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Bailey Smith Offers to Meet with ADL Official to Get Understanding with You and Your People’

The Rev. Bailey Smith, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who caused an uproar with his remark that God does not hear the prayers of Jews, has asked for a meeting with Nathan Perlmutter, national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, in order to achieve “better understanding with you and your people.”

In a letter to Perlmutter, Smith said “I deeply regret any hurt that may have come by remarks credited to me. You and I both know that situations are not always what they appear to be when more information is revealed.” He suggested that “we meet in Dallas with your people” on one of several alternate days in December.

Perlmutter, in response, welcomed the suggested meeting, adding: “I am confident that no matter our differences and no matter your past statements and our response to them, the amplitude of reason in the Judeo-Christian heritage will guide us to understanding …. Also, I’d be pleased to explore the availability of associates in order to broaden the impact of our discussions — if you felt that a modestly broadened interchange would be useful.” Perlmutter offered to meet Smith in New York, Washington or Chicago.