It took a strong push from a Black pastor from Texas, the support of a group of young pastors and the Internet’s outrage, but the Southern Baptist Convention finally denounced the alt-right Wednesday, after leaders had previously chosen not to vote on a resolution about race relations.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the country, with more than 15 million members and 46,500 churches, held its annual meeting in Phoenix this week.
It was there that Pastor William D. McKissic Sr., a pastor at the Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, asked the SBC’s Committee on Resolutions to allow the nearly 5000-person convention to vote on his resolution to denounce “every form of ‘nationalism’ that violates the biblical teachings with respect to race, justice, and ordered liberty; and be it further resolved, 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.”
His resolution failed to get approved by a two-thirds majority of the committee.
According to AZ Central, committee chairman Barrett Duke told McKissic Tuesday the committee had concluded his resolution had “inappropriate” language and subsequently opposed bringing it to the floor.
Duke said McKissic’s resolution was “too open-ended,” but the SBC wasn’t necessarily against the spirit of his proposal. The committee was concerned the language of McKissic’s resolution could implicate people with conservative views as members of the alt-right movement, he said.
After the session, McKissic said he thought Duke’s public criticism of his resolution was “unfair” and “inappropriate.” He said he was “horrified” that “the same man who attacked my resolution says ‘Let’s show compassion,’ but let’s not show compassion to the people that the alt-right is attacking.”
CNN reports that following a lot of backlash from McKissic and other pastors who took to social media to decry the decision, the committee allowed for a vote Wednesday on a newly worded resolution that would condemn the philosophy of the alt-right.
The new resolution, entitled On The Anti-Gospel Alt-Right White Supremacy, was voted on by the convention. A sea of hands went up throughout the convention hall and organizers said they saw only one person vote in opposition.
The convention brings together leaders and members to discuss events and trends occurring within the evangelical denomination’s churches nationwide.
Last year McKissic succeeded in having the SBC endorse a resolution condemning the Confederate flag as a symbol of racial injustice.