I’m glad that the Southern Baptist Convention just deemed white supremacy as “of the devil,” but I’m heartbroken by the clear signs of wavering on this issue within the church.
I was baptized into the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) at 12-years-old, after asking Christ to be my Savior at 10. Previously my family had attended Protestant churches, but we found an SBC church in Florida and it quickly became our second home.
The church taught me how to truly have a relationship with my Lord and Savior, and to honor Him in all I do. I appreciated the fidelity to the Bible in its weekly teachings, and at 16 I fell madly in love with Jesus within the SBC. It developed in me a love for God’s word and a desire to be obedient to Him. At 19, I received my calling to be a writer while sitting in its pews. I got married at its altar at 21, and dedicated my first child on its stage. My roots within the SBC run deep.
But my husband and I chose to walk away from this denomination 15 years ago. When I told people I was Southern Baptist, the looks of hurt and disapproval on their faces made me take a look at how the SBC is seen outside our walls. And what I saw wasn’t good.
I saw people who hated gay people (as demonstrated by our vocal Disney boycott and loud protests against transgender bathroom policies). I saw people who hated everything “liberal,” like Planned Parenthood. And I’ve now learned of their deep roots supporting slavery. Slavery is a sin that leaves a deep stain on everything it touches.
All of the love for Christ I felt in that church was unseen by the general public because of the political stances and self-righteous judgement the SBC put on its face.
We looked NOTHING like Jesus.
Attempts at Racial Reconciliation
I have since seen a softening in its policies, which I want to believe comes from taking a second look at how Christ wants us to share the Gospel: through the relationships we make with the broken.
As a denomination, they have made great strides in publicly apologizing for their ties to slavery. But the recent controversy that materialized because some members and leaders spoke out against hate speech by the conservative presidential candidate (going against the historical connection between the SBC and the Republican Party) prove that politics are still more foundational to the church than the Gospel.
The true heart change that must take place appears incomplete.
When I followed the proceedings at the Convention this week, I saw this lack of self-reflection again. The majority white population ignored the suffering of their black brothers and sisters because they were too busy justifying their 2016 Presidential vote. It cemented their arrogance for me. They would rather protect the unholy alt-right than their own lamenting brethren.
White-supremacy is the belief that the white race is superior to all other races. It does not simply mean that you love your race. It means you elevate it above all others. To be against white-supremacy is not to be against your own race, but against the unbiblical uplifting of it. The alt-right movement has made their worship of whiteness very clear, so why did it take an uproar to get white Christians to act against it?
This is the question the members of the SBC need to be asking themselves.
Racial Reconciliation Fail
I’m heartened by the response the SBC gave. But I wish they could see the pain and heart break that those hours of indecision caused in their black members. Unfortunately, it was a pile of salt in a deep wound. It took less than 24 hours to repair the resolution issue, but it will take far longer to heal the emotional toll.
The entire reason this controversy happened is because the original resolution was rejected due to language that was deemed too strong. I can only imagine what strong language was used against Planned Parenthood and quickly passed without issue. Why was strong language against discrimination and the people behind that discrimination not passed as quickly? Because MANY of those church members were in collusion with the discriminators. They had to justify their political choices, and that’s the terrible truth.
This could be an eye-opening moment for the white members of the SBC to see how far they have fallen from the Gospel in order to support a political party. I know there are members within the SBC who understand this, and are speaking out, and they are being supported as a whole. That gives me hope.
I just pray my brothers and sisters of color can hold out long enough.