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April 7, 2010
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
The Southern Baptist Convention needs to call a solemn assembly and repent for passive and intentional acts of racism in SBC life since the ‘95 apology statement.
I coincidently happened to see Frank Page at the Louisville Airport in June ’09 at the close of the Annual SBC meeting. This gave me an opportunity to respectfully point out to him that not one Black person was appointed to the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force at the Louisville Convention. Dr. Page assured me that this was an unintentional oversight by President Johnny Hunt. Frank Page contacted Dr. Hunt and he quickly appointed an African American Pastor from Georgia to the GCRTF. I applaud Johnny Hunt for immediately rectifying this situation.
Is Johnny Hunt racist? Absolutely not. His unintentional oversight is just symptomatic of the problem. Systemic, institutional and individual racism in SBC life is usually passive, not intentional. Yet, it exists. Therefore, it must be biblically addressed by our leaders if we are serious about the Great Commission.
Dr. Danny Akin prophetically, positively, and profoundly addressed the race issue in his signature message in chapel at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, concerning the Great Commission Resurgence. Rarely, do we hear of this type of statesmanship and leadership on this issue from anyone in SBC life. Much respect to you, Dr. Akin. I wish the GCR report to the annual meeting in Orlando would include Dr. Akin’s initial remarks on this subject.
For years I’ve asked many of my Black Baptists and evangelical Pastor friends, who would not question one word of the B, F, and M, 2000, why won’t you join the SBC? Their response would be, because it is “southern and racial”. Note: not racist, but “racial”- meaning, the DNA of the SBC is White, and geographically and culturally southern oriented. Therefore, it cannot comfortably or willingly accommodate or assimilate as equals, African American Baptists input, involvement and influence. For years I’ve disagreed with my friends’ analysis. But I’ve since reached the conclusion, they are right.
Ten years after the ’95 racial reconciliation and apology statement, there has not been one African American appointed to a position as the Chief Executive Officer of a SBC entity. There are three entity executive positions currently vacant. I pray that a qualified African American will be appointed to one of them.
If you think I’m unnecessarily fixated on race, tell me how you would you feel if you were a part of a convention that claimed to be inclusive of all people groups, yet without exception, all executive level cabinet positions are occupied by males of only one people group? Would you think that’s fair? You watch the full GCR report and none of the four presenters ethnically resemble any of the people groups that the report is challenging us to reach except for Anglo males. Do you agree with that approach?
One of the objections that I’ve often heard from minorities concerning SBC missions efforts is that the approach is paternalistic rather than a partnership approach. Viewing it from the perspective of a minority, that’s how the GCR report came across, paternalistic. Nevertheless, I plan to vote for it because I have huge respect for the GCRTF members that I’m acquainted with.
Is the GCR report racist because none of the presenters are persons of color? No! It does mean that persons of color were once again an oversight, which again is symptomatic of the problem. I trust that when the GCRTF report is made in Orlando, representatives from other ethnic groups will share in the reporting.
In February, I attended the Southern Baptists of Texas Evangelism Conference where the SBC Evangelist Jimmy Davis, preached a message comparing President Obama to the wicked King Manasseh. Davis clearly communicated that President Obama was not a Christian, being fully aware that the President claims to be a Christian. He challenged the conference to pray for the President’s salvation. As Davis sees it, if the President doesn’t repent of certain social policy positions and his spiritual condition, then he encouraged the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention to “pray that God providentially remove President Obama from office”.
On the heels of Davis’ message I called him to make sure I understood his message correctly. Not only did he make it clear that I understood his message correctly, he further added his belief that President Obama is the “most wicked President in the history of the United States”. Evangelist Davis, at the conclusion of his message, asked the audience to join him on his knees and they did. He then prayed for the President’s salvation and that he be “providentially” removed from office if he doesn’t repent.
