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Mystical Bridge is Practical Divorcee

An article appearing in Furman's student newspaper, The Paladin, dated November 16, 1963. The author takes a satirical approach in describing a meeting of the South Carolina Baptist Convention and its reaction to the Furman Trustees' resolution authorizing Furman to admit all qualified applicants regardless of race or color.

Mystical Bride Is Practical Divorcee -- By JIM EDWARDS -- CHARLESTON -- In the three short days of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, that unquiet segment of the mystical bride of Christ succeeded in obtaining a quick Nevada-style divorce. The separation was not without bitterness, but the custody of the children was no problem: they were merely abandoned. No one could say the convention was dull. From the outset it was pervaded by that strange electricity that subtly marks all controversy. Some of the good messengers in Charleston seemed anxious to get the "real" issue settled and to forget about such minor concerns as propagation of the gospel, overcoming the world and loving one's neighbor. It was indeed inspiring to see such staunch dedication and such clear vision in our leaders, the honored keepers of our storied religious heritage. The honorable messengers lost no time in bringing up the vital Furman-admissions policy. The Florence Baptist Association moved that the matter of admissions be left entirely in the bands of the Furman trustees; but as information Paul Craven informed the convention of a Charleston Association recommendation that all S. C. Baptist institutions adhere to the same policy in regard to race and that Furman be directed to defer action until overall policy for the state had been adopted. What a vision! At the Tuesday afternoon business session, Harry Weaver asked that the Convention affirm belief in "the virgin birth, the precious doctrine of the Bible and the American way of life." It was also recommended that the Southern Baptist Convention screen all its speakers to weed out all heretics, liberals and communists. The battle was stalemated until Wednesday, but few changes were made in a proposal from the General Board that Furman wait to integrate until further investigation of the matter can be made. Julian Cave, amid bursts of secular applause and pious "amens" used chop logic to say that integration will raise more problems than it will solve and "God forgive our attempt to stay safe!" Billy Beason thought the Convention was being caught up in a whirlwind of communism and NAACP efforts (apparently in connection with the discussions on integration and Furman) and urged the 1963 convention to take action on the infiltration. Piety and alarm are no excuses for ignorance, and the whole tone of the meetings was one of zealous piety and impassioned ignorance. The messengers were highly anxious to do what was "right" for Furman; but somehow neglected to ask administrative officials of the University what was, in reality, best for the institution.