A Rift Over Racism Divides the Southern Baptist Convention

Photo by Zerb Mellish for The New Yorker

The Southern Baptist Convention is holding its annual meeting this week. It is the largest Protestant denomination in the country, and while the group comes together to elect a new president, they are in an identity crisis. It is about the critical theory of race, which the presidential candidate Pastor Mike Stone and many other conservatives have identified as an extra-biblical and even demonic source of division and strife. Eliza Griswold has reported a moral crisis within the SBC and emerging rifts among American evangelicals. In 2017, Reverend Dwight McKissic tabled a resolution condemning the alt-right whites’ supremacy, which had failed twice before it was passed. “It was a shock. I was actually stunned, ”he told Griswold. “Black pastors came up to me and said, ‘We’re out. We feel like the others here. ‘ ”

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