The picture of hundreds of Anglo Southern Baptists on their knees praying that God “providentially” remove the first African American President of the United States from office is not a pretty picture to African American Southern Baptists or biblio-centric fair minded Americans of any color. It’s a horrible witness to the world and a poor testimony of Southern Baptists. The SBTC officials are very much aware of this message and have remained publicly silent. Does silence equal consent? If Evangelist Davis’ remarks and prayer that God “providentially” remove President Obama is not repudiated by SBC and SBTC officials, Wiley Drake is owed and apology (2010 Empower Evangelism Conference, Southern Baptists of Texas , February 15-17, 2010). I’m publicly asking Dr. Jim Richards and Johnny Hunt to publicly disavow and repudiate the portion of Evangelist Davis’ message that dealt with President Obama.
Read this Baptist Deacon’s comment about President Obama posted on his blog:
|“In a year, two at the most, the government will collapse on itself with no outside assistance due to a shortage of taxpayers. When that happens, China will sue for possession to recoup its losses in the World Court and win. Since no one trusts a liar, the Chinese will not permit Barack, the Tragic Negro, or congress to remain in power. Few will be willing to shed their blood to protect and defend Obama’s America”. [Bill Fortner, Tuesday, March 30, 2010, Picayune Poltroons]
This Anglo Baptist deacon has a right to his political opinions. However, to refer to the President of the United States as, “the Tragic Negro”, is clearly racist and beyond the pale. Our convention will never experience genuine racial reconciliation and ethnic church growth as long as Baptists harbor and air views like Evangelist Davis and Deacon Bill Fortner.
A Black Baptist Arkansas Pastor who disassociated himself from the SBC in recent years visited our church this past March. I asked him why he was no longer Southern Baptist. He reported to me that his congregation went on a missions trip to Mexico with an Anglo Southern Baptist congregation. During this trip his people heard one of the Anglo mission team members use racial slurs toward their pastor. When he confronted the Anglo who allegedly made the slurs, he didn’t deny it nor did he apologize. Consequently, he left the convention.
Ergun Caner made condescending and stereotypical remarks concerning the Black Church in a sermon preached at First Baptist of Jacksonville, FL. Caner’s observation certainly would not be true of the Black church that I pastor and the majority of Black churches that I’m aware of. Yet, his remarks were met with approving laughter. I don’t believe that he would have made those same remarks in a Black church. Caner essentially said Black churches do not put the preacher up to preach until about 1:00 p.m. That’s not true. Black churches, according to Caner, take up “twelve offerings”. That’s untrue. Caner further stated:
|“… you go to a Black church gentlemen, you are not going to have on a blue suit, you are going to have blue shoes to match, and your handkerchief is going to match your tie, and your whole outfit is going to match your car. It’s BEAUTIFUL. And ladies: when we talk about black church, we’re talkin’ about hats. And I’m not just talkin’ Easter hats as some of you may wear, I’m talkin’ ’bout satellite dish hats. [laughter]. Big enough to receive a signal, with a curtain rod goin’ down the front that you can just pull the curtain across”. [Ergun Caner, The Warrior Church, June 14, 2009]
By the grace of God, I’ve been privileged to preach over the past thirty six years in twenty seven states, at least seventy five cities, and in over one hundred and eighty pulpits or public venues across the length and breadth of America. The vast majority of those preaching assignments were in Black Baptist pulpits. My point is, Ergun Caner may have had a better opportunity to judge the social mores of the Black church more so than I, but it’s doubtful. I can truly say that what Ergun Caner stated is simply, generally not true. As a matter of fact, I’ve never witnessed what he described. If I stated that White preachers preached in Hawaiian shirts and encouraged married couples in their churches to have sex seven straight days, and wore toupees; that may be true in isolated cases but it would be unfair, inaccurate, and racially stereotypical, without foundation, for to me make such a claim.
This is what Caner has done and he owes FBC Jacksonville an apology. I honestly don’t believe Caner meant any harm. I think that he was simply speaking off the cuff and exaggerated grossly. Most public speakers, including myself, have made similar mistakes. However, his remarks were damaging to the reputation of the Black church in the minds and hearts of his hearers. One would expect better than this from a Seminary President. This caricature must be corrected. Jim Richards, Richard Land, Wade Burleson, Ronnie Floyd, and Tim Rogers have all preached in my pulpit. They know Caner’s description of the Black church is absolutely false. It is certainly not the norm. I know Mac Brunson personally. I have great respect for him. Mac owes it to his people to set the record straight.
