Southern Baptists condemn 'alt-right' movement

Tensions from US presidential race rile Southern Baptists - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) yesterday voted to condemn the white nationalist "alt-right" movement, a day after failure to put a similar motion to the vote caused consternation and condemnation.

But it rejected a proposal that would have condemned the "alt-right", a political movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism because the proposed resolution was too broad and inflammatory.

The resolution did not originally get approved by a committee while several others, including condemnations of gambling and Planned Parenthood, did. The committee considering resolutions has 10 members, one of whom is black.

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".

"The Southern Baptist Convention is a denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery".

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. All seemed to be going well at the committee meeting, until the panel rejected McKissic's resolution.

About 4,892 delegates, called messengers, are attending the meeting at the Phoenix Convention Center. A newly drafted proposal was drawn up with some softer language, though it still reflected the driving point from McKissic's original.

"We regret and apologize for the pain and the confusion that we created for you and a watching world when we decided not to report out a resolution on alt-right racism", Barrett Duke, the resolutions committee chairman, told the gathered crowd of about 5,000.

McKissic called for the body to instruct the committee to reconsider, which would require a two-thirds majority.

The move was criticized by Southern Baptist members and pastors on social media, including Trillia Newbell. Still, the rejection set off alarm bells among many pastors at the convention who couldn't believe their denomination might fail to stand against new manifestations of racism and chose not to act.

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.

"This past year, I have emphasized prayer everywhere I went", he said. Wicker says it appears the pastor was trying to make a strong statement.

Meanwhile, McKissic was incensed.

"Deeply, I apologize", Duke told McKissic.

The controversy comes at a time of a growing divide between evangelicals over politics.

Southern Baptist baptisms increased beyond 300,000 in 1948 and stayed above that level each year until 2015.

The Southern Baptist Convention of 15.2 million members is the nation's largest Protestant denomination, but its membership is on the decline. "Being unclear on the spirit of this is dumb, foolish and bad stewardship of time".

Charles Hedman of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in South Bend, Indiana, said far-right groups had been distributing racist material outside the convention hall Tuesday night.

The regular meeting is usually preceded by an evangelistic "Crossover" event and this year it included a Harvest America Crusade at a University of Phoenix stadium featuring Greg Laurie, an evangelist who announced Monday that his church has joined the Southern Baptist Convention but will continue its association with the Calvary Chapel church network.

Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he wanted to send the message that "we love everybody on this planet".

They wouldn't know the results for another three hours. That's compared with attendance that peaked at 45,000 in the 1980s, when the denomination was immersed in deep theological battles that ended in what many call a "conservative resurgence".

"I think we're heading toward a trainwreck,"Akin warned him".

But behind the scenes, Southern Baptist leaders were already working fast.

'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.

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