Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Al Gore & Climate Change Panel Win Nobel Peace Prize

Fmr.  U. S. Vice President R. Albert Gore, Jr. (better known as “Al Gore”), already having won an Oscar for his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and an Emmy for his work with Current TV, will now receive the Nobel Peace Prize.  He will share the prize with the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientists who have carefully documented the consensus views on global warming, their human-based causes, and their most likely effects.  In announcing the shared award, which will be presented in December, the Nobel Committee cited the connections between global warming and wars over resources, a process it believes is already happening in Africa.  Gore’s initial response to the announcement was:

I am deeply honored to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is even more meaningful because I have the honor of sharing it with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change–the world’s pre-eminent scientific body devoted to improving our understanding of the climate crisis–a group whose members have worked tirelessly and selflessly for many years. We face a true planetary emergency. The climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all of humanity. It is also our greatest opportunity to lift global consciousness to a higher level.

My wife, Tipper, and I will donate 100 percent of the proceeds of the award to the Alliance for Climate Protection, a bipartisan non-profit organization that is devoted to changing public opinion in the U.S. and around the world about the urgency of solving the climate crisis.

Thank you,

Al Gore

Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics, which runs EthicsDaily.com, has a fine article on Gore as the Third Baptist from the U.S. South to win the Nobel Peace Prize (the others were Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1964 and Jimmy Carter in 2002).  It stresses the role of the Bible and Sunday School in shaping these peacemakers–and the way the largest body of Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention, has treated all three with contempt. (Some SBC leaders will now speak respectfully of MLK, Jr., and a few mavericks–derided at the time as “liberals”–honored King during his life. But the vast majority of the SBC leadership derided King as a “liberal, communist race-mixer” during his life, sneered at his Nobel Prize, and met his assassination with either silence or open cheering. ) As Parham rightly notes, these Baptist prophets have been honored everywhere except by white Southern Baptists.

October 12, 2007 - Posted by | ecology, global warming, peacemaking


  1. Michael,

    Come on man,

    “and met his assassination with either silence or open cheering”

    Please back this up with some real facts. Tell me one person who openly cheered in the SBC leadership (as an aside my father was there when King was assassinated – he was part of the police force gaurding the area and he engaged in the investigation of his death, going door to door looking for help from residents in the area – oh and he was and still is a conservative Baptist deacon too). This sort of thing is getting ridiculous. And BTW, I am still waiting for a response over at Big Daddy Weave’s site where you all but directly stated how your conservative brothers and sisters in Christ are the only ones you think are going to Hell.

    Comment by D.R. Randle | October 12, 2007

  2. Let’s see: When I link to facts, you pooh-pooh them. Now, when I simply summarize the recollections of many, you want a link to documents. So, I don’t care what you think, D.R. And since your father was not an SBC leader, his fulfilling of his sworn duties as a police officer (admittedly a rare thing by Southern cops in 1968 when black deaths were involved) do not count against this.

    I’ll save careful interaction for those with whom it might make a difference.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 12, 2007

  3. I tried three times to post a link but none have appeared. Do you have something blocking links?

    Anyway, DR, I was wondering if your problem is just with the use of the word “cheer” or if you really don’t think there was animosity and violent anger directed towards King and the Civil Rights movement by white Baptists – including their leadership?

    While young, I can quite clearly recall hearing firsthand much virulence being spewed his way by Baptist adults in my hearing and some celebration of his death. I have no doubt that I wouldn’t have to travel far today to find a Baptist preacher here in Kentucky willing to dishonor King.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 12, 2007

  4. Dan,
    I post links all the time. I don’t see why you would have trouble in the comments section. What you can’t do on WordPress is put hidden links in comments. At least, the only way I have seen is to make the URL visible.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 12, 2007

  5. typing…


    I tried it both ways earlier (ie, a href=link /a and just pasting the url in there)

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 12, 2007

  6. It worked that time? Dunno.

    Anyway, I referenced an article that quote WA Criswell saying:

    Criswell enthusiastically accepted the invitation and reprised his uncivil rejection of the civil rights movement, the high court, and other Americans who supported the end of Jim Crow. “Let them integrate,” he thundered, “Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up.”

    The same article also quoted other Baptist folk, like Georgia governor Herman Talmadge, who said:

    “The die is cast. The challenge has been issued by the NAACP leaders. We must meet this challenge head-on or submit meekly and undergo a mid-Twentieth Century reconstruction period.”

    The site was findarticles.com and the essay quoted from was called “Dying from the neck up”: Southern Baptist resistance to the civil rights movement

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 12, 2007

  7. I never said I doubted the that racism was prevalent in Baptist churches in the 50’s and 60’s. My problem is the idea that the “SBC leadership” “openly cheered.” First, the fact that Michael could turn a blog about the Nobel Prize (which to me a prize to Al Gore diminishes it’s significance in being given to someone deserving of it like King) into libel against the SBC is ridiculous enough, but to take that to the point of saying what he did was over the top. (Oh, and nice try on the linking data thing…I dealt with it and you NEVER responded. As I said, all data needs interpretation – as if you didn’t know that…even other commenters disagreed with you and you failed to respond – it just seems you continue to reject any semblence of civility on your blog and beyond).

    As for those quotes, Dan, sorry man, I have told you before and will say it again – I don’t want to communicate with someone who refuses to stay on topic. Those quotes don’t support the statement about open cheering at King’s death. Racism in the SBC, sure. Open cheering at death – NOPE.

    And as for my father Michael, I said that to make a point about how racism was not in every single SBC church in the South. There were many men, like my father, who mourned the death of King and worked like others to bring his killer to justice (and worked overtime at that – going beyond the call of duty, not just doing his sworn oath as you so politely put it). Criticizing all of the SBC for racism is unfair. And I for one am sick of your opportunism. You clearly have issues with hatred yourself. If you need more proof, go back and read what you wrote to me on BDW’s blog.

    Comment by D.R. Randle | October 13, 2007

  8. “I don’t want to communicate with someone who refuses to stay on topic.”

    Sorry, man, you already took us off-topic, since the topic is Gore’s peace prize.

    So, you are saying you doubt that SBC “leaders” back in the day openly cheered? I don’t have anything to cite, but my hunch would be that they at least privately cheered, which would be even worse – even more hypocritical than pretending they were sorry he was dead.

    Just a hunch.

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 13, 2007

  9. I hear stuff critical of King in the midwest, some of it glad that he was shot. I’ll probably write on King on my blog when his holiday comes along. I personally admire his stand against segregation and his use of Christian principles, but there were things about him that were not so good. He was a womanizer, and he also became much more radical as he grew older. I’m not glad he was shot, though.

    Comment by James Pate | October 14, 2007

  10. James, you are right that King had adulterous affairs. He was also a chain smoker. None of that takes aways from his amazing contributions (many ministers are chain smokers and adulterers who DON’T nonviolently champion justice). Further, I think his growing radicalism was a STRENGTH, not a weakness, of King’s.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | October 14, 2007

  11. Well, we know that no adulterers in the Bible were ever used for God’s glory…

    Comment by Dan Trabue | October 15, 2007

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