Sunday, March 04, 2012

Rick Santorum Attends Service at Bellevue



Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, his wife, Karen, and three of their children attended the 9:20 a.m. service at Bellevue this morning. Santorum did not speak, but he and his wife were brought up onto the stage so that Steve Gaines could pray for "you guys." Gaines introduced Santorum as being from Pennsylvania, having attended Penn State, having served in the U.S. Senate for 12 years, and having served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 4 years; however, no mention was made of the elephant in the room (pun fully intended), Santorum's current bid for the presidency.

Watch the video montage from both Sunday morning services.

No sooner had the Santorums left the auditorium Steve took a swipe at the Catholics. If they still stream the services on all those flat-screen TVs throughout the building the Santorums probably heard him on their way out.

While I realize Catholics aren't the only ones who have "catechism" classes, in the U.S. that's what you think of. His little chuckle right after he said it indicated to me that he either thought he was being cute or it just slipped out (he surely had "Catholics" on the mind having just prayed over them) and he was embarrassed. Kind of hard to tell if it was his "aren't I funny!" heh heh or his "oops, didn't mean to let that slip" heh heh.

Of course, at Bellevue they don't have "catechism" classes. Instead they have Step Classes patterned after Rick Warren's S.T.E.P. classes. Prospective members must attend the first of now two four of these classes where they're indoctrinated in the ways of Bellevue before they're accepted for church membership. Used to be you could simply transfer your letter from another Baptist church or present yourself for baptism with your profession of faith and you were a member. Now you have to "do things." I've not heard of them forcing people to sign covenants to join the church, at least not yet, but that wouldn't surprise me.

Then having completed "Step 1," new members are "strongly encouraged" to attend the second subsequent classes where they're given "spiritual gifts" and "temperament" tests. Anyone who's interested can search the archives and comments here to see some in depth discussions about this New Agey practice.

Steve was very careful not to endorse Santorum. In the 11:00 service he made it clear that "we didn't pray he'd win." That's true, but when you say things like "God didn't come to take sides; He came to take over," and "We so desperately need for God to raise up godly leaders," and you're standing three feet away from a presidential candidate who's nodding in agreement... well... it's kind of a slippery slope.


Aside from jeopardizing the church's 501(c)(3) status, a non-endorsement is probably a good thing. If I were running for public office I think the last place I'd want to visit would be a Southern Baptist megachurch. Just look at the records of politicians who've visited Bellevue and FBC Jacksonville alone during the past four years.


1. Mike Huckabee "preached" at Bellevue in February 2008, and we all know how his bid for the presidential nomination ended.


2. Tennessee gubernatorial candidate, Zach Wamp, accompanied by Ricky Skaggs, visited Bellevue on a Wednesday night in August 2010. In spite of a very enthusiastic reception by many in attendance, Wamp lost in the Republican primary.

3. Tennessee gubernatorial candidate, Ron Ramsey, visited the prior Sunday. He received a somewhat more tepid welcome than Wamp and went on to lose in the Republican primary.

4. Myron Lowery, then mayor pro tem of Memphis, visited Bellevue in August 2009. He lost in the mayoral election two months later.

5. Willie Herenton, then Memphis mayor, visited one Sunday a few years ago. Well, let's face it. Herenton has always been a loser even when he garnered the most votes in elections. However, he lost by a landslide to Steve Cohen in the U.S. House of Representatives Democratic primary in 2010.

6. Jacksonville mayoral candidate, Mike Hogan, is a longtime FBC Jax member. In May 2011 Mac Brunson called Hogan and his wife to the front to pray over them. In spite of what came to within an inch of being a formal endorsement by Brunson, Hogan lost the race to a little-known Democrat.

7. Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate, Rick Scott, visited FBC Jacksonville in 2010. He went on to win the general election but just barely.

8. Scott's Republican opponent in the primary for the governor's race, Bill McCollum, was accompanied by Mike Huckabee the Sunday he dropped by FBC Jacksonville.

9. Newt Gingrich visited FBC Jacksonville recently. He's steadily dropped in the polls since.

Based upon the track records of other politicians who've appeared in Southern Baptist megachurches, I predict Santorum will lose in the primary. Okay, I realize at this point that's kind of a given, but if you're Santorum do you really want to accelerate the process?


Oh, and Bellevue? I have a request. Would you please invite Barack Obama to visit sometime before November? He needs your "touch"!

