Southern Baptists passed a resolution Wednesday, celebrating the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president while at the same time denouncing some of the president's recent actions on such issues as homosexuality and abortion.
"Messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention ... share our nation's pride in our continuing progress toward racial reconciliation signaled by the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th President," the resolution states.
It passed with a near unanimous vote during SBC's annual meeting in Louisville, Ky.
Although most Southern Baptists did not vote for Obama, Daniel Akin, president of the Southeastern Baptist Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., said it would have been "irresponsible" for the largest Protestant denomination not to speak of Obama's historic win.
The resolution on Obama was submitted by African-American pastor Dwight McKissic from Arlington, Texas. McKissic said it has nothing to do with politics and it simply recognizes the election of America's first African-American president as "a tremendous moment in our nation's history," as reported by the Associated Baptist Press.
In adopting the resolution, Southern Baptists not only praise the election but also commend Obama for "his evident love for his family" and "for his decisions to retain many foreign policies that continue to keep our nation safe from further terrorist attacks."
On the critical portion of the resolution, they express strong disagreement with the president on some of his policies, including his decisions to expand federal funding for destructive human embryo research, increase funding for pro-abortion groups, and reduce funding for abstinence education.
Southern Baptists also express "strong opposition" to the president declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Month and to his determination to "strip pro-life healthcare professionals of their conscience protections."
The evangelical denomination urges prayers for Obama that he will promote liberty and justice for all people, including the unborn. Moreover, the Baptist leaders say in their resolution that they will "join hands with President Obama and his administration to advance causes of justice insofar as those efforts are consistent with biblical principles."
Akin believes the resolution reflects "a really good balance between our prayers and affirmation of much that our president represents" and "our strong concerns about certain policies that he advocates that we as Southern Baptists disagree with."
Other resolutions passed during the annual meeting include one on adoption and orphan care and another on biblical sexuality and public policy.
The latter expresses opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which could threaten Christian organizations from hiring in accordance with their religious beliefs; the pending hate crimes bill, which would provide greater protections for crimes committed against homosexuals and potentially criminalize religious speech about homosexuality and "other unbiblical lifestyles"; and overturning the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
This year's SBC annual meeting drew more than 8,600 messengers, or delegates, which was an encouraging attendance number for Southern Baptist leaders. The meeting concluded Wednesday.