Published: Sun, June 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

'All Hell Breaks Loose' as Evangelical Convention Refuses to Condemn White Nationalism

"It was the white people who said, no we will not take this sitting down".

The resolution came in the wake of a presidential election that saw white supremacists and the alt-right movement galvanized under Donald Trump.

"Decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the gospel of Jesus Christ".

"Acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst". "The Gospel is true for all of them".

That 2011 total was the smallest messenger count at an annual meeting in more than six decades, when in the throes of World War II, 4,301 messengers gathered in Atlanta in 1944.

Russell Moore, head of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, argued during Wednesday's debate the movement is of the devil.

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The Southern Baptist Convention, based in Nashville, is the largest Protestant denomination in the country, although its membership has been shrinking, most recently dropping to 15.2 million members. "The white supremacy it opposes also has a number on it". "We can't undo the slavery aspect, but we can do all we can to engage every person", Levengood said.

McKissick was sorely disappointed and said criticism of his resolution was "unfair" and "inappropriate".

In voting Tuesday, the resolution on moral leadership urged church, government and business leaders to set a positive example and thanked public officials who "displayed consistent moral character and uncompromising commitment to biblical principles". "I think we're back to a good place after a 24-hour roller coaster ride".

The fact it took almost 24 hours to pass such a resolution clearly disturbed McKissic, however. "What's the reason they couldn't so readily say that white supremacy is wrong and the alt-right is evil?"

McKissic's proposal was part of an effort by the SBC, which is the largest Protestant group in the USA, to continue to detoxify its origins in the 19th century in defence of slaveholders.

Gaines said that there were "many wonderful things" happening within the denomination, including the planting of about 100 new churches every month.

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"Now suddenly you have this panic", said Alan Cross, a white Southern Baptist minister from Alabama who has written a book on racism.

Dwight McKissic, a prominent African-American preacher, drafted the resolution. Duke apologized "for the pain and confusion that we created" but said the committee was concerned about giving the appearance that they hated their enemies, which isn't Christ-like. "We share those feelings ..." But it rejected a proposal that would have condemned the "alt-right", a political movement that mixes racism, white nationalism and populism because the proposed resolution was too broad and inflammatory. "We must all issue an apology that we didn't act on this yesterday".

"Until minorities are included in the ownership of the convention - we're a long way from there - we still got real problems here", he said.

It took three votes before the resolution to denounce the Alt Right passed.

McKissic submitted his proposal to the SBC's Committee on Resolutions earlier this week, however, it failed to garner the two-thirds majority approval needed to pass. But, that was only after a revised version of the resolution was brought up for a vote.

The resolutions committee reconvened Tuesday evening, however, and asked the committee on order of business for time Wednesday to present a new alt-right resolution.

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The eventual decision, which was met with a standing ovation as about 5,000 delegates or "messengers" voted at their annual convention, exposed divisions within the SBC. Duke's 10-member resolutions committee has one black member; the SBC is 85 percent white and only 6 percent black, according to Pew. Like the nation's population as a whole, the American Church is becoming less white, a demographic shift that has led many denominations to ensure they put more emphasis on diversity in leadership and make worshippers of color feel welcome in their sanctuaries.

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