Disclaimer: I grew up Southern Baptist, but after a personal run-in with a holier-than-thou pastor/preacher/holyman, I will never again set foot in a SBC church. I have forgiven him, but I understand that I am not welcome.
Several weeks ago, some well-meaning, short-sighted folks proposed an anti-Alt-Right measure be taken up by the Southern Baptist Convention. The measure basically bought whole-cloth into the idea that the Alt-Right, or really any pro-nationalist group it seemed to me, was a racist creation designed to support white supremacy. The moment I first became aware of it, I knew this would eventually be the end of the SBC; they didn’t adopt the original measure, but passed a modified one that still singled out the Alt-Right, and rambled about white supremacy in an incoherent, judgmental way — they allowed people to be smeared as racist/supremacist based on non-racial political leanings.
Which is absolutely cowardly, weak-willed, and in the end, counter-productive.
Still, it wasn’t enough for some.
The first time I was called a nigger to my face was by a fellow camper at a Southern Baptist Convention retreat near Oklahoma City. I was 13, and it was 1995.
Man, I was in the church around that time, and my church was 100% white at that time. I was close to the same age as Mr. Ware here. I only ever once remember someone using anything like that word; a girl said “nigger-rigged” about something, and when she said it she clearly had no idea what the first half of the phrase meant. She was quickly corrected by the adult on scene, and I chalked it up to something she was hearing at home; I never before or after heard anything remotely race-related from anyone at church. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but rather that an anecdote doesn’t prove anything.
Nor does one jerk, or one misguided twelve-year-old girl, blemish an entire organization. It certainly has nothing to do with the state of the SBC twenty-two years later.
My reasoning is simple: As a black scholar of race and a minister who is committed to social justice, I can no longer be 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.
“whose members support the abhorrent policies of Donald Trump” is likely the true, real reason he’s leaving. Also, keep in mind that last bit about a deep commitment to white supremacy:
It was not until chaos ensued that a reworded resolution vowing to “decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ” was adopted.
Yes, they’re so very committed that they voted to decry white supremacy, and all other racism, as antithetical to the very core of their beliefs. What’s wrong with that?
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.
I read the link; it looks like they threw out political activists — and we only have the word of the activists. Hmm.
In April, five white professors at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth dressed in a way that mimicked gangsta rappers. They posed for a picture wearing hoodies, hats to the side and flashy necklaces. One of the professors was holding what looked like a gun.
That seems like a poor decision, but it doesn’t sound overly racist to me; people dress like actual gangsters, too. You don’t see Italians complaining. When a group has a stereotypical mode of dress, it isn’t making fun of the race to dress like them for fun; people wearing old-school Liederhosen aren’t necessarily mocking Germans. People dressing in togas shouldn’t be offensive to the Greeks.
Mockingly stereotyping African-Americans revealed the moral bankruptcy of their souls.
“Gangsta rappers” aren’t all of African-Americans. They aren’t all black, for one. Two, not every black person dresses that way — not even a minority of them, if I had to guess. Three, dressing like a group of people known for their ostentatious, over-the-top style isn’t “mockingly stereotyping.” This fellow is looking for something to be pissed off about, and he’s reaching.
Sadly, they are in good company. In April, the Pew Research Center reported that 78 percent of white evangelicals, many of whom are Southern Baptists, approve of President Trump’s job performance.
Back to President Trump, who is the first president elected having already endorsed gay marriage (to his LGBTQ point above). Who hasn’t advocated any sort of “white supremacy.”
Many churches are still hostile to the Black Lives Matter movement
As well they should be, and this is where his soul is exposed. Mr. Ware is rotten to the core, and one bad apple can spoil the lot of them; the SBC is better off without him. BLM is a racist hate organization that, in a time of less political correctness, would be rightly called out as a terrorist group. They’ve attached themselves well to a nice name and concept — “black lives matter” — but to their core the group is rotten.
When they allowed the foolish motion on the Alt-Right, the Southern Baptists made a grave mistake. You can never be progressive enough for the progressives; even by adopting language that criticized racism and white supremacy, even by allowing the dig at the “alt-right” in the language, they aren’t going far enough. Because they don’t buy the progressive cause wholesale.
That’s the real issue Mr. Ware and his type have — they aren’t getting everything they want, and right now, so they’re going to throw away a decades-long relationship. That is the very definition of the social justice warrior. It doesn’t matter that you’re on the same side. You aren’t on the same side enough, so all your past sins still count against you and we’re going to attack you in public.
Good luck with that; and good luck finding a landing spot, Mr. Ware. I’m sure there are plenty of people with your rotten outlook on race, your constant need to be the victim of some great evil, and I’m sure they’ll join in the two minutes hate about the alt-right*.
* I don’t even consider myself alt-right; there are too many idiots and trolls advancing their stupidity using that banner. It was spoiled near from the start. But still; to equate the intended meaning (people on the right who actually stand up for themselves) with white supremacy is dirty pool.