A Black Baptist pastor caused upset after his comment the annual Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California last week. He accurately said that some conservative evangelical pastors had become racist “political whores” for former President Donald Trump.
The pastor, Kevin Smith — a pastor at Family Church in Palm Beach, Florida, and former executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware — said, “I think some Southern Baptists lost their minds when a Black man was elected president. Not all, but some.”
“I think some Southern Baptists were unloving to Black people beginning in 2012 with the killing of Trayvon Martin,” he continued.
“I don’t mean we have to agree about politics or policy — I just mean giving a darn that somebody else is hurting who is supposed to be your brother or sister in Christ. And I think some Southern Baptists just bent over and became political whores with this whole Trump stuff,” he added.
Smith then mentioned that non-white Christians often feel like they’re “tolerated but not really embraced.”
A pastor from Atlanta responded that he felt more discouraged by race relations today than he felt 14 years ago. He also said that some congregants of color chose not to attend his church because the church was “less social justicey” than other churches. Another pastor said that pastors owe it to their communities to pursue racial justice in their church communities, though one white pastor said that he wasn’t always sure about how to do that.
Despite the outrage, the Southern Baptists have long contributed to anti-Black and white supremacist sentiment as well as attacks on LGBTQ-people. An approximate 81 percent of Evangelical voters voted for Trump in 2016, even though he had repeatedly cheated on his wife, swindled workers, and publicly insulted his political enemies. His Christian supporters claimed that God could do good work through imperfect men.
A recent report found that the Southern Baptist Church (SBC) ignored, disparaged, or silenced hundreds of sexual abuse victims who had been assaulted by church leaders, ministers, workers, and volunteers. The SBC knew of these assaults but kept an ongoing list of offenses from public view until The Houston Chronicle revealed its existence.
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