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?