The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973 Page: 339
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Patriotic support for World War I was viewed as "nothing less than a
Christian obligation" (p. 99). The church opposed the candidacies of
Al Smith and John Kennedy on religious grounds, and as late as 1940
it justified lower wages and inferior educational facilities for blacks
on the basis that they had different "social position and living require-
ments" (p. o0) .
Stands such as these led Eighmy to his second important point-
that Southern Baptist churches have largely been "churches in cul-
tural captivity" who "forfeited their prophetic role within their cul-
ture" (p. 2o) . Because of the form of church organization, the opinions
of the "white lower and middle-class members" (p. 19) have dominated
Baptists' thinking; because of theology, ministers have put most of their
time and energies into revivalistic programs for "converting individuals
and policing morals" (p. 19). Additionally, the climate of southern so-
ciety discouraged criticism of or dissent from the region's peculiar and
self-conscious value system. Consequently, according to Eighmy, "The
study of Southern Baptist social attitudes, therefore becomes largely an
examination of how the prevailing secular values gained confirmation
from a denomination that lacked institution leadership capable of in-
dependent judgment and action" (p. 2o) .
And yet, as Eighmy further demonstrates, not all of the Southern
Baptists accepted this ongoing endorsement of the southern status quo.
Beginning late in the nineteenth century, the social gospel raised its
head in Southern Baptist circles, and although its appearance was only
occasional, and even today remains a minority voice in the denomina-
tion, its presence has been felt more and more. Particularly since World
War II in such areas as that of race relations, the official statements of
the Southern Baptist bodies have often been, without doubt, in ad-
vance of the views of a vast portion of the members. This tardy and
feeble rise of social consciousness within the institutions of the de-
nomination occupies the bulk of the author's work.
Any study which sets out to survey so broad a topic is bound to have
weaknesses, and this one is no exception. Those opposing the church's
move toward leadership on social questions receive much less attention
than their numbers and influence would seem to demand. For example,
while J. M. Dawson's work in behalf of world peace and separation of
church and state receives almost four full pages of text, J. Frank Nor-
ris's fundamentalist efforts earn only four lines, W. A. Criswell's con-
servative role gets seven lines, and Billy Graham rates half-a-linel Addi-
tionally, more than three-fourths of the book deals with the present
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973, periodical, 1973; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/m1/381/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.