The thought of celebrating anything about last November’s presidential election, which sent the man with the most liberal voting record in the Senate to the White House, does not excite most Southern Baptists, conservative as we are politically and theologically.
But there is one thing about it that Southern Baptists would do well to mark this year, and it has nothing to do with President Obama’s abortion record, or his enthusiasm for Gay Pride Month or overreaching big government endeavors.
Pastor Dwight McKissic of Arlington has submitted a resolution to the SBC’s Resolutions Committee for consideration at the convention June 23-24 in Louisville titled “On Racial Reconciliation and the Election of Barack Hussein Obama.”
Here’s hoping the Resolutions Committee takes notice and offers something similar.
McKissic, an African American and an outspoken champion of traditional marriage, observes something that all Southern Baptists?red, yellow, black, brown and white?should see and appreciate even amid the gaping worldview chasm that exists between most Southern Baptists and the president:
The election last November transcended Barack Obama; it is a milestone on the American landscape?a black man lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, placed there by the very system that prevented many African Americans from freely voting early in our president’s lifetime. When Obama was still in diapers in the 1960s, many public schools were still segregated and many Southern Baptist pulpits were yet silent.
We have not yet arrived at Martin Luther King’s dream of people being judged by their character, not their skin color. But the last election was confirmation that we are a step closer.
As followers of Jesus, the one who created every ethnicity “from one blood,” as Paul told the Athenian philosophers, such a milestone is not merely noteworthy, it is momentous.
The resolution calls on SBC messengers to celebrate “the historic nature of the election … as a significant contribution to the ongoing cause of racial reconciliation,” that Baptists would pray that Obama would “promote liberty and justice for all people, including the unborn,” and “that we will join hands with President Obama and his administration to advance causes of racial justice insofar as those efforts are consistent with biblical principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
It commends the inclusion of former SBC president Frank Page on a White House faith advisory council despite President Obama “pursuing numerous social, political and economic policies that are in fundamental opposition to the values for which our convention and our churches have stood.”
It also notes the SBC’s 1995 resolution on racial reconciliation that “recognized the failures of some Southern Baptists to affirm the dignity, worth, and equal rights of African Americans, apologized and sought forgiveness for these injustices and purposed to ‘eradicate [racism] in all its forms,'” as well as SBC repudiations of racism dating back to 1937.
As the resolution observes, most Southern Baptists are poles apart from the president on issues such as abortion, which Obama has unwaveringly supported as a legal right through all nine months of pregnancy.
McKissic’s mention of values differences and the life issue are critical to the document; I suspect the Resolutions Committee would be even more specific, pleading with the president to seek divine guidance on not only the life issue but also homosexual marriage and a host of social and economic challenges facing the nation.
Such a Southern Baptist resolution would say to non-white Southern Baptists, especially African Americans, and to everyone else that our faith allows us to see what Jesus sees, to sympathize when empathizing is not possible.
Al Mohler aptly wrote on election night, “Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who?for the first time?now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as president.”
Such a “buy-in” by every American can only benefit the advancement of the gospel, not to mention the welfare of the nation.
Richard Land told U.S. News & World Report there is something else about the president we should applaud: “his example as a model father and husband.”
With out-of-wedlock births a vicious cycle in the black community and rising to 40 percent across all demographic groups according to government figures released last month, Land’s comments are even more apropos.
It bears repeating: Such a resolution is not a blanket endorsement of the man or his views; it is an endorsement of the milestone reached and the American credo realized that “all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights?”
<SPAN style="; FONT-FAMILY: 'Trebuchet MS'; mso-fareast-font-family: Cambri