A black Southern Baptist pastor is urging his denomination to acknowledge the significance of President Obama’s election and to join hands with the nation’s first black commander-in-chief.
When “messengers” of the Southern Baptist Convention gather this month for their annual convention, the Rev. Dwight McKissic, Sr., hopes they will pass the “Resolution on racial reconciliation and the election of Barack Hussein Obama” that he submitted for consideration.
The resolution, which recognizes the path taken so far by America and the Southern Baptist Convention toward racial justice, resolves that the denomination celebrate the “historic nature” of Obama’s election last November “as a significant contribution to the ongoing cause of racial reconciliation in the United States.”
“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,” the resolution states, “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.”
Though the Southern Baptist Convention, in addition to being the largest, is the most conservative Protestant denomination in America, McKissic is hoping that the autonomous church body will acknowledge Obama’s election as it has with other historic events, such as the Oklahoma City bombing and Israel’s 60th anniversary.
Such an acknowledgment, some say, would make for a fitting follow-up to the “Resolution on Racial Reconciliation” that was adopted by the denomination on its 150 anniversary.
In 1995, the SBC recognized how slavery played a role in the formation of the denomination in 1845 and how Southern Baptists failed, in many cases, to support, and in some cases opposed, legitimate initiatives to secure the civil rights of African-Americans.
“Racism has divided the body of Christ and Southern Baptists in particular, and separated us from our African-American brothers and sisters,” the denomination acknowledged.
Though the SBC, in its 1995 resolution, resolved to pursue racial reconciliation in all relationships – especially with brothers and sisters in Christ – some observers are skeptical about whether or not the denomination will approve of McKissic’s resolution given Obama’s pro-choice platform.
“[T]here are many reasons to celebrate Obama’s election, not the least of which being the potential for the furtherance of racial reconciliation,” commented Dr. Jason Epps, the founding/lead pastor of Gospel Fellowship Community Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I sincerely hope you (McKissic) are correct [that there won’t be too much opposition to the resolution], but the cynical part of me wonders what the good ole boys might have to say about this,” he added.
Currently, the draft resolution that McKissic submitted is being reviewed by a Southern Baptist committee that will decide whether it should be put to a vote at the denomination's annual meeting June 23-24 in Louisville, Ky.
McKissic is the founding pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Arlington, Texas, which is reportedly 4,500-large.
McKissic was formerly a member of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s board of trustees but resigned over a controversy regarding “private prayer language,” or the practice of speaking in tongues.