Leaders of a national Southern Baptist conference voted to repudiate white supremacy and the growing “alt-right” movement Wednesday, reversing an earlier decision that had caused uproar internally.
“We had people outside this convention hall from the alt-right handing out flyers of why we should hate African Americans,” Charles Hedman, a pastoral assistant from Capitol Hills Church in DC told the conference. “I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Twitter was filled with the alt-right calling the Southern Baptist heroes.”
The motion was approved unanimously.
“Racism and white supremacy are, sadly, not extinct but present all over the world in various white supremacist movements, sometimes known as “white nationalism” or “alt-right,” the motion read, calling racism and ethnic hatred “a scheme of the devil.”
The vote to adopt the resolution condemning the alt-right came after initially passing on a similar proposal presented by the Rev. William Dwight McKissic, a prominent minister from Arkansas.
The original motion, which he wrote about in a blog post in May, referred to a “growing menace to political order and justice that seeks to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations.”
The “toxic menace” of alt-right and white supremacy “must be opposed for the totalitarian impulses, xenophobic biases, and bigoted ideologies that infect the minds and actions of its violent disciples,” McKissic added.
But the motion was never considered because, according to one leader from the committee that decides which resolutions to consider, the motion contained wording that implicated conservatives, including those who don’t support the “alt-right.”
That decision, however, caused backlash among several religious leaders at the conference, as well as online. One pastor tweeted that any church that could not renounce the principles of white supremacy was “dead.”