The Hollowness of the Southern Baptists’ New Racism and Sexual Abuse Amendments

Bless their hearts. Earlier this week, some 8,000 delegates representing the denomination that ordained me some 25 years ago gathered in Birmingham, Alabama, to hold their annual conference. Faced with a history of racism, patriarchy, and sexual abuse, they came together to put into words what they continuously fail to enact in deeds. The Southern Baptist Convention amended their governing documents on June 11 to explicitly state that churches mishandling cases of sexual abuse or racial discrimination will no longer be permitted to remain in fellowship with the Convention.

Pleased with themselves, SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd told the delegates that their proclamation provided “a clear signal not only about what we believe about sexual abuse, but we also stand against all ethnic discrimination in the United States and around the world.” One would think that such a declaration would taste sweet as honey in the mouths of those who have lived a lifetime of racial or sexual abuse in the hands of multiple Southern Baptist churches. But the taste quickly turned bitter due to the disingenuousness of pronouncements that contradict everything the Convention continues to support. If they were to fully and meaningfully implement this policy, I doubt that the Convention would be left with any churches as members, for they all remain complicit with racist and sexist structures that rob many of us of our very humanity.

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20 Years for Giving Water to Migrants? A Religious Freedom Case of Little Interest to ‘Religious Freedom’ Industry

While the “religious freedom” industry is busy protecting discriminatory bakeries and pharmacists who refuse to do their job, a humanitarian faces a hefty prison sentence for providing food and water to migrants in the desert.

This country has an odd way of defining “religious freedom.” Refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple or refusing to sell contraception at a pharmacy are defined as a religious right by self-professing Christians and safeguarded under the banner of protecting “religious freedom.” And while these are obvious examples of the abuse of the term, our religious freedoms, nonetheless, are indeed under assault by the federal government. Actual violations of religious freedoms are being ignored because they threaten and challenge the power and privilege of cisgender white men who get to define what does (and what does not) qualify as a “religious freedom” issue.

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The Pedagogical Problem with White Professors

dc6ae-6a016301e4b359970d01b8d276f49b970c-150wiA few years ago, during a search for a New Testament professor, I asked two questions during the interview – two questions I ask of every candidate for a position with our institution regardless of rank or discipline. The first is innocent enough: “How important is racial/ethnic diversity to you when teaching?” All candidates, to a fault, enthusiastically answer in the affirmative. Then I ask my second question: “Which scholars and/or books from racial and ethnic minorities do you include in your syllabus and why?” Here is when the squirming usually begins, revealing the lack of academic rigor of the candidate under consideration.

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The Fallacy of Whiteness

white-PrivilegeWhite privilege is maintained when white ignorance is sustained. The demise of our democracy will not be at the hands of foreign entities. Democracy will fail at the hands of an ignorant and uninformed electorate seeking demagogues as saviors.

Some whites choose to dance with disaster. For promised privileges, they make an alliance with their richer compatriots, the 1 percent of whites who control 38.6 percent of the nation’s wealth. They are played by their wealthier colorblind counterparts, who could actually care less about the skin pigmentation of those whom they devour like hungry wolves. Other whites naively seek to reclaim and repeat a Confederate heritage of the dirt-poor who fought and died to protect the privilege of plantation proprietors to own human chattel. White ignorance has always been crucial in preserving the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few.

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The Death of Christianity in the U.S.

U.S. ChristChristianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals. Evangelicalism ceased being a religious faith tradition following Jesus’ teachings concerning justice for the betterment of humanity when it made a Faustian bargain for the sake of political influence. The beauty of the gospel message — of love, of peace and of fraternity — has been murdered by the ambitions of Trumpish flimflammers who have sold their souls for expediency. No greater proof is needed of the death of Christianity than the rush to defend a child molester in order to maintain a majority in the U.S. Senate.

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Anti-Semitism and Criticism of Israel are not the Same

A full page advertisement ran in the Sept. 20 edition of the New York Times sponsored by Israelthe World Jewish Congress. The advertisement made four points, two with which I agree wholeheartedly, one with which I lack sufficient knowledge to make a decision, and one with which I totally disagree because of the danger it poses to justice.

The two with which I concur are: 1) “We should never have to be afraid to practice our faith,” and 2) “We must never be silent (while people of any faith are attacked).” Amen and amen! The one for which I am not knowledgeable enough to respond is, “We are one people.” I’m not sure if my Jewish colleagues would agree. I’ll simply punt to them to discuss, although I would be greatly interested in the discourse.

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