An Anglo SBC church in Louisiana refused to let Anglo missionaries whom had adopted children of color speak in their church because of the color of their children. This church should be investigated and disciplined by the SBC just as the churches that reportedly are affirming and welcoming of homosexuals. Although the SBC claims thousands of African American members, the highest ranking Black at the SBC Executive headquarters is the head custodian. This is certainly reminiscent of the Antebellum South.
All of the above incidents took place since 1995. The SBC needs to hold a Great Repentance Resurgence that precedes a Great Commission Resurgence, so that we can be cleansed of unbiblical and ungodly attitudes toward women and race. Unfortunately, my pastor friends who refuse to join the SBC are right. The SBC is “southern and racial” and this must change if God is to breathe on our Great Commission Resurgence.
I personally like changing the name of the SBC to THE INTERNATIONAL BAPTIST CONVENTION. A new name gives us an opportunity for a new start in a new millennium. It’s an idea we truly ought to consider.
October 15, 2009
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
WHAT JEREMIAH WRIGHT AND RUSH LIMBAUGH QUOTES
REVEAL TO AMERICA REGARDING RACE
Jeremiah Wright and Rush Limbaugh quotes regarding race were used in efforts to thwart a presidential campaign and the purchase of an NFL team. Responses to the Wright and Limbaugh quotes reveal the fact that Blacks and Whites are miles apart with regard to racial understanding. Blacks and Whites often live in the same neighborhoods, work on the same jobs, sometimes go to the same churches and schools, and their children play on the same teams- we really don’t know, understand or fully appreciate each other beyond a surface level. Therefore, we need to get together in an organized and orchestrated fashion and seriously talk about the pink elephant in the room-race.
When Blacks have a discussion about race, usually there are no Whites present, so an important perspective is missing and the reverse is also true. Consequently, when the discussion spills over to our television sets and newspapers surrounding some major incident such as the recent presidential campaign and Limbaugh’s attempted NFL purchase bid, we discover that Blacks and Whites are often miles apart when it comes to agreeing on the legitimacy of racist statements or incidents. We vicariously talk to each other through quotes and sound bites, but not with each other in honest and sincere dialogue.
The recent highly publicized Limbaugh quotes surrounding his failed NFL purchase bid and the Wright quotes surrounding Obama’s presidential campaign, demonstrate that racial quotes can be damaging, divisive and detrimental to effective communication. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity used Rev. Wright’s words toward an effort to convince the American public that they should not elect Barack Obama as president. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson used Limbaugh’s words to convince the NFL that Limbaugh should not be allowed to be an owner of an NFL team. What do the Wright and Limbaugh incidents have in common?
Wright and Limbaugh are not viewed as racist, extremist or polarizing figures in their communities and among their constituencies, but obviously, they are viewed in this manner among outsiders. Limbaugh and Wright supporters believe that their quotes were exploited, taken out of context, unfairly politicized, or if they were allowed to explain themselves to an objective audience their comments would not be viewed as offensive.
In Limbaugh’s and Wright’s worlds their remarks would be rationale, reasonable, justifiable, factual and non-racist. Anybody who would think otherwise would simply be mistaken. The problem is Limbaugh and Wright, live, function and communicate in different worlds that are miles apart. Therefore, if America is to avoid a race war, Wright and Limbaugh’s two worlds must come together and dialogue.
Perhaps, out of their shared pain, Limbaugh and Wright can host or spawn a series of dialogues across the country under the banner, RACIAL REASONING AND HEALING IN THE AGE OF OBAMA. Both men know what it’s like to be fairly or unfairly quoted or misquoted, depending upon one’s politics, perspectives or process reasoning. Obviously, an open, honest conversation about race is perhaps the most difficult conversation to hold, but it is one that America desperately needs to have. Black people and White people are still to distant from one another. We need to come together and dialogue. “Come, let us reason, together.”
October 6, 2009
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
Respect the Office of the President
Even if you don’t respect the man or the woman in the office.
Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
A request to President Johnny Hunt and Dr. Richard Land of the SBC to ask Laura Ingraham for an apology or to boycott her sponsors if she refuses.
While listening to talk radio on Monday evening, September 28, 2009, I heard conservative commentator, Laura Ingraham refer to President Barrack Obama as “YOU FOOL”. Shock, disbelief and utter amazement are the only words I know to describe my emotions upon hearing those words. Later, I asked one of my research assistants to listen to the archived recording of Ingraham’s show to determine if I had heard correctly, and I did. Referring to President Obama’s visit to the Olympic committee, Ingraham stated: “He doesn’t have time to speak to his General in Afghanistan, but he has time to fly to Copenhagen and push for Chicago. This is an exercise in egotism, pure egotism period…..The news over the weekend is that Colin Powell is being consulted as President Obama rethinks his Afghanistan strategy…By the way the president is getting personal on his outreach on this issue. Why doesn’t he just call all the Generals? Why doesn’t he just talk to his own General? [General McChrystal in Afghanistan] He is going to old generals like Colin Powel. Talk to the one who is actually in Afghanistan you fool.”
Referring to the President of the United States as “You fool” brings to memory the Joe Wilson bellicose statement, “You lie”. At the very least these actions violate the biblical and conservative principle of respect for authority, set a poor example for the people who listen to them -including children- and for some, raises the question of racism.
President Barack Obama, and his wife Michelle, have been called by Tammy Bruce, a guest host on Laura Ingraham’s show as, “trash in the White House”. Rusty Depass, a South Carolina Republican activist referred to an escaped gorilla as, “just one of Michelle’s ancestors”.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! It is time for the church of the living God to take a stand. In as much as Laura Ingraham called the president a fool publicly, I’m going to ask her to apologize to him and all her listeners who were offended publicly. Morever, I’m asking that the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Johnny Hunt and the president of the Christian Life Commission, Dr. Richard Land, join me in repudiating Ingraham’s and Joe Wilson’s remarks on the grounds of being disrespectful to the office of the President of the United States.
I am not accusing Ingraham or Wilson of being a racist-but clearly disrespectful. However, we must acknowledge that many Americans of all colors and political persuasions believe that these actions have a racist underpinning. Therefore, I am asking the Southern Baptist convention to address this issue.
As a fellow Southern Baptist, I need your help. I alone cannot influence the culture to refrain from disrespecting the President. But, if my Baptist brethren would sound the alarm it would go a long way toward furthering the biblical command to “honor the king” (I Peter 2:17). This is another opportunity to put teeth in the ’95 apology.
The Southern Baptist Convention sat on the sidelines during the civil rights movement and watched hoses sprayed on Black people, dogs barking and biting Black people buoyed on by Bull Connors bullhorn, and bombs blowing up Black churches, while Black girls sat in Sunday school, reading the Bible. Please, don’t sit by and allow this president to suffer these kind of indignities and disrespect while the church sits idly by. Please do not repeat the sins of your fathers. Step forward and boldly denounce and condemn this disrespectful, unbiblical and possibly racially insensitive rhetoric for the kingdom of heaven sake and the Great Commission sake.
Lest I be misunderstood, my appeal is not that that persons restrain from speaking the truth as they see it, but to not dishonor and disrespect the office of the President as they critique him.
Finally, if Laura Ingraham refuses to apologize for calling the president a “fool” I’m requesting that the SBC call for a boycott of her sponsors, just as the SBC called for called for a boycott of Disney World for supporting behavior that violates scripture.
As the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools”.
Conservative columnist, Mark Davis, who often host the Rush Limbaugh show acknowledges that, “among Obama’s detractors are some folks who just don’t like black people.” Therefore, the convention needs to raise a prophetic voice and speak to the fringe element of the Obama opposition that is rooted in race. Surely “ you lie”, “you fool” and “gorilla” ought to move you to action as did the gay friendly polices at Disney World and rightfully so.
September 17, 2009
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
WILLIAM DWIGHT MCKISSIC, SR.
