Leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention were divided over a resolution affirming the denomination’s opposition to the “alt-right” during their annual meeting this week in Arizona.
On Tuesday, they initially declined to consider the proposal submitted by a prominent black pastor, the Atlantic reported, but changed course after a significant backlash.
“The drama over the resolution revealed deep tension lines within a denomination that was explicitly founded to support slavery” in the 19th century, the Atlantic writes.
The rise of the “alt-right” a loose movement comprising white supremacists and provocateurs, has triggered tensions in the Jewish world, as some have publicly embraced the movement, while most have rejected it and reviled its Jewish supporters.
Leaders of the faith group initially refused to take up a proposal that they repudiate the political group, the Associated Press reported, with one Baptist leader saying the resolution contained broad language “potentially implicating” those conservatives who may not support the “alt-right.”
Any “church” that cannot denounce white supremacy without hesitancy and equivocation is a dead, Jesus denying assembly. No 2 ways about it.— Thabiti Anyabwile (@ThabitiAnyabwil) June 14, 2017
On Tuesday night, there was a dramatic turnaround, with leaders announcing that they would take up the proposal after all on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. Steve Gaines, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he wanted to send the message that “we love everybody on this planet.”
The Southern Baptist Convention, based in Nashville, has more than 15 million members and is the largest Protestant group in the country.