Terry Mattingly–Goodbye to a radical Baptist patriarch, Will Campbell

Facing a nervous crowd, the guard ordered Campbell to walk through the gate. So the famous civil-rights activist ”” the only white leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. invited to the first Southern Christian Leadership Conference meeting ”” got down on the floor and crawled through. Then he retrieved his cane.

Campbell admitted, when telling this parable to Baptist progressives in 1994, that he then gave the cane a “sassy little twirl.” His wife asked: “Why do you do things like that?”

“Because, I’m a Baptist! I come from a long line of hell-raisers,” said Campbell. “I was taught that I wasn’t a robot ”” that I was a human being with a mind, capable of reason, entitled to read any book, including the Bible, and interpret it according to the ability of the mind I was given. That’s why I do things like that.”

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