Amid uproar, Southern Baptists condemn 'alt-right' movement
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 15, 2017,
Jun 15, 2017, 21:45
Faced with continuing declines in membership and baptisms, Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines implored delegates to the denomination's yearly meeting to turn to God and put their emphasis on evangelism.
Russell Moore, the president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission whom McKissic has in the past defended from internal attacks over Moore's occasional criticism of Donald Trump, said: 'There were a lot of people who just weren't familiar with what the alt-right is.
Members of the Southern Baptist Convention voted Wednesday to condemn a white nationalist group during their annual convention, but only after fierce backlash following their decision a day earlier not to move forward with a resolution opposing the movement.
Cecil Cunigan, a messenger to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Phoenix, holds up his ballot to vote for a new resolution condemning the racism of the alt-right movement on June 14, 2017.
The denomination initially refused to take up a resolution repudiating the movement that emerged dramatically during the US presidential election and mixes racism, nationalism and populism.
"Brothers and sisters let me begin by letting you know that we regret and apologize for the pain and the confusion that we created for you and the watching world when we decided not to report out a resolution on Alt-Right racism", Duke said.
The resolution was adopted after a short but emotional discussion. "We can't undo the slavery aspect, but we can do all we can to engage every person", Levengood said.
Charles Hedman, a pastoral assistant at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, DC, and an attorney versed in the arcane rules of parliamentary procedure, took the lead from the floor. "If we're not careful that on some issues that we feel really strongly about we run the risk of sounding like we hate our enemies and as a result we end up violating another set of Biblical principles". "We must all issue an apology that we didn't act on this yesterday".
The original resolution was submitted by African-American pastor Dwight McKissic, pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, who said he was "very pleased" with the outcome of the vote, though disturbed that it took some 24 hours to pass the resolution.
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... this toxic menace, self-identified among some of its chief proponents as "White Nationalism" and the "Alt-Right", must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples.
Southern Baptists "must have the clarity and courage to apply the Gospel to the anti-Christ doctrines of blood and soil racism and white supremacy", Moore said, reiterating a theme he has often emphasized throughout his tenure as ERLC president.
The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination that represents American Christianity to so many people. Southern Baptist leaders said the proposal as originally written was overly broad and had inflammatory language. "We're not intimidated or afraid to speak out, even though it brings up dirty laundry from the past".
McKissic, an African American who a year ago successfully persuaded the convention to pass a resolution condemning public display of the Confederate flag, argued from the convention floor that by their support of slavery and segregation Southern Baptists in past generations "gave the theological license to the alt-right to do what they're doing right now". After all, McKissic knows how to write resolutions-The Convention passed his 2014 resolution condemning the Confederate battle flag.
Eight of the 10 resolution committee members are white.