Offbeat Mike Pence criticized for Trump ‘campaign speech’ at Southern Baptist Convention

17:32  14 june  2018
17:32  14 june  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Vice President Mike Pence is slated to address the Southern Baptist Convention ’s annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday despite calls to prevent him from speaking. Virginia Pastor Garrett Kell pressed for Pence ’s speech to be replaced with a time of prayer

Pastor Garrett Kell (of Del Ray Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA) proposed that the convention remove Vice President Mike Pence ’s planned speech — and that of any other politicians — from the The Southern Baptist Convention ’s Annual Meeting runs through Wednesday, June 13th.

Video by CBS Dallas

DALLAS — Vice President Mike Pence celebrated President Donald Trump's recent summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un as a success during his Wednesday morning address to the Southern Baptist Convention. 

"The meeting that took place was direct and honest, provocative and productive," Pence said. "It resulted in a bold first step where North Korea's leader committed to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula." 

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Steven Gaines, the Southern Baptist Convention president said in a press release Monday that his group announced Pence as the group’s speaker. Vice President Mike Pence introduces President Donald Trump at a campaign rally on May 10, 2018 in Elkhart, Indiana.

Initial Twitter reports suggest onsite Southern Baptist Convention reaction to the speech was mixed. STORY: Mike Pence ’s speech got mixed reactions from the Southern Baptist Convention .

Many of the Southern Baptists listening to the Republican leader during their big denominational meeting in Dallas responded to Pence's update on Tuesday's summit in Singapore with applause and cheers.

They rose to their feet when Pence spoke of Trump securing a commitment from North Korea on recovering and repatriating the remains of those who fought in the Korean War.  

"We are finally going to bring our boys home," Pence said.

More: Vice President Mike Pence will address the Southern Baptist Convention. But some aren't happy about it.

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Pence's nearly 40-minute speech to the country's biggest evangelical church group covered a wide range of topics, including praise for several changes Trump has made since he took office. He lauded the president's anti-abortion efforts and the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  

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Vice President Mike Pence is slated to address leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday in Dallas at the annual meeting of America’s largest Protestant denomination, which opened Tuesday. Pence ’s speech coincides with a tumultuous time for Southern Baptists .

“When Mike Pence enters, he’ll receive a standing ovation from a (likely vast) majority of the messengers. The post-#MeToo reckoning at the Southern Baptist Convention ’s annual meeting. Trump ’s biggest Republican critics paid the price in their primaries on Tuesday.

The vice president is often admired by evangelicals for his Christian faith and his ability to influence President Donald Trump on policies that resonate with conservative Christians. 

Soon after he walked on stage, the vice president reiterated a sentiment he often shares, explaining to the thousands of Southern Baptists in the convention hall that he is a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third.

Not all happy with Pence's speech

However, the vice president's speech itself did not sit well with everyone in the convention hall and those watching online. Some took to social media to express their dismay of the address, calling it partisan and a stump speech. 

At about the time the speech ended, North Carolina Pastor J.D. Greear, the newly elected Southern Baptist Convention president, tweeted about public officials at the annual meeting. 

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Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in Dallas to address some 15,000 members at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting happening at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. It's only a marketing campaign .

Winning several standing ovations, Vice President Mike Pence gave an often laudatory campaign -style speech Wednesday to the closing session of the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention , calling it “one of the greatest forces for good anywhere in America.”

"I know that sent a terribly mixed signal. We are grateful for civic leaders who want to speak to our Convention — but make no mistake about it, our identity is in the gospel and our unity is in the great commission," Greear said. "Commissioned missionaries, not political platforms, are what we do."

Those reactions were in keeping with earlier efforts by some to prevent Pence from addressing the convention and to stop public officials from speaking at future meetings.

They raised concerns about sending the wrong message that Southern Baptists are aligned with the Republican party as well as worries that it could alienate minorities and those who take issue with the Trump Administration. 

A Tuesday morning vote to substitute Pence's speech for a time of prayer failed to get enough support after Grant Ethridge, chairman of the Committee on Order of Business, made a biblical case for showing hospitality to people in positions of authority. 

"I believe we respect the position regardless of whether or not you supported or voted for the person," Ethridge said.

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Donald Trump . Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the Southern Baptist Convention 's annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, the denomination announced Monday. As Southern Baptists meet in Dallas, generational shifts lead to a moment of #MeToo reckoning.

Watch Pence give enough speeches , and you’ll notice that this often happens when he’s in front of a friendly crowd. Pence , meanwhile, had spent the primaries privately shaking his head at Trump ’s campaign -trail Russell Moore, of the Southern Baptist Convention , has made this case forcefully.

Before the vice president took the stage Wednesday, those in the room rose to their feet for several minutes of pre-scheduled worship. 

a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by WP Company LLC d/b/a The Washington Post

Pence praises Sutherland Springs church, encourages Southern Baptists

Pence walked on stage to loud applause after an introduction from current Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines, who is a pastor from Memphis. He remarked on the support Pence offered the victims of last year's mass shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, which is a member of the network of churches. 

"I am so grateful to have a vice president who not only loves people, but also loves the lord, Jesus Christ."

Pence recounted visiting with the victims of the Texas shooting and praised Pastor Frank Pomeroy, who leads the Sutherland Springs church. He was moved by their strong faith in the face of that tragedy. 

"There's was a small church, but their faith was not small," Pence said. 

And, he praised Southern Baptists for their faith and efforts to spread the gospel. 

"The Southern Baptist Convention has always strived to reach the world for Christ and so you have throughout the decades," Pence said. "I believe with all my heart that your faith has moved mountains."

And he urged them to keep praying and doing God's work. 

"The truth is that no podium that the president and I will ever stand behind will be of greater consequence than the pulpits you stand behind every Sunday morning," Pence said.

"No policy we enact will ever be more meaningful than the ministries you lead and no action we take will ever be more powerful than your prayers."

Reach Holly Meyer at hmeyer@tennessean.com or 615-259-8241 and on Twitter @HollyAMeyer. 

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