Southwest region severs ABC ties; loyal churches organize
Not all churches to leave denomination
May 30, 2006
After years of conflict centering mainly on the issue of homosexuality, a large, southern California–based regional body of the American Baptist Churches U.S.A. has voted to continue the process of separating itself from the denomination.
The Pacific Southwest region voted 1,125 to 209—without discussion—in a telephone-conducted referendum coordinated from First Baptist Church in Pomona, California, on April 29 to terminate its relationship with the ABCUSA. Those participating at Pomona and at six other locations from Hawaii to Arizona represented just over half of the congregations in the Pacific Southwest region.
The ABCUSA, a 1.4-million-member denomination based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, learned that the region’s board of directors voted unanimously May 11 to withdraw, effective in November 1. Dale Salico, the region’s executive minister, has repeatedly characterized its differences with national leadership as irreconcilable.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).