Local news coverage:

Commercial Appeal >> Santorum visits Memphis to shore up support; polls show state now a toss up

WMC-TV >> Bellevue, barbecue on Santorum's plate in Memphis

WREG-TV >> Republican presidential hopeful spends the day in Memphis

ABC24 >> Rick Santorum Makes Pit Stop in Memphis

14 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I find Gaines' stunt here deplorable. The best part of this video is how uncomfortable, and almost embarrassed, Rick Santorum seemed by this show. Santorum being a Catholic probably is not used to being in a church service with video cameras and some millionaire preacher laying hands on him.

And Gaines saying that "anybody who wants to worship can" is ridiculous. Of course anybody can come (unless you have a trespass warning). But the point is: would Gaines put on such a show and have grown men place their palms on the shoulder of Barrack Obama and have people raise their hands toward Obama to pray for him? Of course not. So while Gaines wants to act as though he is nonpartisan, he is not.

Anonymous said...

i'm concerned you are going to visit Bellevue one morning and open fire. please get help.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Well, I'm concerned you are going to show up at my door one night and open fire. Should I be?

Anonymous said...

So are you mad that he didn't endorse Santorum or are you mad that he did not pray for Obama, who wasn;t even there?

I am not sure what your beef is with this situation. I thought it was handled well.

Sadie said...

My 2 cents on all this:

Steve just MIGHT lay hands on and pray for Obama if he presented him with a large check. Steve always, but always, mentions tithing in every service and chides us often. He must make close to $1 million per year now, what with raises and making money on Israel trips and preaching out of town.

He took yet another trip, this time a whole week in Texas. One wonders how he can do any office work since he seems to take off more than Adrian Rogers.

I fear that some day a nutcase will actually walk in and open fire. I notice Donna has a bodyguard who walks her to the Guest Central and everywhere else she goes. Donna just got back from Haiti; she must be really strong to go to Israel and a week later to Haiti.

This may sound like sour grapes and I feel kinda bad even now for writing; so I guess this was 5 cents worth more than 2 cents. LOL

New BBC Open Forum said...

Hi Anonymous 3:21,

I'm not mad.

:-)

I would say how the situation was handled would depend on who invited the Santorums to attend.

If the church issued the invitation then they shouldn't have. Plain and simple, the church is not a political campaign stop.

Steve commented that "we received a call saying there would be a special guest." Or in the version in the second service, someone from Santorum's staff called and asked if he could attend. Either they were "told" or they were "asked." It's not clear.

Though there's no evidence the church has an open door policy for stumping political candidates (or at least Republican ones), that doesn't mean they do or they don't. I'm just saying they shouldn't. Attending is one thing. Putting on a show is quite another.

If Santorum's staff called out of the blue and asked if he could attend, then of course the church couldn't have said no. Nor should they have. A simple recognition of the special guests would have sufficed. Having him and his wife come up on the stage while Steve went on and on as Donna gazed admiringly at him while two strangers held their hands on his shoulders as the congregation held their hands toward him was too much. Santorum and his wife looked embarrassed by the whole show and it was embarrassing to watch, but again, if someone on his staff initiated the contact then that's Santorum's problem.

I guess my point is that whole thing really didn't seem to be about Rick Santorum or even praying for our nation's leaders. It just seemed to be a photo op for Steve Gaines.

The comment about Obama was a joke in case you didn't get it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

A comment on the Commercial Appeal article:

"Bellevue representative said media would not be allowed to interview Santorum nor any church leaders, citing a desire to 'avoid politics' and 'a media spectacle.'"

You invite a leading candidate for president to sit in the front row for a Sunday service, then call him up to the stage for a prayer, but no interviews are allowed because you want to avoid politics?

I'm surprised he wasn't given the mic to ask all the good Baptists for their votes. What a load of _____.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Another one:

I hope that whoever teaches church history at MABTS is so shocked that he will bother crossing Appling and lecturing some Bellevue staff on what it means for Baptists to lay hands on a devout Catholic. And if the MABTS faculty isn't shocked, they should be.

Yet another case of evangelicals who are as innocent as lambs and as wise as sheep.

Valarie said...

