What has happened in Orlando is wrong on so many levels and is indicative of deep issues in our society. I have talked about radical and non-radical Islam before. I have talked about terrorism and tolerance before. I do not want to do so again.
All I want to say is this: Bless those who have lost people they loved, may they be comforted and loved. Bless us flawed people who have to try to figure out how this all works, may we have wisdom and compassion and firm resolve to do what is right. And even bless those who are so flawed they think violence is toward others is the way to stop the violence in their own hearts, may they be made still and whole.
So, I was talking to my friend at lunch that I did not want to have to write a God's Mote about the Orlando Event but I didn't know what else I could talk about.
That's when the SBC gives me such a wonderful gift:
Good. Wonderful. It is about Blessed Time!
Look, I know the SBC. I grew up hard right SBC in a little Alabama community. I have worked for the SBC. I know that even getting this far is a big step.
The original version of the statement was very very soft. The resolution that got passed was better. But...
Here is the full text
WHEREAS, SBC President Ronnie Floyd has rallied Southern Baptists to “rise up and cry out against racism that still exists in our nation and in our churches,” recognizing we are in a “desperate hour” that calls us to “replace these evils with the beauty of grace and love”; and
WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention repudiated “historic acts of evil, such as slavery,” and committed “to eradicate racism in all its forms from Southern Baptist life and ministry”; and
WHEREAS, In more recent resolutions the Southern Baptist Convention called “all Christian men and women to pray and labor for the day when our Lord will set all things right and racial prejudice and injustice will be no more” (2014) and expressed continued grief “over the presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation” (2015); and
WHEREAS, More than 20 percent (nearly eleven thousand) of our cooperating Southern Baptist congregations identify as predominately non-Anglo and for the last two years more than 50 percent of Southern Baptist new church plants are predominately non-Anglo; and
WHEREAS, We recognize that the Confederate battle flag is used by some and perceived by many as a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism, offending millions of people; and
WHEREAS, We recognize that, while the removal of the Confederate battle flag from public display is not going to solve the most severe racial tensions that plague our nation and churches, those professing Christ are called to extend grace and put the consciences of others ahead of their own interests and actions (1 Corinthians 8:9–13; 10:23; Philippians 2:3–4); and
WHEREAS, The state of South Carolina, with the support of state Baptist leaders, responded to the tragic slayings on June 17, 2015, of nine precious believers at Mother Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston by removing the Confederate battle flag from their Capitol grounds and placing it in preservation at a military museum in Columbia; and
WHEREAS, Oklahoma Baptist University recently removed an image of the Confederate battle flag from its campus chapel; now, therefore, be it
RESOVLED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, commend the governmental officials of South Carolina, Baptist leaders in that state, and the Oklahoma Baptist University administration for their sensitivity and for fostering unity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we acknowledge both the importance of remembering family heritage and sacrifice, as well as the urgency of pursuing a unified Body of Christ and racial healing in America; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call our brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display of the Confederate battle flag as a sign of solidarity of the whole Body of Christ, including our African-American brothers and sisters; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we urge fellow Christians to exercise sensitivity so that nothing brings division or hinders the unity of the Body of Christ to be a bold witness to the transforming power of Jesus.
"We recognize that the Confederate battle flag is used by some and perceived by many as a symbol..."
Nope. Perception is not the issue here. Use is not the issue. The Confederate battle flag (and indeed all symbols of the Confederacy) IS a symbol of hatred, bigotry, and racism. Not to mention treason. Not to mention elitism.
You can think "ironic" means things like rain on your wedding day but it does not. It means uncannily incongruent. Like hateful Christians.
You can want it to be part of your so-called "heritage." I understand. Much to my everlasting shame there is one of those novelty pictures of me in a Confederate uniform out there somewhere. But think about what that heritage really is and if that is really what you want to be seen as.
Sadly, some people will say that they do indeed want to be part of that legacy.
So let me move on to the next problem: "discontinue display."
Not "discontinue reverence for" or "discontinue use of" but just "discontinue display."
That's kind of like saying "Don't stop being Nazis, just stop wearing the swastika."
And if you don't think that the Confederate Battle Flag is just as much as symbol of hatred and evil as the Nazi swastika you have been told a very edited version of history.
So praises to the SBC for this resolution. I think it could have been stronger, but maybe they think they have covered that sufficiently in the resolutions mentioned.
Maybe this is one of those things that people who love me keep saying about being sensitive and accommodating to people where they are so you can move them forward.
Maybe I just think you can never condemn hate enough.