Last week, the Southern Baptist Convention overwhelmingly approved a resolution condemning the alt-right movement. Chris Moody did a good job putting together a brief report of what happened. Nathan Finn also offered a worthy read from the perspective of someone in the room. Dwight McKissic deserves credit for drafting the original resolution. Following the resolution, H. B. Charles preached beautifully as always, and he offered his thoughts here.
I don’t often write about specific issues within my convention. The purpose of this blog is to highlight general leadership issues in established churches of a variety of backgrounds. However, the vileness of the alt-right must be exposed and labeled exactly what it is—racist and satanic. As Ed Stetzer tweeted, “It’s easy to denounce generic ‘racism,’ but sometimes you need to name it, even if it’s hard. And the alt-right is racist & sinful.”
You may be wondering, Who is the alt-right and why is it necessary to condemn them? Joe Carter wrote an excellent and detailed post answering these questions, and I encourage you to read it. In short, the alt-right is a loose network of groups supporting the white identity movement and white nationalism, beliefs that champion the ideology of racial separatism. Most of them desire for the United States to be predominantly white, even if it requires the removal of those who are not white.
At the SBC, it got personal. The alt-right sent an avalanche of hateful messages to the social media accounts and emails of SBC messengers. If you want an idea of how revolting they are, then take a moment to read what they wrote about my friend Micah Fries’ son. Now let that sink in—they attacked an adopted son because of the color of his skin. Micah received thousands of hateful replies. The alt-right is a pernicious movement that hell has vomited into our country.
Some may say, “Why not just ignore them? Why give them notoriety?” It’s a fair question. Why am I writing about this particular brand of hate? Here’s why: Racism is a gospel issue, not just a social issue. If the church gets this wrong, then we get the gospel wrong. Sometimes it’s good to keep your mouth shut. Not here. I will not be silent about the gospel.
I also want to warn my fellow conservatives. As a conservative, I find nothing right about their views at all. They have claimed the label “right,” but it’s is a misnomer. They are neither conservative nor right. For instance, Richard Spencer, the public face of the alt-right, supports abortion. Furthermore, there is nothing “alternative” about the movement either. A viable alternative ideology of racism does not exist. It’s just hate.
What can you do? Listen to people who are a different race than you. Pray for people who are a different race than you. Make friends with people who are a different race than you. I also encourage you to accept Trevin Wax’s challenge to “take up and read” African-American authors. If you are Southern Baptist, then start with Removing the Stain of Racism from the Southern Baptist Convention. Appendix 1 in the book has an excellent suggested reading list on race and race relations.
Southern Baptists, we’ve got a lot more work to do, but we’re making progress with racial reconciliation. The gospel will get us there, and Jesus will ultimately defeat the ilk of the alt-right.