Friday, July 21, 2017

So It Starts, Southern Baptist Edition

Last month I wrote repeatedly about the fiasco at the Southern Baptist Convention where delegates committed the sin of initially choosing not to proceed on a clumsily worded, hysterical resolution condemning the alt-right. In one of my several posts I wrote:
Back to the resolution. I have to give credit to Dwight McKissic. Whether intentional or not he very neatly maneuvered the Southern Baptist Convention into a corner and now it looks like he will get a version of his resolution and in the future the SBC will be cowed into approving any racially based resolution that comes forward out of fear of being raked over the coals again by the media and appearing insufficiently "woke" on matters of racial reconciliation. Well played indeed.
In other words this resolution is less about any fringe meme-based ideology and more about the opening salvo in a movement to transform the Southern Baptist Convention into the image of progressives. Or even more likely to simply undermine the SBC until it collapses. Once you capitulate once, the SJW sharks smell blood in the water and won't stop. I was right and it didn't even take very long. The blood is in the water and here come the sharks.

From the hallowed pages of the New York Times (All the news that's fit to print!) we see the following:

It is written by a black Southern Baptist pastor named Lawrence Ware. I have never heard of him before. His bio at the bottom of his editorial says this about him: "Lawrence Ware (@Law_writes) is a co-director of the Center for Africana Studies at Oklahoma State University and the diversity coordinator for its philosophy department." That pretty much explains why I have never heard of him. He starts off with this:
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. Devastated, I complained to a counselor who suggested I pray for the ability to turn the other cheek. Since then, I have done just that and more: I’ve been an ordained minister in the convention for almost a decade. 
But I’ve had enough. Today I am officially renouncing my ordination in the Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant body, with about 15 million members, and the world’s largest Baptist denomination. 
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.
Why does the New York Times, America's newspaper of record, devote an opinion page editorial, some of the most sacred and valuable property in progressive media, to the resignation of a relatively unknown minister from Oklahoma of all places? Simple. It is the same reason that they will give space to Russell Moore and others as long as they can see a way to advance an anti-Gospel "progressive" message or to hurt people who have committed thought-crimes. The editors of the New York Times hate most people who go to Southern Baptists churches and blame them for not doing as their betters told them and electing Hillary Clinton.  As I read the rest of his editorial, I wondered why he was in the SBC to begin with. Mr. Ware continues:
A contingent of predominantly white, old-guard members refused to take the resolution seriously, even while many black and progressive clergy members advocated its adoption. 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. 
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.
If you are keeping score at home, it took Mr. Ware just over 300 words of his essay about why he left the SBC because it is so full of the alt-right to abruptly shift gears and bring up homosexual behavior. Notice the conflict he creates between the "white, old-guard members" and the new and improved "black and progressive clergy". Mr. Ware continues, getting up a head of steam (bold at the end is mine):
To be sure, many prominent convention leaders have opposed Mr. Trump and the alt-right. Indeed, one of them, Russell Moore, went so far as to voice his criticism before the election.
But not enough has been done to address the institutional nature of white supremacy in the convention. Many churches are still hostile to the Black Lives Matter movement, and even more were silent during the rise of Mr. Trump and the so-called alt-right. For all of its talk about the love of Jesus Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention’s inaction on the issues of racism and homophobia has drowned out its words.
Well that exhibits all the subtlety of a wrecking ball. In case you missed it here is the summary: Pliable people like Russell Moore are good. Anyone who voted for Trump is in the alt-right and burning crosses in the yards of black folk. If you don't support the militant Black Lives Matter groups and you don't support normalization of sexual perversion, you are obviously a racist.

Mr. Ware muses: "I don’t know why I stayed so long." I kind of wonder the same thing. If you are looking for a church that supports racialism in the form of Black Lives Matters, that affirms homosexual sin as normal, you can find plenty of them and there are lots of great seats as those "churches" are dying out. Onward....
Yet it saddens and scares me to think that the church, especially given its role in the black community as a place for moral correction and existential validation, may no longer be able to serve that purpose. Despite our need for such a place, acquiescence in the face of racism and homophobia won’t heal them; it will only allow the wounds to fester.
Here Mr. Ware makes a good point, although inadvertently. The church historically has been a place for moral correction in the black community and it apparently no longer serves that purpose but the fault is not with the alt-right or mean white Southern Baptists. When people like Mr. Ware try to use the church to force the normalization of homosexual behavior under the guise of justice, the church has lost all authority for moral correction. Saying that men sodomizing other men is normal and natural and God-pleasing behavior and trying to lump sodomy in with simply having black skin takes an enormous leap but it exposes something. The sin of the SBC is not "racism" or association with the "alt-right". It is being insufficiently progressive on a whole litany of issues. Mr. Ware ironically mentions declining membership numbers in the SBC multiple times but at the same time favors the sort of progressive nonsense that has already killed outright multiple denominations.