September 17, 2009
My response to Mark Davis Dallas Morning News September 16, 2009 Opinion Editorial Concerning the Arlington ISD’s President Obama/President Bush Cancelled Education Speeches. (“A Missed Teachable Moment”)
While reading the Star-Telegram editorial on Friday, September 4, regarding the Arlington schools denying the students an opportunity to hear President Obama’s proposed education speech scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2009, I found myself in full agreement with the entire editorial entitled, “Teaching Students to Fear Obama’s Speech Is the Wrong lesson.” The closing statement of this op-ed speech resonated deeply with me and drove me to deploy my spirit and resources into action to create the opportunity for the students to hear President Obama’s speech: “For the first U.S. president of African-American heritage to tell students-especially those who get a different message from other sources- that they should take responsibility for their futures, well that’s not leftist or socialist or propagandistic. It’s a message worth listening to and applauding.”
My wife, Vera McKissic, who is a former AISD teacher and Minister of Education at our church, later informed me that when she taught in the Arlington classroom they were allowed to show students presidential speeches delivered on television by President Ronald Reagan and President George H. W. Bush. Upon learning this, I asked myself, why wouldn’t the ASID allow President Obama to speak?
After consulting with staff members at my church and being assured that we were technologically capable of presenting President Obama’s speech, I decided Friday morning, September 4, that we would show the President’s speech at our church on Tuesday, September 8, so that any student who wanted to hear it could experience it live with the vast majority of American students.
I left a message on Superintendent Jerry McCullough’s home phone on Friday evening, September 4, after 6:00 p.m., requesting that he return my call. Mr. McCullough promptly returned my call after arriving home from a local high school football game. We held a brief conversation, mutually cordial and respectful. I requested that he give the students an excused absence if they chose to attend the Obama speech the following Tuesday. Mr. McCullough without hesitation said, “Yes,” provided the parents contact the school and make the request. I thanked Superintendent McCullough and hung up the phone with a deep sense of relief, appreciation and respect for him, because I internally questioned whether or not he would oblige my request.
In my conversation with Mr. McCullough, I never introduced the thought of him reversing his public position of not showing the Obama speech, realizing at that late hour, even if he were so inclined to change his mind, it would have been logistically, technologically and virtually impossible for him to reverse his course. Now in hindsight I regret not asking him to consider showing the speech within the school district, which was an option I had pondered sharing with him.
We released a press statement over the September 5, weekend inviting students to attend the speech the following Tuesday and announced it in our church, Sunday morning September 6, 2009. Approximately one hundred fifty students showed up and fifty parents. We were surprised and pleased with the 10-12 media outlets present to cover the story. The students and parents were thoroughly engaged and inspired by the Obama speech. I sensed it had a strong impact on the students and the parents. Our church provided 130 free box lunches to the students and some parents.
Because I was scheduled to be out of town, and she is more qualified than I to address education issues, I asked my wife to host the gathering and handle any media inquires. Initially I was scheduled to be in Memphis, Tenn. attending the National Baptist Convention on Tuesday, September 8.
However, I delayed my trip to later that evening, so that I could be here to affirm and encourage the students who wanted to hear the Obama speech. Mrs. McKissic still hosted and presided over the Tuesday gathering and handled the vast majority of the media requests. I refused all interviews asked of me except two.
Monday night, September 7, I learned that the AISD had planned to bus the 5th grade students to the Cowboy Stadium to hear President Bush on September 21, 2009. I must admit that I was completely baffled and disappointed when I learned this news. I was not disappointed because the students were going to hear President Bush- I proudly voted for George Bush twice, therefore I had no problem with them hearing him. However, this added to my bewilderment over why the students would not be permitted to view the Obama speech. My trepidation was that if I granted interviews to the media I would express too vigorously my disappointment regarding the Obama speech, risking injury to the cause of Christ and the ministry of our church. However, when Chris Hawes a news reporter with Channel 8 in Dallas and a KCBI radio reporter asked for interviews, my positive history with these two media outlets, gave way to my concerns and I granted them interviews. In these interviews, I clearly expressed my disappointment that the AISD saw the Bush speech as a great opportunity while denying the Obama speech. I was merely seeking an explanation.
