To President Bryant Wright and the Members of the SBC Committee on Nominations,
Race has been a hot topic in the SBC recently. Dwight McKissic offered a motion in Orlando last June to include racism along with homosexuality as a sin that will eliminate a church from SBC participation. Johnny Hunt referred the motion to the Executive Committee who has declined to recommend the change to the c0nstitution. According to one person, the belief is that such a move would be redundant. Our stand against racism and bigotry is already encoded in the Baptist Faith and Message statement and churches that wish to send messengers must comply with it. They are saying, essentially, that we can eliminate racism and bigotry without this motion.
We have had quite a lively discussion on the subject here. Some advocate a more radical approach, such as challenging the nominations report at the convention. Others have said that would be radical and point out that progress is being made. I’ve gone back and forth.
But there has been a general agreement on two things.
- 1) We have not done enough to this point to demonstrate to people of color that they are welcome here, that the SBC wants to completely leave its bigoted past behind.
- 2) We need to be intentional in seeking to include blacks, Asians, Hispanics and other ethnicities on our boards and agencies. No one here has argued for quotas, but we want to intentionally seek to include capable and committed people of color in SBC leadership.
I do not know any of you and I am not in any way accusing our elected president or anyone on the Committee on Nominations of racism. But I do believe that the future is in your hands. President Wright, you will bring a Committee on Committees nomination and have a lot of say in who is on the podium during the convention. Committe members, you will bring a report to the SBC Annual Meeting in Phoenix with a list of names to serve on our boards and agencies. We know the power of nominations in SBC life. That is how the SBC was turned around in the 80s. Conservatives elected like-minded presidents who appointed like-minded Committees on Committees who recommended like-minded Committees on Nominations who recommended like-minded trustees.
I hope that our current president and the Committee on Nominations are like-minded on this issue. It is time to eliminate every trace of racism from the SBC!
You have the power to change the direction of our convention and shape its future.
I am trusting the assurances of goodwill I have heard from people in power in the SBC. If you agree with me that the SBC needs to do more to encourage multi-racial participation in our convention, then I would encourage you to remember the Nike slogan. “Just Do It.” Seek out qualified, capable and committed Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans and African-Americans to serve. Create your own report rainbow! Let’s see that the stage in Phoenix has people from different races participating in our convention’s life!
We are going to be watching. I believe that there are people of color who can serve well, bringing a different perspective and outlook to the work of our entities. It is time that we intentionally included people who in the past have often been left standing on the sidelines.
What you do this year matters symbolically. Our leaders have said that a motion is not necessary to force us to do the right thing. I am pleading with you to demonstrate that this is not a vain assurance. Show us all that this commitment to end racism and bigotry in the SBC is a reality; a passion that we all share.
I hope and pray you will take this seriously,