It is his conclusion however that really gets to the heart of the matter by showing Mr. Ware's heart, emphasis mine.
I want to be a member of a body of believers that is structured around my Christian beliefs of equity, not one that sees those issues as peripheral. The equality of all people should be a fundamental principle that is a starting point of the convention’s existence, not a side issue to be debated.
I love the church, but I love black people more. Black lives matter to me. I am not confident that they matter to the Southern Baptist Convention.
There it is. Thanks for getting to that at the end of an exhausting exhibition of partisan political rhetoric dressed up in progressive religious lingo. Mr. Ware is saying the exact same thing that he would accuse the alt-right of, raising racial identity above the Gospel and making race an idol. He claims that the SBC doesn't care about black lives but it is without dispute that a weekend in Chicago or Baltimore is far more dangerous to a black man than any number of alt-right types, who mostly post memes from their computers at home, or from a cop. The city of Baltimore is trying to have a "Nobody kill anybody" weekend and for good reason. According to the Baltimore Sun, 2017 is "...on pace to be the city’s deadliest year ever. ". With back to back years of over 300 murders and 2017 on pace to exceed 2015 and 2016, guess who is dying? Largely young black men. Guess who is killing them? Hint, not cops. Not Richard Spencer or David Duke. They are being murdered by other young black men. If black lives matter to Mr. Ware, and I have no reason to doubt him, why is he focused on homosexuality when young black men are being slaughtered by other young black men every single day in America? Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of aborted black babies. Here is the sad reality that you are not allowed to say.

Black Lives Matter is not about saving black lives. It is a politically expedient cover phrase for a radical leftist ideology.

As such, Black Lives Matter has no more of a claim to be accepted and affirmed by the church than the alt-right does.

Rod Dreher and Todd Pruitt, among others, have written in response and they pretty much conclude precisely what I said would happen back in June in the same essay linked above:

Not to mention the reality of introducing a lot of people to the alt-right and their ideology.

Gee, I am like a prophet or something. I don't think many Southern Baptists had a clue of what the alt-right stood for in May of this year but I bet a lot more of them do today. This whole thing is vintage progressive lunacy. You write up a goofy resolution that condemns a problem that wasn't really a problem in the SBC. You pitch a fit because it doesn't pass and you call in the attack dogs of the "media" to try to shame the SBC into doing your will. The SBC leadership, terrified of looking like racists, decides to keep voting until they get the result they want and pass a strongly worded resolution but it wasn't the resolution that Dwight McKissic proposed and it wasn't passed immediately so the SBC is racist. Now you have some random Oklahoma Baptist leaving the SBC and he gets published in the New York Times. How many people in the SBC that had never heard of the alt-right have read some of the material now?

Do you want to see more people in the alt-right? Because this is how you get more people into the alt-right. You abandon in terror the rhetorical battlefield over this sensitive and divisive issue and leave it in the hands of people on the extremes of both sides. If you are a Southern Baptist that wants nothing to do with the cop-hating rhetoric of much of the Black Lives Matter movement and is not interested in homosexual normalization, where do you go? Thanks to the cowardice of the SBC leadership on this issue, the road to Richard Spencer is not very long. Dreher, who uncharacteristically didn't mention his book in this essay, a sign he is fired up, writes:
Good grief. See, this is the kind of thing that vindicates some on the alt-right, who say that it doesn’t matter what you believe or why you believe it, they’re still going to hate you and accuse you of being one of us. So why not be one of us? (they say).
Yep. He continues:
More than anything though: Can you imagine someone writing, “I love the church, but I love white people more”? Or, “I love the church, but I love straight people more”? We would know exactly what was wrong with that person: they had made idols of race and/or sexuality. Had Ware written, “I love the church, but I love the truth more,” that would have been understandable. It sounds like he has apostatized to the Church of Identity Politics. It’s a false religion, but an increasingly popular one, alas.
Please note for the record that this latest racial division, in the SBC and elsewhere, is entirely a result of progressive activists who want to pervert the meaning of justice and make it clear that unless you stand equally for recognizing all people as made imago dei regardless of race along with affirming the normalcy of sodomy and cross-dressing and stand shoulder to shoulder with the radicals in Black Lives Matter who, as quoted by Dreher, seek to destroy the family...
We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable
...then clearly you are a racist.

The church is losing the conversation on race but not because of the alt-right. I don't know who Mr. Ware is and I wish him all the best in the future but if the cost for having him stay in the SBC is affirming homosexuality and cross-dressing and bowing to the far left, anti-family, anti-law enforcement demands of Black Lives Matter, then I bid him farewell.

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