A minister who has been attending the Southern Baptist Convention his whole life says he cannot participate in the gathering anymore, due to it’s low moral standards.
Lawrence Ware penned an op-ed piece, which was recently published in The New York Times, detailing how he came to his decision to stop participating in the Southern Baptist Convention. Among those reasons — that he refuses to stand by an organization that is complicit in the rise of the racist nationalist alt-right movement, and an organization that supports Donald Trump’s policies.
‘My reasoning is simple: As a black scholar of race and a minister who is committed to social justice, I can no longer be a part of an organization that is complicit in the disturbing rise of the so-called alt-right, whose members support the abhorrent policies of Donald Trump and whose troubling racial history and current actions reveal a deep commitment to white supremacy.’
This wasn’t an easy decision to make for Ware, who talks about the first time someone called him a “n*****,” when he was just 13 and attending camp at a Southern Baptist Convention.
He also shares the catalyst to his decision, an incident that took place in June.
‘During the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, Dwight McKissic, a prominent black pastor in Arlington, Tex., introduced a resolution that denounced white supremacy and the “retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the so-called alt-right.” The resolution should have been immediately adopted. It was not.’
The fact that it wasn’t immediately adopted speaks volumes. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t adopted until a disruption took place and the resolution was carefully reworded.
Minister Lawrence Ware elaborated further on why the meeting, in general, pushed him toward his decision.
‘What’s more, while they hesitated to adopt a resolution that condemned white supremacy, they did not hesitate to throw out activists who tried to raise awareness about the ways in which the convention fails its L.G.B.T.Q. members.
‘For me, the damage had been done. I wasn’t at the meeting, but after I heard about what happened, it became clear to me that it was time to go. I don’t know why I stayed so long.’
Statistics from the Pew Research Center were shared by Ware, reporting that a estimated 78 percent of white evangelicals, a great many of whom happen to be Southern Baptists, approve of Donald Trump’s performance as president of the United States. But according to Ware, the Southern Baptist Convention is not new to being on the wrong side of history.
‘It was founded in 1845 because white Southern Baptists disagreed with the antislavery attitudes and abolitionist activities of Northern Baptists. During the civil rights movement, members of the convention almost unilaterally supported segregation.’
Ware feels that the Southern Baptist Convention is too far gone in its ways to come back from this, the organization is more political than it is spiritual, at it’s core, and that equality for all people shouldn’t be an “issue to be debated” but rather “a starting point of the conventions existence.”
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