Editor’s note: This editorial first appeared on Jan. 22, 2002. A completely redesigned EthicsDaily.com went live in June 2018. It seems a perfect way to kick off our “Look Back” series with a reflection from founder Robert Parham (1953-2017) about the initial launch of EthicsDaily.com, which replaced Baptist Center for Ethics’ first website: Baptists4Ethics.com. Parham’s overall vision continues to guide our work.
A week ago, BCE (Baptist Center for Ethics) launched a new website for a new era. Sensing a timidity of leadership and the endangerment of historic Baptist principles, we were ready to fashion a more energetic and assertive Baptist witness in the 21st century.
EthicsDaily.com is an unapologetically Baptist venture for daily information and resources.
We began our planning last summer after BCE’s 10th anniversary celebration. We were uncomfortable with simply celebrating our success. We were eager to stop looking back and hungry to shape the future.
We soon decided that we would combine our proven skills with the emerging internet technology to build a resilient and persuasive Baptist network.
We could never have imagined Sept. 11, and how that tragedy would change everything. But in the “fullness of time,” we are even more convinced that EthicsDaily.com is the right platform for the right era.
The site’s mission is to provide a compelling moral witness, offer a centrist ethical framework, furnish cutting-edge cultural analysis, supply comprehensive resources and encourage a constructive ecumenical spirit.
We pursue this mission with biblically sound reflection, noted for quality, speed and function for the sake of God’s kingdom through the creation of the premiere Baptist website.
By “compelling moral witness,” we mean to address moral and social issues with a clear voice, a sturdy argument and a persuasive tone. We will speak truth without compromise while respecting its complexity.
BCE hopes its content and manner outfit congregational leaders and provide a positive testimony to journalists and others.
“Centrist ethical framework” refers to BCE’s goal to avoid the predictable, ideological approach to issues.
The word “centrist” is chosen to escape the false choices of the ideological right and left. For too long, public life has been defined at the shrill edges of culture.
The extremes distort the way we think about issues and narrow the range of practical options.
BCE seeks to frame issues in new ways that capture the public’s imagination and expand the practical options for doing moral good.
“Cutting-edge cultural analysis” relates to BCE’s commitment to examine cultural trends before they are widely recognized and to explore the social crosscurrents.
“Comprehensive resources” point toward a pledge to provide and link congregations with a wide range of curriculum items and other educational material.
“Constructive ecumenical spirit” associates BCE with the larger Christian community and acknowledges the need to interface with diverse religious groups for the sake of the common good.
“Biblically sound reflection” highlights a strong commitment to the biblical witness and appreciation for the best of contemporary scholarship. We are Christ-centered at our core with a simple piety.
“Quality, speed and function” underscore BCE’s commitment to a first-rate product, produced with timeliness and practicality.
We believe the web affords us the opportunity to connect our proven skills in information distillation, analysis and interpretation with contemporary technology at a relatively low financial cost.
But our mission is more than speedy information and robust content. We are also creating a new community of Baptists.
We have enlisted some of the best and brightest believers affiliated with the traditional Southern, American, Canadian and other Baptist bodies.
They will write monthly columns on family matters, social issues, Baptist heritage and leadership. They will review books and movies, provide weekly sermon manuscripts and reflect the world’s religions.
We are confident that as our venture gains better traction more writers and insightful thinkers will join us. This is only the beginning.
Perhaps EthicsDaily.com is indeed a venture in the “fullness of time.”
So, we invite you to join us in creating a new Baptist future.
Robert M. Parham (1953 – 2017) was the founder and executive director of Baptist Center for Ethics from 1991 to 2017. He served as executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, BCE’s website, from its launch in 2002 until 2017.