The Church Of Identity Politics

For some, racial and sexual identity politics matter more than theological truth (A. Ruiz/Shutterstock)

In today’s NYT, a black academic named Lawrence Ware announced that he is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention — this, in the wake of a controversy over the Convention’s meeting this summer in which there was a second vote to condemn the alt-right. Ware says he is also offended by the number of white Evangelicals who support Donald Trump. He writes:

To be sure, many prominent convention leaders have opposed Mr. Trump and the alt-right. Indeed, one of them, Russell Moore, went so far as to voice his criticism before the election.

But not enough has been done to address the institutional nature of white supremacy in the convention. Many churches are still hostile to the Black Lives Matter movement, and even more were silent during the rise of Mr. Trump and the so-called alt-right. For all of its talk about the love of Jesus Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention’s inaction on the issues of racism and homophobia has drowned out its words.

So: in order to be good enough for Ware, the Southern Baptist Convention would have to affirm not simply the moral equivalence of all people, regardless of race (which is true, certainly from a Biblical perspective), but also affirm an extremely controversial activist group that, as part of its statement of “guiding principles”, affirms transgenderism and homosexuality, and also (this is a direct quote from its website):

We are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another, and especially “our” children to the degree that mothers, parents and children are comfortable.

What remotely conservative, traditionalist Christian church could possibly affirm that? None. Yet Ware makes affirming this particular organization the test of the SBC’s good faith on racial reconciliation. Ware continues, accusing the SBC of  “acquiescence in the face of racism and homophobia”. Racism, because even though the SBC voted to condemn the alt-right, the fact that many individual Southern Baptists voted for Trump, and the Convention does not endorse Black Lives Matter? That’s all it takes to be guilty of “acquiescence in the face of racism”? And “homophobia” because the SBC…

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