On June 14th the Southern Baptists Convention held a vote on a resolution to condemn the alt-right of whom white nationalists identify with. This resolution was brought by Rev. Dwight McKissic, an African-American clergyman from Arlington, TX. His resolution was rejected by the conventions Resolutions Committee before the meeting started. Chaos soon ensued and media reports as well as social media condemned the rejection of the vote.
At their annual meeting, Southern Baptists agreed to a statement decrying “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845 when the split from other Baptists who opposed slavery set the largest Protestant evangelical denomination in America on the course of 400 years of racist, vitriolic, and deadly theology and doctrine. The SBC was founded on slavery and only condemned its racist past in 1995. It elected its first African-American convention president in 2012 Fred J. Luter Jr. The first African-American president of the conventions’ pastor’s conference started his first term this year.
A failure to unconditionally rebuke and outright condemn such vitriolic, deadly, and demonic rhetoric implies you still find it hard to follow the ways of Christ in loving those who are different from you. After much arm twisting by Dr. Russell Moore, President of the convention ethics board, Rev. Garrett Kell, the lead pastor of Del Ray Baptist Church in Virginia, who is white, and the Millennials together with Gen-X pastors the convention finally gave in and approved the resolution which was revised because of what the Resolutions Committee said was an ill written resolution and contained “inappropriate language”.
Many attendees weren’t fully aware of what exactly the alt-right was. However many pastors and theologians spoke out and demanded approval such as Albert Mohler and Russell Moore.
After the vote was completed and the resolution approved Mohler was noted as saying, “That was so close to being a disaster.” and “We ended up with a black eye here. We should never apologize for doing the right thing even if we end up a little bruised in doing it, even if we stumble over each other on the way to doing it. …Thanks be to God we got a chance to come back tomorrow and say what we want to say.”
The SBC is doing more to combat racism and prejudice in its universities and churches; however, it still has a long way to go.