SBC's alt-right vote is 'strongest statement yet' condemning racism, say African American pastors

African American pastors have welcomed the resolution passed by the Southern Baptist Convention condemning the racism associated with the so-called alt-right movement.

Philip Bethancourt/Baptist PressMessengers voted to approve a request by the Resolutions Committee to present a resolution on 'the anti-gospel alt-right white supremacy movement' on the last day of the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting.

The resolution brought by Rev Dwight McKissick to the denomination's annual meeting was passed after two previous attempts to bring it to the convention floor had controversially failed. It said: 'Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as "white nationalism" or "alt-right". The messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention...decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ.... We denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil.'

The president of the SBC's National African American Fellowship (NAAF) of 4,000 churches, Byron Day, told Baptist Press yesterday: 'Today is a great day for all Southern Baptists. The resolution to denounce racism and white supremacy is in my view the strongest statement to date by the Southern Baptist Convention. Although there have been prior resolutions apologizing for the sins of the past, it was important for the convention to condemn the sins of the present. At a time when our country continues to see racial prejudice and injustice, I believe the body of Christ must lead the way for peace and unity.'

He said the passing of the resolution 'affirms that Southern Baptists are going to continue to move forward on the issue of racial reconciliation and sufficiently denounce any form of racism, particularly those like the alt-right white supremacy movement'.

Day continued: 'The confusion in getting the resolution to a vote caused an uproar in the African American community. The decision by the committee not to recommend the resolution in its original form was perceived by many that Southern Baptists did not value this important issue, not just for African Americans but for all those who claim to be followers of Christ.

'Nevertheless, it was encouraging to see Southern Baptists demand a vote and pass overwhelmingly this strong statement against racism and those who advocate such ideologies.'

NAAF, he said, was ready to help churches and church bodies continue to eliminate racism among them.