When you bring a candidate on the stage & lay hands on them it really doesn't matter what words you say...it's an endorsement and at the very least a photo op for the minister as you stated.
One person on FB said they (BBC) are commanded to pray for ALL "leaders" (leaders??)but I have to wonder IF Obama visited BBC how much of the sermon & words in the prayer would change.
This was an inappropriate spectacle for a worship service IMO no matter what.

David said...

A review of the exit polls in Ohio speaks volume about this. Remember Santorum is a Catholic and then reflex about the polls from last night. Catholics voted for Romney over Santorum by more than 13%. Yet the born-again people went for Santorum by an even greater margin. What are they afraid of? A man that has been married for the same wife for a very long time; who says that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior? Oh I forgot he is a Mormon. Better lock the doors.

Let’s exam this a little further, Catholics drink alcohol, Mormons don’t. Mormons don’t believe in tobacco products, not sure about Catholics but my rapist did smoke and I still have those nightmares of his stale smoky breath. I don’t know about you folks but just two items are big plus for me. Both religions have strong family values. That is great. The Mormon religion was founded by Joseph Smith but, he is dead. The Catholics are lead by the Pope who is very much alive and who claims to NEVER be wrong in Spiritual matters. Really?

Once again what are we really afraid of? Steve Gaines once again shame on you. I wish Paul Harvey was still around. I loved his words “Now for the rest of the story”. Don’t you know in this case it would be a good $$$$$ one.

David Brown

Anonymous said...

Steves still bragging about this as he just facebooked it

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=284200908319418&set=a.188926051180238.45071.132492183490292&type=1&theater

Lynn123 said...

I grew up in Baptist churches, so I'm used to their ways of doing things and the stuff they say.

But I remember, as an adult, our pediatrician showed up at a church we were attending. The preacher rambled on about giving money, typical sermon. I felt embarrassed! I was seeing the whole thing through the eyes of the doctor and her husband, also a doctor. It was probably a foreign environment for them, they were probably looking for a church to attend. I just felt like they were probably thinking how silly and pointless. The other embarrassing part to me was that the service is informal. You've got a guy up there just talking about whatever he feels like talking about. No dignified rituals to make it feel more formal and serious.

Anyway, since Santorum is Catholic, he's probably not used to such informal services. Oh, didn't they just have him recently on tape where he's addressing a Catholic University and mentions what a mess the Protestant churches are? lol-I just remembered that. I think I agree with him.

New BBC Open Forum said...

No sooner had the Santorums left the auditorium Steve took a swipe at the Catholics. If they still stream the services on all those flat-screen TVs throughout the building the Santorums probably heard him on their way out.

While I realize Catholics aren't the only ones who have "catechism" classes, in the U.S. that's what you think of. His little chuckle right after he said it indicated to me that he either thought he was being cute or it just slipped out (he surely had "Catholics" on the mind having just prayed over them) and he was embarrassed. Kind of hard to tell if it was his "aren't I funny!" heh heh or his "oops, didn't mean to let that slip" heh heh.

Of course, at Bellevue they have don't have "catechism" classes. Instead they have Step Classes patterned after Rick Warren's S.T.E.P. classes. Prospective members must attend the first of now two of these classes where they're indoctrinated in the ways of Bellevue before they're accepted for church membership. Used to be you could simply transfer your letter from another Baptist church or present yourself for baptism with your profession of faith and you were a member. Now you have to "do things." I've not heard of them forcing people to sign covenants to join the church, at least not yet, but that wouldn't surprise me.

Then having completed "Step 1," new members are "strongly encouraged" to attend the second class where they're given "spiritual gifts" and "temperament" tests. Anyone who's interested can search the archives and comments here to see some in depth discussions about this New Agey practice.

WWJD said...

That's "typical" of pastors taking a "swipe" or making wise cracks or joke about other denominations and religions. Many times they even put down their own denominations with such swipes. Even this blog made a passing joke about Obama. Dont have to make a joke about Obama because hes a joke already. Humor is humor. Some get it, some dont.


Guess Gaines is under the microscope for every moment and thing he does. He cant win no matter what he does or dont do. Even my dog doesnt like Gaines because he likes Purina so why loose sleep over what Gaines does or doesnt do. Many have moved on to other churches and in life.


Life is short and theres nothing to gain(es) being bitter and angry (FYI thats a joke)


“If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. Don't give the Devil a chance.” - Ephesians 4:26-27

Now its time for everyone to lay hands on this blog.

PASCHAL GREETINGS