Surprise: A resolution condemning white supremacy was rejected by the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian denomination founded to defend and justify slavery.
Leaders from the Southern Baptist Convention refused to approve “a resolution affirming the denomination’s opposition to white supremacy and the alt-right during their annual meeting in Phoenix this week,” according to a report filed by The Atlantic.
The report finds that the Southern Baptist Convention “declined to consider” a proposal submitted by a prominent black pastor in Texas, Dwight McKissic.
The Atlantic reports:
A few weeks before the meeting was slated to start, McKissic published his draft resolution on a popular Southern Baptist blog called SBC Voices. The language was strong and pointed.
It affirmed that “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.” It identified this “toxic menace” as white nationalism and the alt-right, and urged the denomination to oppose its “totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.” It claimed that the origin of white supremacy in Christian communities is a once-popular theory known as the “curse of Ham,” which taught that “God through Noah ordained descendants of Africa to be subservient to Anglos” and was used as justification for slavery and segregation. The resolution called on the denomination to denounce nationalism and “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.”
Pastor McKissic is right to be concerned. Racism and white supremacy is what the Southern Baptist Convention has always been about.
In fact, the Southern Baptist Convention was founded upon the notion that black slavery and white supremacy was integral to the Christian faith. Bruce Gourley, writing at Civil War Baptists, notes:
From the advocacy of white supremacy and black slavery a new Baptist denomination was born. Foreshadowing the Civil War, white Baptists in the South withdrew fellowship from their northern counterparts on May 10, 1845, forming the Southern Baptist Convention in order to better defend the South’s practice of and dependency upon black slavery.
To their credit, the Southern Baptist Convention officially renounced their open racism and hostility towards black people in a statement titled “Resolution On Racial Reconciliation” issued in 1995. (Better late than never).
However, the fact that they issued a statement 22 years ago officially renouncing racism and white supremacy does not mean that everyone got the memo.
Bottom line: The Southern Baptist Convention refused to approve what should have been a non-controversial rejection of racism and white supremacy. Their failure serves as proof that many members cling to their racist roots, despite the feeble attempts by some church leaders to clean up their corrupt and deplorable past (and present).