Bama Reform Tom Corts: Will it spill Over to the Alsbom of the SBC??
Corts, right out of retirement and the end of a glorious Presidency of Samford--minus a short lived wooing by Baylor where they showed their backwoods Hiney; is there a little Criswell in Herb Reynolds?--is back in the fray to a little chagrin of his wife, gonna sweep this state clean at the Governor's Request, sprucing up a corrupt statewide Two-year College System, nepotism all around. Great article back in May about Corts tenure at Samford, got picked up on website of both Baptists Today and karl Rove's Baptist Press.
Getting back on the White Horse, Corts said I'm an honest man, the state needs me and I can git R Done.
Corts is a good man. He and my Dad had a mutual friend from his Days at Wingate, A Dr. Everett Chapman, who came through Gaffney in early 70's and now around Lake Lure. Uncle Prentice was spellbound the one time he heard Chapman preach. I shook hands with Corts back in April, right after his Samford Retirement Banquet when Bush Administration's Eric Motley, among others flew down to sing his praises. Samford has produced Eric Motley and Leigh Ann Metzger. Not sure what it means.
Corts once suspected I planted a story in the Wall Street Journal. Wish I had that much influence. Woulda love to have had, but I didn't. It was the one about the schizophrenia in the institution with Timothy George on one hand and Bill Leonard on the other one. Wrong man left; George shoulda bailed, a blemish on an otherwise stellar administration.
Corts was handsomely paid, around three and a quarter a year; but I'm okay with that. I feel certain he turns more back into good causes than Paige Patterson and Ronnie Floyd do.
The Bob Riley appointment has political implications. Riley in this campaign year has to catch some of the Lone Ranger Glow of this Upright capable man. I think Riley is counting on the virtue by association of Corts and Drayton Nabers, though Riley himself may be more in the mold of another Nabers, Jim Nabors.
The questions is, full plate and thicketed at that Corts has embraced, will he have the energy and time to address a more pressing and complicated question always near at hand. Will he have time and presence of mine to articulate the nuances folks like Jim Evans, Wayne Flynt, Lenora Pate, Deidre Downs (former Miss America and Samford grad of a Kate Campbell political bent) Sara Shelton, Rabbi Jonathan Miller and myself would want to press Gov Riley on; and that is the dark, dense Karl Rove underbelly of the religious right in the state most prevalent in the political calculations of Republicans like Mike Rogers, Robert Aderholt, and Senator Jeff Session.
For sure Roy Moore was defeated soundly. But the questions raised by Kevin Phillips, Michelle Goldberg and Bill Moyers remain. Can Corts bear witness to Riley and lead him away from the mediocrity of the likes of Mississippi Judge Pickering on SBC Peace Committee toward the greatness of Judge Frank Johnson and Hugo Black; or will Corts get caught in the thicket in his noble intent.
The reading list is out there. Alabama is nationally known to be a petri dish for the ongoing calculations of Rove, Land; Floyd and Scarborough www.visionamerica.us
It will take a certain sound, and it must be sounded from the outset.
A folk church like the SBC cannot be whitewashed, Rick Lance and Bob Terry must not be allowed to Up With People it Away.
Corts has led the charge on Constitutional Reform. He has joined the fray again.
He also has endorsed the Pastorate of Sara Shelton, so he clearly is outside BFM 2000.
He has left his successor a latent cancer at Samford, Timothy George--see Carl Kell's Exiled and the testimony of Paul Simmons.
Let's Hope Corts is up to the Thicket, the Rams Horns are Long, and his glorious legacy refines.
Collinsville, Alabama, last Friday of July, 2006
PS New Yorker has a seminal story on Religious Right and how it is playing this round in Ohio. Should be easy to google up. I hope Corts reads it this weekend, as well as the staff of Bob Riley and Lenora's Pates Dawson Church. FBC Auburn can not save the state by itself.
Look for Revisions and updates of this post in the next ten days.
Look for the stories and today's editorial on Corts at www.al.com then click on Bham News.