This was an excommunication of 9 members of a baptist church (small southern town) for being members of the democratic party. The pastor in this case argued that supporting Kerry, meant support for abortion and support for abortion was an excommunicative offense. He has quite open in indicating he believed that the church should be "political".
This piece is interesting. Outside of tradition I'm hard pressed to see much difference between these excommunications and excommunications for a wide range of opinions expressed. Either people should have freedom of conscience of they bring their stated opinions into line with the church. Of course, I'm hard pressed to see Kerry as a major facilitator of abortion but that's a disagreement on the facts of the case so isn't really relevant.
Another interesting point about the case was that the pastor in this case violated his church rules creating an impromptu business meeting to force the 9 erasures. However instead of going after the weak and the defenseless (a more typical situation norm for church discipline) he went after successful people who had access to outside resources and the pastor lost the power struggle. Lots to discuss in this one.
- ashvegas summary of a variety of sources
- Rocky Mountain News: Fact oriented News Story, A warning about the future Outline of the different opinions and Both parties denounce the pastor's actions
- Liberal Baptist arguing (essentially) the pastor's action were unbaptist:
- The pastor's defense was he wasn't excommunicating people just removing them from positions of leadership. Which while probably false makes for another interesting question about whether this would be acceptable to do too leaders?