Baptists defer on Clinton's character Resolutions fail to tie him to officials' behavior

June 11, 1998|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Southern Baptist Convention spoke out strongly yesterday on the importance of moral character in public office, but stopped shy of pointing a finger at the world's most famous Southern Baptist, President Clinton.

More than 8,000 delegates at the annual meeting of the 16 million-member denomination voted to declare that "moral character matters to God and should matter to all citizens, especially God's people, when choosing public leaders."

Their resolution pointed out that "serious allegations continue to be made about moral and legal misconduct by certain public officials."

But several similar resolutions that named Clinton never made it out of committee, and an attempt to add the president's name to the active resolution failed on the floor of the convention.

Clinton is a Southern Baptist, as is Vice President Al Gore.

The White House Wednesday said Clinton noted with "wry amusement" the vote by the Convention Tuesday to amend its statement of beliefs to say that wives should "submit graciously" to their husbands.

Press secretary Mike McCurry said Clinton "thought about how he might call it to the attention of the first lady. And I don't know whether he elected to do so or not."

Pub Date: 6/11/98

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