The Southern Baptist Convention formally voted Wednesday to “denounce and repudiate” the alt-right movement at the church’s annual meeting — after the denomination’s leadership was criticized for initially rejecting the proposal.
According to NPR, Southern Baptist leaders had declined to consider the resolution the day before, saying they were concerned that the proposed language was too strong. The news was met with confusion and anger from members, prompting a new resolution to be voted on the last day of the convention.
The new resolution condemns “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil.”
The decision was met with a standing ovation from the 5,000-plus members that voted at their annual convention, but it was not a decision easily reached.
“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, 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.”
A black pastor from Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Tex., Dwight McKissic, had introduced the resolution calling on the denomination to make it clear it had no sympathy for the alt-right.
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“I saw people identifying themselves as Southern Baptist and members of the alt-right, so this is horrifying to me,” McKissic said. “I wanted the Southern Baptist Convention to make it very clear we have no relationship to them.”
But when the resolution on the alt-right failed to move forward because of objections to some of the wording, many younger members and evangelicals of color became upset. “I thought it would be a slam dunk, but I misread Southern Baptists apparently,” McKissic said.
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