Southern Baptist Convention Refuses to Condemn Alt-Right/ White Supremacy

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**Update**

After much public ridicule, the Southern Baptist Convention finally decided to pass the resolution condemning the Alt-Right.

Dwight McKissic, an African American preacher drafted the resolution condemning al-right/ white supremacy for the Southern Baptist Convention. The resolution he drafted describes white nationalism as a “toxic menace” to the country and called on the church to “reject the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the so-called ‘Alt-Right’ that seek to subvert our government, destabilize society, and infect our political system.”

However, the committee behind new resolutions decided not to move the proposal forward on Tuesday, the first day of the group’s 2017 meeting in Phoenix. After the resolutions committee decided not to move the resolution forward, McKissic made a motion to allow additional time for the resolution to be considered. The motion failed, which led to wide-ranging criticism of the organization, especially from black Baptists.

However, after much public uproar the convention has indicated that it might reconsider the resolution.

Resolution for the 2017 SBC Annual Meeting – Condemning the Alt-Right & White Nationalism

Submitted to the Resolutions Committee for the
SBC Annual Meeting, Phoenix, AZ, June 13-14, 2017
by William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that from one man God made every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation (Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, the prophet Isaiah foresaw the day when the Lord would judge between the nations and render decisions for many people (Isaiah 2:4); and

The full draft of the resolution is available here

The History of the Southern Baptist Convention

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a Christian denomination based in the United States. It is the world’s largest Baptist denomination and the largest Protestant body in the United States, with over 15 million members as of 2015.

The word Southern in Southern Baptist Convention stems from it having been founded and rooted in the Southern United States, following a split from northern Baptists over the issue of slavery; the immediate issue was whether slave owners could serve as missionaries. Members at a regional convention held in Augusta, Georgia, created the SBC in 1845. After the American Civil War, another split occurred when most freedmen set up independent congregations. Many set up their own Baptist churches, regional associations, and state and national conventions, such as the National Baptist Convention, which became the second-largest Baptist convention by the end of the 19th century. Others joined new African-American denominations, chiefly the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

The Issue of Slavery

Slavery in the United States became the most critical moral issue dividing Baptists in the 19th Century. Struggling to gain a foothold in the South, after the American Revolution, the next generation of Baptist preachers accommodated themselves to the leadership of southern society. Rather than challenging the elite on slavery and urging slave owners to free their slaves (as did the Quakers and Methodists), they began to interpret the Bible as supporting the practice of slavery and encouraged good paternalistic practices by slaveholders. They preached to slaves to accept their places and obey their masters.

After first attracting farmers and common planters, in the nineteenth century, the Baptists began to attract major planters among the elite because of their favorable theology on slavery. While the Baptists welcomed slaves and free blacks as members, whites controlled leadership of the churches, their preaching supported slavery, and blacks were usually segregated in seating.

Black congregations were sometimes the largest of their regions. For instance, by 1821 Gillfield Baptist in Petersburg, Virginia, had the largest congregation within the Portsmouth Association. At 441 members, it was more than twice as large as the next ranking church. Before the Nat Turner slave rebellion of 1831, Gillfield had a black preacher. Afterward, the state legislature insisted that black congregations be overseen by white men. Gillfield could not be led by a black preacher until after the American Civil War and emancipation. After Turner’s slave rebellion, whites worked to exert more control over black congregations and passed laws requiring white ministers to lead or be present at religious meetings.

In addition, from the early decades of the nineteenth century, many Baptist preachers in the South argued in favor of preserving the right of ministers to be slaveholders (which they had earlier prohibited), a class that included prominent Baptist Southerners and planters.

During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, most Southern Baptist pastors and most members of their congregations rejected racial integration and accepted white supremacy, further alienating African Americans.

It wasn’t until 1995, that the Southern Baptist Convention voted to adopt a resolution renouncing its racist roots and apologizing for its past defense of slavery, segregation, and white supremacy.

But even now the roots of white supremacy continue to run deep. So one would ask; why are black people still a part of the Southern Baptist Convention?

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