The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) passed Resolution 10 on Wednesday afternoon, condemning the Alt-Right and all forms of racism as contrary to the Gospel and to Southern Baptist doctrine, after controversy arose over the convention’s failure to vote on the resolution Tuesday.
Barrett Duke, messenger from Emmanuel Baptist Church in Billings, Mont., and chairman of the resolutions committee, opened the session slated for consideration of Resolution 10 by clarifying the SBC’s position on racism and apologizing for the negative impressions caused by the delay in voting.
“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. “Please know it wasn’t because we don’t share your abhorrence of racism and especially the particularly vicious form of racism that has manifested itself in the Alt-Right movement. We do share your abhorrence.”
The final version of the resolution, revised after the first attempt to bring it to floor, held strong language denouncing the Alt-Right and white supremacy.
“RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona,
June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the
Gospel of Jesus Christ,” the resolution reads. “And be it further RESOLVED, That we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil.”
The resolution failed to move to the floor Tuesday in what some called a procedural confusion while others, like pastor and author of the resolution Dwight McKissic, claimed it was a divide among Southern Baptists over whether or not to condemn white nationalism, according to The Atlantic.
McKissic said Tuesday that the failure to vote on the resolution on the first day of the convention “showed a fault line. It showed that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t where you’re supposed to be on this.”
Duke explained in his opening statement Wednesday, however, that the issue that prevented the initial vote was one of clarity in messaging, rather than division over white supremacy.
“As I said yesterday our concern is that we as Southern Baptists speak with conviction but also with compassion,” Duke said. “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.”
The divide to which McKissic pointed in his comments Tuesday did not appear Wednesday, if it existed at all, in light of the remarks by those who spoke for the resolution and the overwhelming vote in favor of passing it.
Russell Moore, messenger of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tenn., ardently decried racism as Satanic and extolled the resolution.
“This resolution has a number on it,” Moore said. “It’s Resolution number 10. The white supremacy it opposes also has a number on it. It’s 666.” Moore went on to explain that the SBC’s message Wednesday is that racism is dangerous and oppressive to their “brothers and sisters” and harmful to their mission.
Charles Hedman of Capitol Hill Baptist Church also spoke in favor of the resolution and urged the committee “not to accept any resolutions, or amendments to the resolution rather, that would weaken this resolution in any way.”
“This clearly defines for us — it makes very clear that we are denouncing white extremism, the alt-right,” Hedman 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.
The committee passed a minor amendment to the language of the resolution during the session to replace the phrase “of the devil” with “a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society,” in order to add clarity to the resolution.
This resolution is the latest in a line of efforts from the SBC to make amends for the SBC’s early history. The congregation formed in 1845 as a break from other Baptist churches who held anti-slavery sentiment. The SBC first officially denounced slavery and racism in 1995 and asked forgiveness from the Black community for the past part the SBC had played in promoting racism.
Not a single member of the SBC spoke out against the resolution during the session.
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