LAWSUIT: Atlanta suburb blocks Southern Baptist ministry expansion

Southern Baptist Convention entity sues Clarkston, Georgia in effort to expand its refugee and immigrant ministries.

Residents say Muslims worried about Baptist mission unit in this Georgia city.

The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention plans a four-city block development of soccer fields, mixed retail and church facilities to reach the immigrants, refugees and other residents of Clarkson, Georgia. Clarkson is a suburb located along the perimeter of I-285 ringing Atlanta. Unfortunately, residents and city leaders are using the force of the law to derail the development.

The project has a budget of $10-15 million. Baptist Press reported $10.7 million, but secular sources reported $15 million. You can read more on the background of the project and the anti-Baptist, anti-Christian forces at work in the city.

The ministry will help reach the large immigrant and refugee community in Clarkston.

Currently, residents are concerned about the religious nature of the Southern Baptist Convention development. According to the AJC, “Some people — especially members of the Muslim community — were also worried the Baptist mission center might seek to convert residents of other faiths to Christianity,” one resident told the AJC.

From the beginning the project encountered resistance and bigotry in Atlanta suburb. The mayor declared the ministry was not the typical bigoted Southern Baptist work. According to reports, ““People say the Southern Baptist Convention is bigots, racists, anti-gay. I understand that feeling,” Mayor Ted Terry told the AJC. “But he called the religious organization handling the effort, a group called Send Relief, ‘the more charitable, open-minded wing of the Baptist tent.’”

The move against the expensive Southern Baptist project raises serious constitutional and religious liberty issues.

According to Baptist Press, “NAMB has the right to own property, but a decision to retroactively designate an area as a historic district could be used to prevent any church in the nation from expanding its ministry,” NAMB’s President Keven Ezell said. “We are challenging this decision not just for Clarkston International, but for churches everywhere who could face their ministries being curtailed.”

Anti-Christian bias in the heart of the Bible belt. The times are changing.

Oh, and the mayor of Clarkston is running for Senate in 2020. Keep that in mind Southern Baptist voters.