Mark Davis in an op-ed piece in the Dallas Morning News, Wednesday, September 16 stated, “The good reverend [ speaking of me] apparently viewed the AISD decision as an affront to black people, curable only by apology and atonement “ Mr. Davis further states that I “ basked” in the apology Mr. McCullough later made regarding the hurt caused by his decisions. From Mr. Davis perspective, it was hard explaining the differences between the Obama speech and Bush speech to “people unwilling to hear it, for whom the only issue is black Democrat vs. white Republican”
Mr. Davis is wrong on several counts. I have never mentioned race in any statement regarding this matter, nor has my wife. I don’t consider the speech matter and “affront to black people.” I consider this a matter of right and wrong. It would have been right for the students to hear President Obama as Mr. McCullough now agrees. It would have also been right for them to hear President Bush as Mark Davis agrees. It would be wrong to be able to hear one and not the other. Moreover, my position has nothing to do with color or party affiliation. I forgive Mark Davis for making this false allegation against me without him asking for forgiveness.
I did not “bask” in Mr. McCullough’s apology, I was surprised, but I did think it was the right thing to do and I admire and appreciate him for doing so.
Mr. Davis this is not an issue of “black Democrat vs. white Republican”. Again, this is a matter of right and wrong.
Since Mark Davis introduced the subject of race in this discussion, I will be glad to oblige him. I have more in common with a White man who loves Jesus, than I do with a Black man who does not know Jesus. I believe Jerry McCullough is a genuine Christian. I respect the humility and sincerity he displayed in apologizing and attempting to right a wrong. The apology and the cancellation of the Bush speech were never discussed with Mr. McCullough prior to his decision. The decisions to apologize and cancel the Bush speech as far as I know were his and his alone. I provided no input relative to either decision. I departed from my meeting with Mr. McCullough believing that he was sincere and a Christian brother. I bond with people who love Jesus, regardless of color.
My wife and I have voted Republican in presidential elections consistently since 1984. We did not vote for President Obama. Vera and I proudly attended President Obama’s inaugural in order to witness and celebrate this historic milestone in American history.
We support the Republicans party commitment to pro-life, pro family (marriage between a man and a woman) strong defense, low taxes, personal responsibility and limited government. These are non-negotiable issues for us. I must admit that I believe the Democrats are better at social and economic justice, racial sensitivity and inclusiveness and the equality of women in the workplace. These are important issues to Black people. Moreover, some would consider these issues equally important as the same sex marriage and abortion issues that drive Christian Republican voting.
Americans are incensed at the disrespect shown to the president most recently in the halls of congress. With the likes of outspoken Republicans like, Joe Wilson, Rush Limbaugh, and SBC minister Wiley Drake pleading and praying for the failure of the Obama administration and openly disrespecting him, my wife and I are finding it increasingly difficult identifying with the Republican Party. We are beginning to feel we have no place in a party, which could treat any president with the kind of disrespect, and disdain that President Obama has encountered. I spoke at a gathering of Republicans in Arlington where President Obama was referred to as “our teen-age president” — which is the 21st century version of “boy.” Never before have, I heard of any President referred to by that kind of language.
When Michael Steele, African American and Chairman of the
Republican Party and a man I highly respect, felt compelled by his party to grovel at the feet of Rush Limbaugh to remain in the good graces of the party, I knew then that the Republican Party effort to reach many Blacks would be largely unsuccessful. Why, because Black men with a back bone and strong convictions can not and will not respect a party requiring its leader to cringe at the feet of a radio and talk show personality. Not with standing that this “entertainer” has boldly and unashamedly wished for the failure of The President of the United States and his administration.
Finally, Mark Davis, do you really believe that the AISD students should miss school to hear Troy Aikman and Emmit Smith, but not President Obama? Go figure!
God help me! Here I stand!
June 1, 2009
Posted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. under Uncategorized
Resolution on racial reconciliation and
the election of Barack Hussein Obama
Submitted by Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr.
Cornerstone Baptist Church
Submitted to the Messengers of the Southern Baptist Convention
June 24, 2009
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.