*It took two votes to do it, but the Southern Baptist Convention voted late Tuesday to condemn the “alt-right” white nationalist movement.
The vote followed high drama on Tuesday as black pastors pushed back against denominational leaders who initially rejected the proposal by a two-thirds majority.
The resolution came in the wake of a presidential election that saw white supremacists and the alt-right movement galvanized under Donald Trump. Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Arlington, Texas, called on Southern Baptists gathered for their annual meeting to formally condemn the movement’s “retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries” and re-affirm its opposition to racism.
SBC Committee on Resolutions Chairman Barrett Duke told McKissic the committee had concluded his resolution had “inappropriate” and “inflammatory” language and subsequently opposed bringing it to the floor. The rejection sparked a tense debate that carried into the evening.
Below, Pastor McKissic says criticism of his resolution was “unfair” and “inappropriate.”
The heated debate on Tuesday night prompted the convention to draw up a new resolution, which was voted in on Wednesday afternoon.
Race relations are an extremely sensitive issue within the Southern Baptist Convention. The denomination was founded in 1845, when it split from other Baptists who opposed slavery. The denomination did not formally rebuke its past until 1995, when Southern Baptists voted to repent and apologize for their history of racism, support of slavery and failure to stand firmly in opposition to white supremacy.