M. Lynne Murphy M_Lynne_Murphy at BAYLOR.EDU
Sat Nov 6 18:05:13 UTC 1999

>From: "Bethany K. Dumas" <dumasb at UTK.EDU>
>How do we Whiskeypalians fare?

OK, I guess.  There are several in my dept, including the chair.  I don't
think the avg student understands how similar Catholics and Episcopalians

The weird thing is that the official Baptist theology rests on "the
priesthood of all men"--meaning that anyone can (and does) found their own
Baptist church, but also meaning that no one's supposed to interpret God for
you, and thus you're supposed to be able to have theological differences
with other Baptists (hence the need for lots of little Baptist churches).
But in practice, Baptist higher-ups are quite happy to tell people what to
believe and not believe and what counts as practicing religion.

My mantra in coming here, to try to ensure an open mind was "Jimmy Carter is
a Southern Baptist, and I respect Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy Carter is a Southern
Baptist, and I respect Jimmy Carter.  Jimmy Carter is..." Growing up, I was
accustomed to the American Baptists whose parsonage we lived next door to
and in whose church basement I went to unilateral disarmament campaign
meetings.  Not finding many Jimmy-Carter-types or
unilateral-disarmament-types here, but there are some.

Now, let's get back to making this a dialectal discussion:

How about that pronunciation 'Babtist'?

When I first got here, I thought it was pejorative.  In fact, it is used
that way by northern  non-Baptists here a lot--"He's not a Baptist
preacher...He's a BABtist preacher!"  (i.e., stereotypical Southern
Baptist--conservative, hellfire-and-brimstone style, with some connotation
of ign'rance.)  Then I started realizing that most (at least Baptist) Texans
just say "Babtist" all the time.  I'm wondering whether there's any semantic
distinction between Babtist and Baptist in the South (i.e., Southern Baptist
vs. American Baptist?), whether it has any socio-economic relevance, and why
dissimilate that P anyway?


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