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Southern Baptists want nothing to do with 'alt-right white supremacy'

16 June 2017

The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist denomination in the world, passed a resolution officially condemning the "alt-right" political movement and white supremacy during its annual meeting Wednesday in Phoenix, but only after rejecting a more strongly-worded draft a day earlier.

At their annual meeting, Southern Baptists agreed to a statement decrying "every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

The presentation of both the "alt-right" and the "moral leadership" resolution at the SBC's annual meeting this week - and the decision past year to call on Christians to stop displaying the Confederate flag - is noteworthy given Trump received support from 81 percent of white evangelicals during the 2016 presidential election.

The decision made at #SBC17 to not denounce white supremacy is hurtful.

McKissic's resolution, however, had been rejected by the convention's Resolutions Committee before the meeting.

Ed Stetzer, a Southern Baptist speaker and executive director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism at Wheaton College in IL, said the committee in charge of resolutions should have revised the initial proposal and brought it to a vote.

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Discussion broke out Tuesday over the alt-right resolution after a committee that brings resolutions to a vote declined to do so, a move that drew attention from alt-right leader Richard Spencer. Over the last several days, they incorporated the annual meeting's hashtag, #SBC17, to insult Southern Baptists for even proposing a resolution against them.

The decision was met with a standing ovation as about 5,000 members of the denomination voted to affirm their opposition to the alt-right movement, which seeks a whites-only state.

"We are saying that white supremacy and racist ideologies are risky because they oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ", said the Rev. Russell Moore, who leads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist public policy arm.

McKissic described the turnaround as a "24-hour roller-coaster ride" and said he was encouraged to see multigenerational Southern Baptists step forward to condemn white supremacy.

Russell Moore, the president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission whom McKissic has in the past defended from internal attacks over Moore's occasional criticism of Donald Trump, said: 'There were a lot of people who just weren't familiar with what the alt-right is.

Barrett Duke, who leads the resolutions committee, balked at bringing McKissic's resolution to a vote on Tuesday on the basis that it contained broad language "potentially implicating" conservatives who do not support the "alt-right" movement.

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"I think he's trying to get them to reclaim their position", Wicker said.

"I was aware of many, many who said they were going to leave, especially younger ones from all over the nation".

Duke on Wednesday apologized personally to McKissic for the way the resolution was handled.

McKissic called for the body to instruct the committee to reconsider, which would require a two-thirds majority. "If we had received a resolution that we believe could speak to those problematic ideologies in a way that would enable us to only speak to those who are associated with the alt-right, we would have been happy to take that up".

In April, five white Southern Baptist seminary leaders posted a racially insensitive photo on Twitter with many of them dressed in hoodies and pointing as though they were holding guns.

The torturous path the resolution took to passage began Tuesday afternoon when the resolutions committee offered nine resolutions-all that gained unanimous or almost unanimous approval-but did not report out a resolution on the alt-right from McKissic.

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"As believers, we have to stand up against any group of people that advocate hatred", said Pastor Sneed.