Resolution on racial reconciliation and

the election of Barack Hussein Obama

 

Submitted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.

Cornerstone Baptist Church

Arlington, TX

Submitted to the Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention

June 24, 2009

Louisville, Kentucky

WHEREAS, the American colonists declared their independence from the British

crown on July 4, 1776, by recognizing as self-evident that “all men are created

equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,

[and] that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness;” and

 

WHEREAS, at the time of the nation’s founding and for nearly a century

thereafter, the American principle of liberty coexisted perfidiously with the evil

institution of chattel slavery whereby, in the words of President Abraham

Lincoln, men dared “to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from

the sweat of other men’s faces;” and

 

WHEREAS, President Lincoln – with undaunted and unparalleled courage – issued

the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, to declare that “all

persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State . . . shall be,

thenceforward, and forever free;” and

 

WHEREAS, from that time forward there grew efforts – both political and cultural

– to recognize the equality of all human persons and vouchsafe the civil rights of

all American citizens regardless of race; and

 

WHEREAS, among these advances in racial equality and civil rights are: The

adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery in the United States

(1865); the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee due process and

equal protection under the law to all U.S. citizens (1868); the Fifteenth

Amendment to ensure the right to vote for all U.S. citizens (1870); President

Truman’s executive order to desegregate the United States armed services

(1948); the landmark decisions of the United States Supreme Court in Brown v.

Board of Education to end racial segregation in public schools (1954) and Bailey

v. Patterson to declare segregation in transportation facilities as unconstitutional

(1962); the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in voting,

federal-assistance programs and public accommodations, facilities and education;

the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited discriminatory voting practices

nationwide; and the landmark Loving v. Virginia decision of the Unites States

Supreme Court to strike down racially discriminatory marriage laws; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1868, John Willis Menard (R-LA) was the first African American to

take the oath of office to serve in the United States House of Representatives, and

has been followed by 115 other African Americans in the nation’s history;

 

WHEREAS, in 1870, Hiram Revels (R-MS) was the first African American to take

the oath of office to serve in the United States Senate, and has been followed by

only five other African Americans in the nation’s history; and

 

WHEREAS, in 1967, Justice Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African

American to serve on the United States Supreme Court, and has been followed by

only one other African American in the nation’s history; and

 

WHEREAS, since 1937 the Southern Baptist Convention has formally rejected

every vestige of racial discrimination that remained from its founding in 1845 by

the adoption of resolutions denouncing racial prejudice, lynching, church

desecrations, segregation and the Ku Klux Klan; and

 

WHEREAS, on its 150th anniversary, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted “A

Resolution on Racial Reconciliation” that recognized the failures of some

Southern Baptists to affirm the dignity, worth, and equal rights of African

Americans, apologized and sought forgiveness for these injustices and purposed

to “eradicate in all its forms;” and

 

WHEREAS, during our 1996 annual meeting in New Orleans, Southern Baptists

demonstrated a renewed commitment to racial equality and justice by electing

Rev. Fred Luter as the first African American to serve as the convention’s second

vice president, and in 2001 selected him to be the first African American to

deliver the annual convention sermon; and

 

WHEREAS, on November 4, 2008, Barack Hussein Obama was elected as the first

African American to serve as the President of the United States of America; and

 

WHEREAS, this tremendous moment in our nation’s history provides a new

opportunity for people of faith to facilitate racial reconciliation and heal the

wounds and scars of the past; and

 

WHEREAS, President Barack Hussein Obama – while pursuing numerous social,

political and economic policies that are in fundamental opposition to the values

for which our convention and our churches have stood – has yet demonstrated

commendable efforts to include the perspective of Southern Baptists by

appointing our former convention president, Dr. Frank Page of South Carolina, to

advise his administration concerning issues of faith and public policy; and

 

WHEREAS, it is the sacred responsibility of God’s people to pray for their leaders

and render them appropriate honor and due respect in accord with the principles

of Holy Scripture; now

 

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED, that the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in

Louisville, KY, on June 24, 2009, celebrates the historic nature of the election of

President Barack Hussein Obama as a significant contribution to the ongoing

cause of racial reconciliation in the United States; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we earnestly pray that President Barrack

Hussein Obama will use the constitutional authority assigned to his office to

promote liberty and justice for all people, including the unborn; and

 

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we will join hands with President Obama and his

administration to advance causes of racial justice insofar as those efforts are

consistent with biblical principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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