I feel the need to add some community perspective.

    HPBC is notorious in liberal Austin, TX for being, well, asshats. They have a long history of disrespect and disregard for other faiths, other sects of Christianity (not only the sects on dogmatic grounds, but also the churches and congregations that follow them), and even the very neighborhood in which they are situated. Most other churches hate to be associated with them, including other Baptist churches. They frequently lie (recently, they sought approval from neighbors to build a 1 storey education wing, then, approval signatures safely in hand, built a huge 4 storey parking garage instead, and lit it up 24/7), agitate, and litigate at the slightest provocation.

    So sadly, this is FAR from out of character. It is also far from being representative of Austin, or the vast majority of its institutions, religious or otherwise. As a local atheist, they have been the one and only source of intolerance and antagonism I’ve had the misfortune to encounter. I also papered it when I was 12 ::sheepish grin::

  22. Most of us Atheists came from religious backgrounds, so your accusation that we have no idea about religion or religious people is nothing but a non sequitur. Want proof of religions demonic destruction of family values, relationships and mental health, well I got some people from strict religious homes who’d like to have a word with you.

    My best friend’s mom divorced her husband who was a pastor, because she was convinced her husband was conducting satanic rituals on their children, sent the children to a mental hospital (when she needed to go), and forced exorcism on them. Her children are now severely damaged by their experiences that they dropped out of high school, and her daughter got pregnant at 17 and now lives in her mother’s basement and cannot support herself financially and psychologically. Children are dying all over the country because religious nuts are refusing medical treatment for their children. I’m sorry, but I think we atheists deserve to point out the obvious.

    I think religion, at least in most forms, not all, is a great impediment to human safety. 9/11 proved it. The current terroist threats we get from Islamists for simply drawing Mohammad, or writing books on Islamic atrocities prove it. Who else needs to die for you to get it? What else do you need to see the evidence, because it is there, it’s numerous, and it is unavoidable. Quit living in denial.

    We aren’t saying that all religious people are bad, they’re not, but religion does have direct consequences that harm people on a regular basis.

    Why should I be able to go to a therapist’s office and see books like TOXIC FAITH on the shelf, and other books that talk about the psychological effects of religion on people, when it is not a problem? That book was even written by a Christian who had suffered religious mental stress from his family and wanted to help others who did as well, because it is known to all psychologists and psychiatrists that the problem is common, and it is horrible on sufferers.

    Children in Nigeria are being murdered for suspicion of demonic possession, it is an epidemic and a human emergency. It is caused from religious leaders telling their people to hurt their children because they have been taken by satan.

    What we secularists want is for people to use religion responsibly, but we know progress will only change that. Secularism stamped out a lot of religious problems that plagued our country in it’s early stages, events like the salem witch trials and other abuses have abated, we still have problems, but as long as progress has intervenes, religious extremism dies. That’s what we want. We want religions to accept social progress, science and technology, and be tolerant of other peoples. What more do we need to keep teling people. get it in your heads. Progress is possible, hell it has happened here and other places, and it can continue if people cooperate. We need secularism, and democracy with liberal influence, if we are going to have a healthy society. Our founding fathers warned us of this, and it’s no more blatantly true than it is today.

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