November 12, 2008

Oklahoma Baptists choose Native president

Oklahoma Baptists elect first Native American presidentOne week after Americans elected their first black president, Oklahoma Southern Baptists elected their first American Indian president.

The Rev. Emerson Falls, pastor of Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, was elected Tuesday at the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma annual meeting at the Church at Battle Creek, Broken Arrow.

“It’s an awesome thing,” the Rev. Anthony Jordan, executive director/treasurer of the association of 1,758 Southern Baptist churches, told the Tulsa World in an interview.

Jordan said early records of the 102-year-old association are spotty, but there is no record a Native American has ever been president.

Oklahoma Baptists have a rich and deep heritage in the Native American community, going back to the 1830s, he said, when the first Baptist church was formed near Muskogee in Indian Territory by two whites, an Indian and two blacks.

Oklahoma has a higher percentage of Native American Baptists than other state, he said, with more than 200 churches.
Comment:  According to, Falls is Sac and Fox and Choctaw.

For more on the subject of Indians heading religious organizations, see Lumbee to Lead Southern Baptists.


Anonymous said...

Re: The Southern Baptist's Man of the Hour

To each his own (or her own) in terms of religious choice, but I must remark that Oklahoma is one "hell" of a bible-thumping, religiously fanatical state with large numbers of Indians who are hardcore Christian fundamentalists.

Traveling through Oklahoma once in the mid-80s (Anadarko, to be exact), I needed some emergency assistance with transportation (a simple low-cost vehicle repair issue was the problem), so I was referred to the police station where I was in turn referred to a local Baptist minister.

Upon explaining my dire situation to this minister (who resembled a fatter Dick Cheney with a thick, walrus-like moustache), he loudly inquired of me, "Well, before ah kin hep ya, I neeeed to know where ya stand with the Lord?!"

To which I politely replied: "Well, I was raised as a Catholic."

Baptist minister: (his face suddenly redder than a beet): "WELL, WHY DON'T YA GO AXE DEM FOLKS FER HEP!!!"

I ended up abandoning my vehicle on the nearby Apache rez. I was able to hitch a series of rides to Dallas, Texas, where I had access to additional help (or "hep" as is said down there) to get back to Los Angeles.

On the way to Dallas, I thumbed a ride with an Indian trucker, a full-blooded Kiowa man of perhaps 60 or so. We talked about our respective tribes, to which he remarked that he could speak his own language until he was eight years old at which time: "A fire and brimstome preacher beat it out of me."

dmarks said...

" I thumbed a ride with an Indian trucker, a full-blooded Kiowa man of perhaps 60 or so"

Did he try to sell you any movie scripts?

Anonymous said...

Attn: dmarks

I am not sure I understand what you mean by this question?

Please enlighten me.

- Melvin Martin

dmarks said...

E-mail me for the answer.

Rob said...

DMarks was referring to Kiowa writer Russell Bates, who takes every opportunity to hawk his wares.