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Southern Baptist Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in 1845 when the Triennial Convention (a Baptist missionary agency) announced that it would not appoint any slaveholders as missionaries. Baptists from the South subsequently broke from this organization and formed the Southern Baptist Convention.

Southern Baptists are the largest baptist and protestant group in the United States claiming 16 million members. According to the Religious Congregations Membership Study, the Convention had 15,922,039 members in 41,514 churches in the United States in 2000. It has twenty-nine state conventions and supports thousands of missionaries worldwide. There are more Southern Baptist churches in America than of any other religious group including the Roman Catholic Church. Their greatest numbers are in the southern part of the United States, where they have strong political control. Many southern states have no lotteries or any gambling because of strong Baptist opposition to gambling. Also many counties are majority Southern Baptist and are "dry" counties because of their strong opposition to any alcohol consumption.

Its current president is Dr. Jack Graham, the pastor of the 21,000-member Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Prominent Southern Baptists include Evangelist Billy Graham, probably the most famous Southern Baptist alive today; his son and designated successor, Franklin; Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, former US Presidents; Charles Stanley, the pastor of the nearly 16,000-member First Baptist Church of Atlanta; Jerry Falwell, the pastor of the 24,000-member Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia; Adrian Rogers, the pastor of the 28,000 member Bellevue Baptist Church, and C. Edwin Young, the pastor of the 31,000 member Second Baptist Church.

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