After High Drama, Southern Baptists Overwhelmingly Denounce, Ban ‘Alt-Right’ (VIDEO)
When members of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) decided not to move forward with a resolution condemning the rabidly white nationalist alt-right movement, it caused a backlash. And that persuaded the SBC to change course and adopt a resolution condemning the white nationalist movement.
No room for alt-right nutjobs at this church
The SBC;s decision was met with a standing ovation as some 5,000 members voted to affirm their opposition to the openly racist alt-right movement The Washington Post reports. But obviously this isn’t a quick decision. And the time it took to agree on the resolution offended Dwight McKissic, an African-American pastor from Cornerstone Baptist Church, in Arlington, Texas. McKissic had introduced the resolution that called for the SBC to reject the alt-right movement.
“I saw people identifying themselves as Southern Baptist and members of the alt-right, so this is horrifying to me,” he said. “I wanted the Southern Baptist Convention to make it very clear that we have no relationship to them.”
Why the SBC decided not to condemn this racist group the first time around is beyond me. The church had already voted to condemn gambling and Planned Parenthood. The SBC could have voted on this as well. The SBC also adopted a statement on the importance of public officials who display “consistent moral character.” But frankly, the SBC dropped the ball when it failed to condemn this movement that seeks a whites-only state. And that very same resolution also commended “those leaders who choose not to meet privately with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse.” And this group includes Vice President Mike Pence, who said he doesn’t eat alone with any woman except his wife.
Apparently the SBC wasn’t bothered by the fact that Pence used money donated by voters to his campaign to pay his mortgage, his personal credit card bills, his wife’s car payment, groceries and golf tournament fees, my colleague, Samantha Layne reports. Nor are they bothered that he appears to hate LGBTQ people. It’s probably not a big deal to SBC members because the church still believes that marriage is only supposed to occur between a man and a woman.
And when the resolution to reject the alt-right moved like a snail through shards of glass, several younger members and evangelicals of color became understandably upset.
“I thought it would be a slam dunk, but I misread Southern Baptists apparently,” McKissic said.
And as it turns out, Mckissic wasn’t the only person offended by the SBC’s reticence on signing the resolution.
Author Trillia Newbell is the director of community outreach at the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission was also stung by the denomination’s reluctance to make a decision regarding the resolution.
“Was I hurt? Absolutely. Was I discouraged? Yes,” she said.
But Newbell found the denomination’s resounding approval of the amended resolution encouraging, she said.
“I think it’s important that we take every opportunity to denounce and set ourselves apart from anything that is racist or alienates our brothers and sisters in Christ who are people of color, especially given our history,” she said.
Newbell said she’s happy to see the denomination move to condemn white supremacy. But she’s fully aware that there needs to be more change in order to put a stop to white supremacy.
“But have we arrived?” she asks. “No.”
Barrett Duke, chairman of the SBC’s resolutions committee, was full of excuses, saying that the decision not to vote on the resolution was “not an endorsement of the alt-right.” The problem was that the original resolution didn’t clearly define who the alt-right was, he told Religion News Service.
And the debate over this resolution showcases the division within the roughly 15 million member denomination, NPR reports. A majority of white evangelicals supported Trump’s election. But a number of evangelicals of color weren’t necessarily on board and they questioned that support, noting that Trump’s policies are harmful to minorities to the point of being racist. Some members were also concerned that the resolution’s language was too strong.
“We regret and apologize for the pain and confusion that we created for you and a watching world when we decided not to report out a resolution on alt-right racism,” Duke told the crowd of about 5,000. “Please know that it wasn’t because we don’t share your abhorrence of racism and especially the particularly vicious form of racism that has manifested itself in the alt-right movement. We do share your abhorrence.”
Early in its history, the SBC began taking steps to separate itself from its racist roots after 1845, when it split from Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. And the convention has since apologized for sustaining and promoting slavery. Then in 2015, the SBC passed a resolution supporting racial reconciliation, npr reports.
But when it was time to rewrite the resolution, Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and a leading voice on the issue of racial reconciliation, and outspoken critic of Trump, took the helm and began re-writing the resolution.
“It was critically important to get this right,” Moore said. “The alt-right isn’t just some sociological movement. The alt-right is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ and Satanic to the core. We need to be very clear on that.”
Kudos to him for putting the resolution in overdrive.
Racial unity and justice is a hill on which to die.
If you’re at #SBC17, get in the convention hall and stay till last gavel.
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 14, 2017
Amen to that!
You can find out more in the video below.
Featured image via Youtube.
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