On Tuesday, at the annual Southern Baptist Convention, the Southern Baptists voted to repudiate the display of the Confederate Flag. Resolution 7: On Sensitivity and Unity Regarding the Confederate Battle Flag states, “we call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters.”
If you ignore the fact that it took 151 years for the Southern Baptists to figure out that Confederate symbols are not just national symbols, but also symbols of racist ideology, this seems, on the surface, to be a decent gesture and a move in the right direction. However, while the Southern Baptists may be working to reconcile their racist past, they have by no means abandoned their bigoted and archaic worldview.
Resolution 7 also calls for “fellow Christians to exercise sensitivity so that nothing brings division or hinders the unity of the Body of Christ to be a bold witness to the transforming power of Jesus.” This is pretty ironic given that Southern Baptists remain vehemently opposed to homosexuality and same-sex marriage, writing on their website that “homosexuality is not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’” Of course homosexuality is not an “alternative” lifestyle – I’m not sure you could even describe it as a “lifestyle.” Lifestyle implies choice and, as any nonignorant person will tell you, homosexuality is most definitely not a choice. The view that it is a choice only serves to promote complete ignorance of human sexuality and reinforce misunderstandings that lead to division and hatred.
How exactly these beliefs and practices constitute “exercising sensitivity” to prevent division is beyond me. Perhaps sensitivity only extends to race. Of course, the Southern Baptists would counter by saying that they hate the sin, but love the sinner – and I would counter by saying that’s nothing more than patronizing bullshit.
In my opinion, the Southern Baptist Convention cares very little about people’s rights and cares very much about their own image. Taken in light of their continued views on homosexuality and LGBTQ rights, the repudiation of the Confederate flag is nothing more than an unintentionally ironic, feel-good, too little, too late public relations stunt. However, I do look forward to the Southern Baptist Convention of 2165, when they decide homosexuality isn’t that bad after all.