A Southern Baptist leader in Missouri believes Muslims are plotting to take over the United States, according to a newspaper report of the opening session of the Missouri Baptist Convention.

“The real threat we are facing today is that Islam has a strategic plan to conquer and occupy America,” David Clippard, the state convention’s top executive, said in a Monday night address, according to the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Clippard said the plan includes funding of Islamic studies and opening mosques near colleges and universities. He said Saudi Arabia has opened 1,156 Muslim study centers across North America, including 138 in the United States and three in Missouri.

“They are after our sons and daughters, our students,” Clippard said. The goal, he added, is to conquer America from within.

“They have a plan to take over,” he said. “The first city is Detroit, which has 600,000 people. Three hundred thousand are Muslims today.”

Clippard compared Baptists arguing among themselves at such a time to the Russian Orthodox Church debating what color vestments priests should wear while communists were invading their country.

“Can that happen to us?” he said. “You bet it can.”

Clippard’s comments came five weeks after the convention’s executive board upheld his leadership in a six-hour closed-door meeting to discuss concerns about the organization’s direction.

Other scheduled speakers at the Oct. 30-Nov. 1 convention, held in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University, include Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. Land closes out the meeting Wednesday morning with an address expected to touch on stem-cell research.

Missouri Baptist and Catholic leaders have forged an unlikely alliance against an amendment on the Nov. 7 ballot that would allow patients and researchers access to any method of stem-cell research permitted under federal law, while banning cloning.

Opponents say the law would allow destruction of microscopic embryos they regard as human life.

A group of African-American ministers recently spoke out in favor of Amendment 2, saying stem-cell research could save lives in the black community, which suffers disproportionately from incurable diseases like diabetes, sickle-cell anemia and cancer.

The SBC International Mission Board, meeting this week in St. Louis, planned to join Missouri Baptists Tuesday night for a joint commissioning service of Southern Baptist missionaries.

A credentials committee at this year’s convention ruled 19 churches no longer meet membership qualifications, because they are aligned with either the Baptist General Convention of Missouri or the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, moderate groups that disagree with the SBC’s fundamentalist agenda.

Last year the convention amended its constitution to require single affiliation with both the MBC and Southern Baptist Convention.

Clippard, who in March described then-unsolved church arsons in Alabama as “a terrorist attack on Baptists,” isn’t the first Southern Baptist to publicly declare Islam a threat against America.

Anis Shorrosh, a Southern Baptist author and evangelist from Alabama routinely quoted by Baptist Press, unveiled in 2002 what he believed to be Islam’s 20-point plan to conquer the U.S. by 2020.

Clippard’s comments about Islam were in context of urging Missouri Baptists to recommit themselves to missions.

Brian Kaylor, communications specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Missouri, suggested Clippard should follow his own advice.

“Instead of preaching missions, he aggressively attacked Islam to ignite fear and anger,” Kaylor said. “Instead of preaching missions, the MBC will kick churches out that give to other missions efforts. Instead of preaching missions, the MBC will report on its lawsuit against Christian ministries, which has resulted in the convention wasting millions of dollars and hurting the image of Christians. Instead of preaching missions, the MBC will likely consider a resolution that inaccurately condemns public schools. Instead of preaching missions, the MBC will play politics by allowing Senator Jim Talent, who is in a tough reelection race, to bring greetings.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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