Dear Ed: Thank you for your book addressed to a “Southern Baptist pastor.” As a Baptist pastor on the western edge of the South (and a Southern Baptist until a few years ago), let me say that it was good to hear from you. I appreciate your southern civility and good manners, as you put it. They go a long way toward starting a conversation about “saving the planet.”
Scientists like Richard Dawkins of Oxford (The God Delusion) and Sam Harris of Stanford (Letter to a Christian Nation) also have new books dealing with science and religion. The fact that they are fundamentalist scientists does not help the cause of dialogue any more than that many of my fellow pastors and theologians are fundamentalist Christians. An increasing number of us who are Christian are working at caring for God’s creation, and if we are going to work with scientists like you, good manners between us all helps.
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).