Jun 152017

Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines

By now, it’s pretty obvious that conservative evangelicals and the white supremacist movement (alt-right) are kith and kin. They have crawled into bed with right-wing politicians, and are the prime supporters of what remains of the Republican Party. It is no longer about religion with this group, but all about the politics, and a dark politics it is. Of course, that shouldn’t come as a big surprise, don’t forget that SBC was founded specifically to support slavery.1

Think I’m kidding? Well, let’s take a look at what’s been going at the meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix this week. According to a report in The Atlantic, the leadership were divided over a resolution affirming the denomination’s opposition to white supremacy and the alt-right.  A prominent Black Pastor in the Convention, Dwight McKissic, published his resolution a few weeks ago. It reads in part:

“there has arisen in the United States a growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people, and foment hatred, classism, and ethnic cleansing. […] totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.”

Much like at the General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC), resolutions go to a resolution committee, to get assigned to a committee appropriate to decide if it should go forward to be heard by the full Convention. However, this one was a little to toxic for the SBC leadership, so the resolutions committee wasn’t going to move it forward. According to The Atlantic article:

“We were very aware that on this issue, feelings rightly run high regarding alt-right ideology,” said Barrett Duke, the head of the resolutions committee, in an interview on Wednesday morning. “We share those feelings … We just weren’t certain we could craft a resolution that would enable us to measure our strong convictions with the grace of love, which we’re also commended by Jesus to incorporate.”

Delegates can enter a motion on the Convention floor for reconsideration, and on Tuesday afternoon, that’s exactly what McKissic did. Unfortunately, his motion failed, and all hell broke loose. A group gathered around McKissic to figure a way to get the reconsideration, and apparently the leadership went into crisis mode, and lo’ and behold, the Resolutions Committee Chairman announced they were ready to report on a resolution, just not on Tuesday, it would have to be Wednesday afternoon. It has significant changes, and the language about slavery was removed, but McKissic supports it. In the end, they are did the right thing by passing the resolution, but don’t ever forget that they tried their best to avoid that, and Blacks in the SBC are already on edge after 4 out of 5 white evangelicals voted for Trump.

I would note that one thing the SBC had no trouble doing was throwing some gay people out of the meeting…who were not being at all disruptive nor protesting. You can read about that at this link.

  1. Southern Baptist and The Sin of Racism,” The Atlantic, Emma Green, April 7, 2015.
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