The Southern Baptist Convention’s Racist Past: Is it still affecting the Black Church
By Maria in Christian News
As the nation celebrates Black History, it would be remiss to not mention the role the church has had in the development of the Black community.
There is no question as to whether or not African-Americans are God-fearing people. According to the Pew Forum 2008 United States Religious Landscape Survey, 88 percent of African-Americans believe in God with absolute certainty. There is evidence though that major shifting is transpiring within the Black church, in which more African-Americans are identifying themselves as Black Atheists and more black parishioners are integrating multi-ethnic churches.
Many Black Atheists believe Christianity’s racist past is still keeping blacks in bondage today. Last summer, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) made a historic development by electing Rev. Fred Luter as president of the organization. Rev. Luter is the first African American president of the SBC, which was created in 1845. The SBC had defended slavery, backed secession and the Confederacy, and then justified segregation for decades. It wasn’t until 1995 that the organization officially renounced its racist roots and apologized for its past.
SBC, with the help of a Black pastor named Gary Frost, composed a panel of Southern Baptist preachers, eight Black and eight white. Together they hammered out the remarkable 1995 Resolution on Racial Reconciliation. One of the resolves apologized “to all African Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism.” Weeks before the election of the convention’s first Black president, Dr. Richard Land, president of The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and the key person behind the resolution, had to apologize for racial insensitivity.
Do you believe there is still a racist undertone within Christianity?
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