Earlier this year, I posted about my excitement about the New Baptist Covenant. And I encourage as many people as possible to attend next January’s celebration.

But I am not in a celebratory mood.

Across the nation, an ugliness is emerging that I hoped was long gone. There’s a palpable anger in America, and it’s increasingly directed at non-whites. Draconian anti-illegal measures have become law from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma.

Cowards are again hanging nooses to intimidate African-Americans, and a lot of people don’t consider that a hate crime.

Rumors circulate that Iran’s next in our so-called “War on Terror.” And some are using that to condemn Muslims as “Islamo-fascists” that they say pose a greater threat to America than Hitler, Stalin or any other past enemy.

I worry for my wife, a legal immigrant from Mexico, in this poisonous environment. We’re stirring up a hornet’s nest of fear. People in that state don’t ask for a green card before acting on their hatred. I worry for innocent Iranian women and children.

And while I worry, Baptists are celebrating.

We’re finally organizing. We’re finally willing to do something and counteract a conservative movement that’s besmirched our savior’s name, bankrupted our country and led us into an unnecessary war.

While all this goes on, we pat ourselves on the back that we can sit in the same room and get along.

The world doesn’t need another Baptist potluck. It needs old-school Baptists who understand the separation of church and state and know how to engage with their society prophetically.

I wish everyone attending the event well. But, don’t bother me until we’re willing to move beyond nice words and act.

Will Prescott is a freelance writer and graduate student in Norman, Okla. This column appears on his blog, Future Bard.

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