Religion Dispatches published an article yesterday entitled “The Southern Baptist ‘All Lives Matter’ Approach to Racial Reconciliation is Spiritual Malpractice.” In that article, they mentioned SBC Voices a couple of times, which is always flattering. Unfortunately, their comments showed either ignorance of what has been written here, an intent to deceive people, or a simple laziness in the journalistic practices of the authors, Sunnivie Brydum and Joshua Lazard. They make assertions about what we have posted here that are so far from the truth that it is hard to assign any benign motive.
They make this statement:
Meanwhile, the rank-and-file congregants and pastors who post on sites like SBC’s “unofficial source for news and opinion,” SBC Voices, continue to engage in false equivalencies suggesting that Black Lives Matter, the Nation of Islam, and the so-called “alt-left” are just as racist as the alt-right, and require a similarly “explicit” condemnation from SBC leadership. The pushback on these claims is notably less sustained and less voluminous than the apologetics that appear whenever a member asks his denomination to address anti-black sentiment within the church.
I would challenge them to point out a single post on Voices that has argued this kind of equivalency or correlated Black racism with White. We have consistently argued against such ideas when they were made by commenters. We have annoyed a lot of people by our relentless promotion of racial reconciliation. “Why do not guys keep hammering on this?” The authors are just flat wrong.
- We have posted pretty much every article Dwight McKissic has written. We have been a consistent ally in his efforts.
- Most of our contributors have argued, to much opposition, that this is a “gospel issue.” If there is a single issue on which we are intentionally one-sided, it is racism. We don’t think there are two legitimate Christian sides.
- I made a commitment seven years ago to be a voice for racial reconciliation on this site and I have tried to fulfill that obligation. Search what I have written on the topic. There is a search engine on the page.
- We’ve been active in promoting minority candidates for offices in the SBC, attempting to put our posts into action.
- We immediately and summarily delete any comment that contains a hint of racism and block their authors. Other SBC-themed sites regularly have commenters of alt-right and racialist leanings complaining about us because they have been blocked here.
- Alan Cross has posted so many anti-racism articles here that he’s been called liberal almost as often as Russell Moore! Many of our contributors have weighed in and there has been more unanimity on racism than most other topics.
There are simply no facts to support the false accusations of Brydum and Lazard. Laziness, lying, or a lack of knowledge – who knows? But they asserted that which is not true.
The utter folly of their position could have been seen with a small amount of simple research. The basic point of their article is seen in the title. Lo and behold, almost a year ago I wrote an article entitled, “Why ‘All Lives Matter’ Is Not a Helpful Response to ‘Black Lives Matter.'” No, I didn’t accuse anyone of spiritual malpractice, but I did assert essentially the same point as their article. We have run articles that made the same points as most of their main points. I have asserted repeatedly, both publicly and privately, that racism is a white problem and fighting it should be a white effort.
I have no idea who Brydum and Lazard are – but it seems clear that their intent is to grind axe against the SBC, not to engage in fair journalism. A modicum of research would have shown that SBC Voices has been a consistent voice in the SBC for racial reconciliation.
- It is possible that in their haste to skewer the SBC, they confused us at SBC Voices with other sites that have, in fact, advocated some of the positions they asserted here.
- It is also possible that they didn’t bother to understand who we are. We are an open discussion site – at least we try to be. We are responsible for the opinions of the posts we publish and we moderate highly offensive comments. But we are a place were a variety of viewpoints in the SBC come to talk about issues.
There are some of the commenters here who make me cringe every time they speak about racial issues, but their comments fall short of overt racism and our belief is that through discussion and through constantly holding up the truth we can shine the light on the darkness of their views. Simply banning those who don’t tow the line completely is not going to change hearts. We block racists – and they do exist. We don’t even allow people to tap-dance on that line. But having wrong-headed ideas about race is not the same.
I suspect that at the root of it, these two do not believe that anyone who refuses to adopt their radical political ideology can actually be committed to racial reconciliation. We believe in racial reconciliation because of our love for God’s word and for the truth of the gospel not because of radical politics. It is our intent to continue to be consistent voices here for racial reconciliation. We hold it to be an essential part of the work of the gospel to seek to tear down human barriers and to repair what sin has created. We don’t support “Black Lives Matter” as a political organization, and people like Brydum and Lazard will likely never forgive us for that, but we are committed to wiping out every trace of racism in the SBC and building a denomination that is united, diverse, and free from all stain of our past.
Hit pieces such as this one do not help.
Normally, our policy is to simply ignore such attacks – especially when they come from other SBC sites. Within the SBC people pretty much know who we are and have formed their opinions. But Religion Dispatches speaks to an audience that doesn’t know us and I felt as if a response letting anyone who might drop by here know that we are not what they said we are was in order.
We intend to continually advocate for racial reconciliation because we are strong believers that Jesus died to redeem on Body from all the world – every race, every tribe, every language on earth. We intend to continue to be a thorn in the side to those who drag their feet on the issue. I have no idea why Brydum and Lazard did not speak the truth, but we wish to set the record straight.