Are you one of those looking for the “equitable and just society?” Are you looking for love and equity in all the wrong places?
Case in point, at a recent Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), officials initially declined to consider a statement of opposition to the alt-right. But the annual meeting in Phoenix turned chaotic when confronted with the resolution that condemned white supremacy and the alt-right. Conference leaders tried to dodge the bullet when they initially declined to consider the proposal submitted by black pastor William Dwight McKissic Sr., and only changed course after a significant backlash. The body eventually passed a revised statement against the alt-right, but drama over the resolution revealed deep tension lines within the denomination explicitly founded to support slavery.
Little wonder why the mass of blacks put symbols ahead of substance when pastors such as McKissic and politicians seem more focused on getting social acceptance from whites than pursuing matters that helps blacks. It’s like asking Colonel Sanders to rebuke chicken. The perpetrator of this chicanery is McKissic, though it’s hard to figure why the reverend seeks to force the SBC to self-immolate.
What’s McKissic’s goal in this? Racism has persisted in the U.S. since the colonial era. Legally or socially sanctioned privileges and rights were given white Americans but denied blacks. Throughout American history, Europeans (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) were granted exclusive privileges in matters of education, immigration, voting rights, citizenship, land acquisition and criminal procedure. Racial politics remains a major phenomenon, and racism continues in socioeconomic inequality. Racial stratification continues in employment, housing, education, lending, and government.
Instead of putting the SBC on notice toward an apology for slavery and reparations’ payments for debts from centuries of white domination and oppression, McKissic is asking the SBC to commit self-immolation and contradict its reason for being. Why does McKissic think the type of people who founded the SBC isn’t white nationalists? Their parents were. Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a U.S.-based Christian denomination and America’s largest Protestant body, with more than 15 million members.
Why did McKissic join up with these guys in the first place? The word Southern in Southern Baptist Convention stems from the organization’s foundation and roots in the South, following a split in the national group from northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. The issue was whether Southern slave owners could serve as missionaries. At a convention held in Augusta, Georgia, in 1845, members created the SBC in 1845. After the American Civil War, another split occurred when freedmen set up independent black congregations. Many set up their own Baptist churches, regional associations, and state and national conventions, such as the National Baptist Convention. Others joined new African-American denominations, chiefly the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
Since the 1940s, the SBC has shifted some of its regional and historical credentials. Since the late 20th century, the SBC has sought new members among minority groups. Still heavily concentrated in the South, the SBC has member churches across the U.S. and 41 affiliated state conventions. At its annual convention in 2012, the SBC elected as Fred Luter Jr., pastor of the Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, the first African-American president. He was re-elected to a second term in 2013.
“Alt-Right” is a euphemism for the “modern white nationalist movement.” It’s time blacks stop playing, or being played “victims” of racism and compel benefactors from slavery to “pay up.”
Instead of demanding “proper compensation” from the ravages of slavery, McKissic has the mind state of association equates equity that has been prevalent and consistent in the American psyche as long as blacks and whites have shared these shores. After the SBC faithful sat through a series of long meetings, McKissic pushed the group too far. Chaos broke out over McKissic’s resolution calling the congregation to denounce nationalism and “reject retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries.”
Let’s allow the SBC members pride of their traditions and heritage, but on the other hand, let’s make sure benefactors of the American infrastructure and systems slavery produced pay us just reparations for their fathers’ sins.
William Reed is publisher of “Who’s Who in Black Corporate America” and available for projects via Busxchng@his.com.