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Last week, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board decided it was time to push back against the historical revisionism of Barton, Skousen, and Beck. that tries to pretend that the United States was not founded on the principle of separation of church and state. So it voted to commission a pamphlet for lay readers setting the record straight. If anyone is entitled to do so, it’s the Virginia Baptists, who worked hand in glove with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson to get the state legislature to pass the aboriginal American charter of separation, Jefferson’s Statute for Religion Freedom, in 1786.
The VBMB is an arm of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, an umbrella organization dating back to 1823 that retains a good deal of the old Baptist separationist spirit, and finds itself regularly at odds with the Southern Baptist Convention. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, the folks at the SBC will do with the pamphlet after it is published and distributed to the thousands of Baptist churches in Virginia and beyond that belong to the BGAV. Will they stand with the old-time religion, or with Beck and company, or ignore the whole thing?