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Race Is No Longer an Issue? or, Maybe My SBC Friends Will Rethink Our Progress

Recently Dwight McKissic raised issue with a Texas Baptist pastor who was against Mitt Romney before he was for him. He noted that once Romney won the nod for the Republican Presidential nomination, said pastor softened his rhetoric and amped up his support. In the piece, Dwight reminded his readers the SBC refused to consider his resolution decrying racism contained in Mormon documents.

The comments betrayed the commenters when it landed on an SBC blog. Many seemed incredulous that Dwight would dare play the race card. We have moved on.  “Why can’t he move on,” seemed to bubble to the surface. It appears my SBC friends may need to rethink the progress we think we have made – at least in our Country. And, I would imagine since the SBC allies so strongly with the Republican party we need to reconsider the matter in our own ranks.

Tad Delay pointed to research released that calls into question the notion we have gotten better with regard to racial sentiments in our Country. Tad begins his post noting the news,

Walter Benjamin once famously said, “Every fascism is an index of a failed revolution.” This is the type of thing that naturally concerns anyone interested in the health of a society. Tavis Smiley rightly predicted this would be the most racist election since the ’60s (voter suppression and all). By now everyone has heard of the research showing Obama lost 2-4% because of race in 2008, and a new poll by AP shows the problem is getting worse. It’s no surprise that anti-black attitudes rise during the past 4 years. Sad, but not surprising at all.

Maybe one could argue that the way Mormon doctrine evolves they do not hold the racist positions they once did. But it appears those sentiments among our wider population do not die easily.

I wonder what my friend Alan Cross would say about this news as he continues writing on the issue of race in the South.

What do you make of the report? Of the notion we have made progress in matters of race?

Those of you who pastor, especially in the SBC, what do you do with the apparent latent racism that lies underneath perceptions the issue has passed? How will you address the hearts of those with whom you share life that you know well fit the described percentages?

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  • John Elam

    Todd,
    I wonder if we make this issue to ‘thin’ we we only speak of race. For many I believe the issue is also one of culture. Power moves and self Identification have led the lives of majority/minority populations to develop in isolation culturally. While I can’t recall the exact quote Merkel announced a few years back the death of multiculturalism. For many race is the charge when the underlying issue is cultural preferences. Music, family roles, socio-economic status, food, housing all play together to isolate and then further identify us with our own kind. This goes beyond race.

    I would suggest that our embrace of the other needs to go deeper than “am
    I a racist? No! Glad we settled that.” and actually push into embracing my neighbor, the other, as Christ has embraced me. One allows us to check the box of non-racist and then be affirmed with our “one black friend” and look deeper at the things which divide us from each other.

  • Guy Rittger

    I’m going to have to go with Todd on this one. Racism is alive and flourishing in the United States, if not in the ways we stereotypically think of racism. Take, for example, Mitt Romney’s unguarded remark to wealthy donors about the “47%” of Americans who are “dependent on government, who believe that they are victims,…” To anyone with historical memory, Romney’s comment evokes Reagan’s “welfare queens” and the widely held tendency in white circles (affluent and otherwise) to equate “victimization” and “dependency” with Blacks and Latinos. Indeed, the entire discourse of illegal immigration is essentially a racialist discourse.

    It is telling, to me, that, as far as we know, nobody in Romney’s audience publicly objected to his characterization, no doubt because they shared his sentiments.

    And the GOP doesn’t have a monopoly on racism. It is fully institutionalized within our government, as well as our legal, healthcare and financial systems. How else to account for the shocking statistics on the disproportionate incarceration of people of color, the huge discrepancy in wealth and access to economic resources, the major gaps in adult mortality rates, etc.

    That such deeply ingrained tendencies would manifest themselves within the SBC and its congregations, in any number of ways, and given the denomination’s unfortunate history, should surprise nobody. That they are utterly inconsistent with the Gospels, should go without saying.

    Which is why my constant refrain is for Christians to liberate themselves from the false consciousness of American nationalism / exceptionalism, and submit their leaders and would-be leaders to the litmus test of Jesus’ teachings. And not just on the “pet” issues of abortion, homosexuality, and school prayer, but on the full range of issues where love of neighbor must be brought to the fore.

    Respectfully

    • http://www.toddlittleton.net Todd Littleton

      Guy,
      Glad you amplified my point in a way that I should have in my post or first reply.

  • Tom Parker

    It was said:”My overall contention is we have not progressed as much as we convince ourselves we have. Remember your comments on Dwight’s post. When challenged by CB, you softened a bit. Then he and others came and illustrated your very point.”

    CB and the others treated Dwight in a horrible way and I’m sure he will get no apology from these guys.

    The way especially CB questions President Obama’s salvation is beyond the pale and he also calls him a Neo-pagan. It is not their call and it is divisive. But do they care if they divide us?

    I’ll call these guys what they are–BULLY’S!

    I think there is only one opinion and that it must be there’s.

    They are making things worse and not better in the SBC.

    Shame on them. Racism is alive and well in the SBC.

    I find it hard to believe SBC leaders who have taught me and others for years that Mormonism is a cult can know turn around and vote for Mitt Romney.

    I cry hypocrisy.

  • Tom Parker

    Todd:

    You said to me:” I do expect charity and decorum.”

    And please call me out if I am not.

    • http://www.toddlittleton.net Todd Littleton

      Tom,
      My comment, while in response to you, was really a general expectation for all comments and commenters.

      I appreciate your contribution and attitude here.

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