Monday, June 19, 2017

USA: ‘Jesus never complained about racism,’ says 'alt-right' leader


Barrett Duke, who leads the resolutions committee, balked at bringing McKissic's resolution to a vote on Tuesday on the basis that it contained broad language "potentially implicating" conservatives who do not support the "alt-right" movement.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: International Business Times
By Steven Klett | June 15, 2017

Richard Spencer, the leader of the "alt-right," responded Wednesday to the Southern Baptist Convention's vote to condemn the political movement at an annual convention in Phoenix, Arizona.

In his response, he referenced Jesus, Paul and questioned whether or not the convention had read the Bible.

The convention voted formally to "decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and to "denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil," according to the Associated Press Wednesday.

Spencer had tweeted his support for the denomination's decision not to condemn the alt-right when it was announced Tuesday. He subsequently mocked reports that the convention was getting back together to draw up a new resolution.

Spencer coined the term "alt-right" and has been the most outspoken leader of the white nationalist political movement after the election of President Donald Trump. At Trump's inauguration on Jan. 20, Spencer was punched in the head by an anti-fascist protester during a video interview. He is a controversial figure who was kicked out of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February and lead a white nationalist torch rally opposing the removal of a Confederate statue in May, according to the Washington Post at the time.

Rev. William McKissic, a black Southern Baptist from Arlington, Texas, drew up the initial proposal for the Southern Baptist Convention that was rejected. He made an unsuccessful plea for reconsideration on the floor of the Phoenix meeting on Tuesday. In his resolution, McKissic called for the convention to reject "retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the ‘alt-right’ that seek to subvert our government."

Barrett Duke, who leads the resolutions committee, balked at bringing McKissic's resolution to a vote on Tuesday on the basis that it contained broad language "potentially implicating" conservatives who do not support the "alt-right" movement.

The backlash was swift. The Southern Baptist Convention is the second largest Christian body in America after the Catholic Church and was formed in the 19th century in part to defend slaveholders. In recent years the SBC has tried to distance itself from its racist to overcome its racist history.

Thabiti Anyabwile, a black Southern Baptist pastor, was critical of Duke's decision, tweeting emphatically that "any 'church' that cannot denounce white supremacy without hesitancy and equivocation is a dead, Jesus denying assembly."

In an emergency late-night call, the participants of the convention returned to the assembly hall and Steve Gaines, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, won approval to consider a new resolution on the topic Wednesday. After the convention voted yes to the new resolution condemning white supremacy and the "alt-right," the assembly hall burst into a standing ovation from the 5,000 participants.

Duke on Wednesday apologized personally to McKissic for the way the resolution was handled. He also made a general statement apologizing "for the pain and confusion that we created" and explaining that the committee was concerned that the resolution was giving the appearance they were hating their enemies.

Duke said the committee members "share your abhorrence of racism" and were grateful for the chance to "speak on ‘alt-right’ racism in particular and all racism in general."

White supremacist Richard Spencer talks with reporters during the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center February 23, 2017 in National Harbor, Maryland.

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