Southern Baptist Pastor Proposes Resolution Condemning Alt-Right, White Supremacy
William Dwight McKissic, Sr. has proposed a timely resolution for the Southern Baptist Convention to consider during its annual meeting being held in June.
Dwight McKissic Calls for New Anti-Racism Resolution
William Dwight McKissic, Sr., a prominent leader in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), has proposed a timely resolution for the denomination to consider during its annual meeting being held this month.
“All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society, opposing all forms of racism, selfishness, and vice, and bringing government and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love,” McKissic wrote on Facebook, laying out the case for his proposed resolution.
McKissic published similar versions of his resolution, titled The Condemnation Of The “Alt-Right” Movement And The Roots Of White Supremacy, to his Facebook page and on his personal blog.
The Cornerstone Baptist Church pastor lists several points in support of the proposed resolution to condemn the Alt-Right movement and white supremacy. He concludes that members of the SBC, America’s largest Protestant denomination, should agree in adopting the resolution:
“… that the Southern Baptist Convention … denounces every form of ‘nationalism’ that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and …
“… that we 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; and …
“… that we earnestly pray, both for those who lead and advocate this movement and those who are thereby deceived, that they may see their error through the light of the Gospel, repent of their perverse nationalism, and come to know the peace and love of Christ through redeemed fellowship in the Kingdom of God, which is established from every nation, tribe, people and tongue.”
McKissic, a former Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustee and the school’s sole Black trustee, ran into trouble with the convention in 2006 when he spoke out against the denomination’s ban on the use of a “private prayer language”—otherwise known as speaking in tongues, or glossolalia. McKissic revealed that he, at times, used a private prayer language, which led to calls for his removal as a trustee. The Southern Baptist Convention’s mission board eventually dropped its ban on missionaries who speak in tongues years after McKissic brought the issue to the forefront.
The controversial pastor is now pushing for his denomination to go further with previous race-related resolutions it has made in its 172-year history. McKissic believes that if his proposed resolution is adopted and passed, it can help to further the SBC’s agenda of “reconciliation, healing, unity, cross-cultural respect, appreciation for freedom of expression, and diversity of viewpoints.”
McKissic said he plans to introduce the resolution at the annual SBC meeting in June, held this year in Phoenix, Arizona.
“If this resolution is passed, understood, believed and practiced—it could help to lead the SBC in experiencing what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called ‘the beloved community’—which is a greater sense of unity and bridging the gaps between the fault lines of all persons from all socioeconomic backgrounds. And from a biblical perspective, where there is evidence of unity, there is an increase in a greater spiritual harvest; and that’s our ultimate goal,” McKissic explained.
The Alt-Right movement, a hodgepodge of angry, White millennial males disaffected with the Republican party and paranoid about “White genocide,” was bathed in media attention when it was deduced that its members had a hand in President Donald Trump’s election. Some suggest the Alt-Right is more than just a Nazi-like “conservative subculture” and that its power extends directly to the White House. The “racist, antisemitic, and misogynistic movement” also has been cited, along with Trump’s divisive rhetoric, as emboldening racist White males to act out with violence against perceived religious and ethnic minorities.
The most recent attacks involve Jeremy Joseph Christian allegedly killing of two men and injuring another on a train in Portland, Oregon. The men were attacked after attempting to defend two young women, one a Muslim and both Black, from Christian’s harassment. Another recent case involves the fatal stabbing of Richard Collins III by a White man near the University of Maryland, with race considered as a possible motive in his murder. In both cases, the assailants were believed to have ties to Alt-Right or white supremacist groups.
Christians also have been contending with the fact that 81 percent of voters who identified as White and as Evangelical or born-again Christians voted for Donald Trump in November. Recent analysis by the Pew Research Center revealed that, months into office, a majority of White Evangelicals are still enamored with Trump. In fact, the president’s “support from Evangelicals is strongest among those who attend church regularly,” Pew reports. Other reports cite “racial attitudes” as a major motivating factor for some Trump voters.
The Southern Baptist Convention is reportedly 85 percent White and one of the least racially diverse Protestant denominations in the U.S, although it claims “Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Korean, Chinese, Native American, Russian, and numerous other ethnic groups” among its 15 million members. The Associated Press reported in 2016 that SBC memberships, baptisms and attendance have been on the decline.
The SBC was founded in 1845 specifically in support of the enslavement of people of African descent. The denomination has issued numerous resolutions over the years repenting of its racist roots and bigotry against Blacks and other minorities. Most notably, it issued “Resolution On Racial Reconciliation” in 1995 and “On Sensitivity And Unity Regarding The Confederate Battle Flag” in 2016 addressing the display of Confederate flags in churches.
The Southern Baptist Conventional, for the first time, elected an African-American president to head the religious group in 2012. Since then, Fred Luter of New Orleans, Louisiana, has remained the denomination’s token non-White president out of 61 presidents. Dr. Steve Gaines of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, currently holds the position.
Despite its expressed commitment as a body to reject racism and affirm the dignity and image of God in African Americans and in all people, some Southern Baptist Convention members’ recent brush with allegations of racism suggest there is much work to be done.
In April, a White dean and professors at one of the SBC’s main seminaries were accused of racism when a photo emerged of them dressed as rappers was circulated on social media. Their costumes were likened to blackface by Christians and members of the general public. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Paige Patterson issued a statement, calling “racism … a tragic sin.” He insisted school officials would “redouble our efforts to put an end to any form of racism on this campus” and return to their business of “getting the Gospel to every man and woman on the earth.”
At the height of the controversy, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary suggested via its official Twitter account that it was interested in organizing a “dialogue on growth for our community.” The invitation to lead the discussion was extended to Christian rapper Lecrae, who declined and directed the SBC school to “more qualified” individuals for its desired dialogue. Faithfully Magazine has not contacted seminary officials to confirm if they were still pursuing such a dialogue on the Christian campus.