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Thu June 20, 2013
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Southern Baptist Trying to Reach a "Slightly Broader Base."

Dr. Nancy Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University’s School of Theology and Chair of the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Nancy Ammerman is Professor of Sociology of Religion at Boston University’s School of Theology and Chair of the Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Credit bu.edu

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  A researcher who’s written extensively about the Tennessee based Southern Baptist Convention says the nation’s largest protestant denomination is trying to broaden its appeal to a wider segment of the population.

Professor Nancy Ammerman teaches the Sociology of Religion at Boston University. She says it’s telling that the Southern Baptist expressed concern for a wider range of issues during their annual convention in Houston this past week.

“More recently they’ve been broadening their concern into areas of human trafficking, prison reform, and other kinds of issues that take them I think into a slightly broader base in the population.”

Ammerman says many of the SBC’s original culture warriors are retiring, making way for a new generation of leaders. But she says that doesn’t mean the Convention is likely to soften its stance on hot-button topics like abortion or gay marriage.

“They’ve been so clearly on the side of trying to, as they would describe it - protect traditional marriage - and I’m not sure that this younger generation is necessarily going to change that stance.”

Ammerman says the SBC wants very much to be what she refers to as a “player in the American political  and cultural scene, as well as in spiritual matters.”