Southern Baptist Convention Votes To Condemn White Supremacy
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
After showing some reluctance, the nation's largest Protestant denomination is taking a stand against white nationalism after all. NPR's Nathan Rott reports on the Southern Baptist Convention.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: The controversy started when Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Texas, proposed a resolution to the Southern Baptist Convention condemning the alt-right and white supremacists. The text of his version was strong, too strong for the taste of the resolutions committee.
Earlier this week, it declined to forward the resolution for a vote, and the backlash was quick. Barrett Duke, the chairman of the resolutions committee, apologized to the roughly 5,000 Southern Baptists at their annual meeting in Phoenix before bringing an amended version of the proposal to a vote.
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BARRETT DUKE: 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.
TRILLIA NEWBELL: Was I hurt? Absolutely. Was I discouraged? Yes.
ROTT: Trillia Newbell is with the denomination's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. She's also African-American.
NEWBELL: I think it's important that we take every opportunity to denounce and set ourselves apart from anything that is racist or that alienates our brothers and sisters in Christ who are people of color.
ROTT: She says that's especially true given Baptist history of division over slavery. The amended version doled some of the original resolution's language. The earlier text targeted, quote, "the retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the so-called alt-right," unquote.
The edited version decried, quote, "white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil." Voters approved that resolution overwhelmingly. Newbell says she was happy to see it but adds the denomination has a long ways to go. Nathan Rott, NPR News.
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