Motion to move Orlando convention referred to Executive Committee

by Keith Hinson , posted Tuesday, June 09, 1998 (20 years ago)

SALT LAKE CITY (BP)--Southern Baptist Convention messengers voted to refer to the Executive Committee a June 9 motion asking, "in light of the Disney boycott," that efforts be made to move the 1999 site of the annual meeting from Orlando, Fla., to New York City.

The Committee on Order of Business recommended referring the motion to the Executive Committee rather than asking convention messengers to act on the motion. Messengers agreed to the referral. Wiley Drake, pastor of First Southern Baptist Church, Buena Park, Calif., proposed the motion. Drake, whose church is located a few miles from Disneyland, has been an outspoken proponent of Southern Baptists' boycott against the Disney Company. At the 1996 SBC annual meeting, Drake spearheaded a successful effort to toughen the language of a resolution that laid the groundwork for the 1997 boycott.

"I think canceling Orlando would do two things," Drake said. "First, Walt Disney would end up with less money from Baptists by us going to New York. Second, it would be seen by Disney as a show of solidarity if indeed we do cancel."

Herb Hollinger, vice president for convention news for the Executive Committee, said the proposal to relocate may present problems since three major contracts have already been signed with hotels in Orlando and a letter of agreement has been signed with the Orlando Convention Center.

Acknowledging that the short time frame may be a problem, Drake said he looked forward to the Executive Committee's report at the 1999 convention meeting in Atlanta. "I don't know how much down payments have to be made -- whether we would be losing hundreds, thousands or millions of dollars."

Drake said he would decide next year, after hearing the Executive Committee's report, whether to attend the convention if it is not relocated.

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