Racist Southern Baptist Convention May Elect Its First Black President
SBC may finally be over its racist past
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest protestant denomination in America, but it's biggest knock has been it's long history of racism. That could be changing soon.
The predominately white SBC may be on the verge of electing its first African-American president in its 167-year existence: New Orleans pastor Fred Luter.
The SBC was started over conflict of slavery in 1845, right before the Civil War. Baptists in the North refused to appoint missionaries who owned slaves. Baptists in the South disagreed, supporting slave ownership.
Up until 1995, the SBC failed to acknowledge their racism.
"The history of the Southern Baptist Convention is tied to the history of America," said Southern Seminary President Albert Mohler. "You just look at how America's been transformed on issues of race and race relations and the Southern Baptist Convention is very much a part of that. Now, that's to our shame in that we should have been leading where sometimes we were following."
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"Everyone knows we've made advances. Praise God. But we haven't arrived yet," says T. Vaughn Walker of First Gethsemane Baptist Church who admits he never thought he'd see the day a black man would be close to being elected, comparing it to President Barack Obama's 2008 victory. "African Americans know that. And I hope Fred's election would at least put that back on the burner as a major issue that we as a Bible-believing, conservative, evangelical group sees as one of the big sins."
Southern Baptist Paul Simmons adds, "My skepticism is strong. We've had nice resolutions since 1995. And African Americans still fare poorly among Southern Baptists as a whole. Some of our churches are nominally integrated."