Southern Baptists want nothing to do with 'alt-right white supremacy'

  • Southern Baptists want nothing to do with 'alt-right white supremacy'

Southern Baptists want nothing to do with 'alt-right white supremacy'

While several Southern Baptist leaders have served on Trump's evangelical advisory board, many younger Southern Baptists - including the denomination's Ethics and Religious Liberty president Russell Moore - vocally opposed his candidacy.

The Convention hesitated to vote on McKissic's original resolution, but after facing pressure from him and some other pastors, the Baptists rewrote some of the language and did formally condemn the alt-right.

On Tuesday afternoon, McKissic stood to introduce his resolution and ask why it was rejected.

Billy Levengood, a 32-year-old convention attendee from Oxford, Pennsylvania, said he will vote for the resolution, in part to help the denomination move beyond its origins.

The Southern Baptist Convention was formed in the 19th century in defense of slaveholders.

Richard Land, the former commission head, was instrumental in the passage of a 1995 resolution in which Southern Baptists lamented slavery and apologized to African-Americans for condoning racism.

The convention voted on resolutions at its gathering in Phoenix, the first since since the USA presidential election, which riled the denomination's leadership over whether Trump, a thrice-married casino and real estate mogul, was morally fit for office.

When the membership failed to move the vote forward - and Richard Spencer, one of the alt-right's most vocal proponents took to Twitter to comment on the decision - the leadership of the convention chose to continue to work through the night and reintroduce the resolution. "It was the white people who said, no we will not take this sitting down".

Tensions over the US presidential election were on display at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. "It split off from other denominations, because the leaders of the nascent movement wanted to be able to hold slaves", Green says.

"I saw people identifying themselves as Southern Baptist and members of the alt-right, so this is horrifying to me", McKissic said.

"We were very aware that, on this issue, feelings rightly run high regarding alt-right ideology", he said.

There have been dozens of resolutions on race - at least 32, based on a new book, "Removing the Stain of Racism From the Southern Baptist Convention".

But some African-American faith leaders across the country were quick to condemn the new resolution, noting that William McKissic, the black pastor who submitted the first resolution, was not consulted on the second. He urged the Southern Baptist Convention 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".

"We are saying that white supremacy and racist ideologies are risky because they oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ", said the Rev. Russell Moore, who leads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist public policy arm.

The SBC, its entities and its leaders actively speak out against racism, even as they struggle with how much of their cultural clout or political successes they owe to racially aggrieved whites who propelled Trump to power.

But there's just one problem: "Southern Baptists do not vote to deplore white nationalism" is neither fair nor accurate. In recent years the SBC has tried to distance itself from its racist to overcome its racist history.

"This resolution has a number on it", Moore said. He then continued to say that the SBC must remain strong in affirming that they believe the Alt-Right is racist and that they denounce it. "Just because someone has right-wing politics doesn't make them alt-right, white supremacists, so we need to be clear about what we're condemning".

When newspapers and magazines started spreading the story, somehow the convention reverse course and made a decision to hear another draft of the resolution, angering some white people on social media (it's hard to tell if they are Baptist or not, because I consider all Caucasians to be Presbyterian).