By Hubert Jedin
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You speak, too, of me being anti-capital. If there is that in my thinking—it’s not on a personal basis. By that, I mean there is no ill-feeling in my heart for any individual, be he capitalist or what not. However, when I see the suffering and the growing decay caused by putting the control of everything into fewer and fewer hands—then my intense desire for the greatest good for the greatest number causes me to honestly and sincerely be opposed to that tendency in our economic sys Growing Up Baptist in Anniston / 31 tem.
And with that he launched a vigorous rebuttal. Bell’s alternate resolutions addressing the problems of economic and racial injustice drew surprisingly strong support but not enough to pass the convention. Literally overnight Bell was transformed from an obscure Southern Baptist minister into a controversial denominational leader. Letters poured in from like- minded ministers who had labored in intellectual isolation, despairing at the conservatism and injustice of their communities and at the deadening and irrelevant pietism of their denomination.
Warning him that precipitate action would brand him a radical and destroy his influence, they proposed a gradual campaign. Building on the surprising strength he mustered at New Orleans, Bell should first contact sympathetic members of the Social Service Commission in hopes of obtaining a favorable report from them. That failing, he should offer a comparatively mild resolution from the floor, holding in reserve an even stronger statement to advance if the messengers seemed favorable Growing Up Baptist in Anniston / 29 to his first proposal.