July 3, 2002
FORT WORTH, Texas – A former moderator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) of Missouri who serves on the board of one of the nation’s most radical, pro-homosexual, pro-abortion organizations was elected CBF moderator for 2003-04 at the CBF General Assembly here June 27-29.
Cynthia Holmes of Clayton, a St. Louis attorney and member of Overland Baptist Church, will serve as moderator-elect before becoming the CBF’s highest elected leader in 2003-04. She will become the sixth woman to do so in the history of the organization that was formed in the early 1990s by disgruntled moderates and liberals opposing the conservative direction of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC).
Holmes has served for several years on the CBF Coordinating Council and presently serves as an at-large member and chairperson of the council’s legal committee.
She also serves on the 14-member board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), an organization that supports homosexual rights, abortion on demand and the teaching of the theory of evolution as scientific fact in public schools. Conversely AU opposes school prayer and the Boy Scouts of America’s right not to accept homosexuals into leadership positions. AU was among the most ardent supporters of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent ruling that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because of the phrase, "one nation under God."
AU has a history of clashes with Southern Baptists. It consistently rants against the more conservative, pro-family positions espoused by the Missouri Baptist Convention’s (MBC) Christian Life Commission and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC.
One of the more highly publicized clashes between AU and Southern Baptists occurred in 1998 when AU tried to intimidate the pastor and congregation of the First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls, Texas, with threatened legal action. First Wichita Falls led a coalition of conservative churches that wanted two pro-homosexual books moved from the children’s section of a public library to another, more age-appropriate area. AU responded by threatening the pastor, Robert Jeffries, and the congregation with a lawsuit after Jeffries called for the congregation to vote out of office any city council member who supported having such books – purchased with taxpayer dollars — made so easily available to children. Jeffries and the church refused to back down even though AU’s effort caused a deluge of criticism to rain down on FBC Wichita Falls from other leftist, pro-homosexual groups and the local news media.
The battle between AU and FBC Wichita Falls put a strain on the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT) leadership, who the Texas Baptist Layman’s Association accused of "dragging their feet" in coming to the public defense of Jeffries and the congregation. Ultimately the BGCT expressed its support for the church, but not before it was learned that some BGCT leaders have connections to AU. Phil Strickland, head of the BGCT’s Christian Life Commission, and John Baugh, the Houston businessman who helped launch the Baptists Committed and Mainstream Baptists movements (both political front groups for the CBF that are trying to lead state conventions away from the SBC), have both served on AU’s board.
In addition to the CBF, other groups represented on AU’s board of directors include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the pro-pornography People for the American Way, the pro-homosexual Unitarian Universalist Association, the atheistic American Humanistic Association and Fellowship of Religious Humanists.
Also represented on AU’s board is the CBF-funded Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs (BJCPA) which was defunded by the MBC and SBC a decade ago for associating with liberal political organizations like AU. Holmes serves on the BJCPA’s 45-member board.
Holmes and fellow CBF leader Bart Tichenor (who also served on the boards of AU and the BJCPA) have been in the forefront of the fight in Missouri between pro-CBF moderates and the conservative leadership of the MBC. The ties between the CBF and the new Baptist General Convention of Missouri (BGCM) appears to be strong as evidenced by the number of Missouri and national CBF leaders who attended the new convention’s organizational meeting April 19-20 at the St. Louis-area Fee Fee Baptist Church. Holmes and Tichenor were among the dozen or so CBF leaders in attendance. Tichenor, a former Missouri CBF moderator, has become one of the most vocal supporters of the new BGCM.
Many MBC leaders have suspected all along that CBF supporters in Missouri were behind the actions at Missouri Baptist College, the Missouri Baptist Foundation, The Baptist Home, Word & Way, and Windermere Conference Center where moderate trustees voted to make themselves the sole authority in naming their successors, thus removing Missouri Baptist churches from the trustee selection process. The trustee actions meant that they were effectively walking off with the five MBC agencies – said to have a combined worth of nearly $100 million.
As an example, MBC leaders point to Missouri Baptist College where at least six trustees have ties with the CBF in some way, either through direct involvement or by attending churches affiliated with the CBF. Randy Fullerton, trustee chairman, is pastor of Fee Fee Baptist Church, which hosted the founding meeting of the BGCM in April. Fullerton was elected chairman of the new convention as well. At the time the trustee boards of the five agencies voted to become self-perpetuating, Fee Fee had members serving as trustees at four of the five agencies.