Is the SBC Policing Black Voices?

The Issue

There’s an article going around about the SBC Convention and the policing of black voices. I’d like to share some quick thoughts for clarity. I have been in communication with several key figures within the SBC about this very issue. This is what I have gathered. For the sake of brevity, resolutions that make it to the floor are always crafted by a committee. The committee for resolutions does have minorities on it. Authors are never involved in the crafting of a resolution for the floor. I’ve spoken with several key figures in SBC and all of them have told me that their own resolutions have never come as originally written and they were never involved in the crafting process for the floor. Yes, this was a special case where the President of the ERLC (Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission) stepped into a limited capacity and sought to make language stronger. For example, removing Mckissic’s section on the “Curse of Ham” does this because with it, the resolution would only apply to Alt-rights who believe that which is only a few. Yes, there is a need for more black voices in the SBC. I’ve been vocal about that to the point of great cost, but I also have to abound in love and believe the best of others without assuming motivations. Truth is important, and though I STILL have a decent amount of concerns regarding the SBC and how things transpired; I don’t think policing black voices in regards to the resolution was one of them. White-washing the resolution by loading it with self-affirmation? Quite possibly, not happy about that.

Why is this Theory so appealing? 

Because it speaks to what life is like as an African American in majority culture contexts. Our voices are indeed, often policed by the majority culture. Often, when we say what our white brothers want to hear in the way they want to hear it, we are praised and affirmed and told to keep it coming. When we say what they don’t or we don’t speak how they would like us to, they become uneasy with us and we are labeled “divisive” or spiritually immature. Though the most often term used to silence black voices is “Divisive”. It was used during the Civil Rights, it is just as common today. This article is extremely believable because though it may not be what took place in the convention, it is indeed what takes place in the daily lives of people of color who have not assimilated into the majority culture. Or, who do not speak the way people in the majority culture desire them to.”

So, is the SBC as an entity policing black voices? 
I don’t believe we can say that about this resolution and it is too early to tell about the Convention’s leadership considering it has just begun diversifying (which is late coming). I do believe on the congregational level, there is a tendency of white brothers and sisters to police the language of their black parishioners. I also found the reasoning for why the original resolution was declined, that it was “inflammatory”, to be untrue and deeply troubling. The Resolution should not have needed to be revised, though I understand why it was. I do believe there was an element of “white-washing” as the revised resolution was just as much a “pat on the back” as it was a renouncing of white supremacy. I also found that troubling. But, I do not think white-washing is the same as policing. It is indeed a fine line.

Advice:

It would be wise for all people involved, including myself, to research and study the SBC Convention and its rules and procedures before making any indictments on other Christians regarding whether or not there is policing of black brothers and sisters in the SBC taking place. The need for research should be especially considered if individuals do not belong to the SBC.
Side note: I actually attended the Convention as part of my graduate studies in Historical Theology. I am working through a class on the history of the convention and it’s policy and procedures.

About Kyle James Howard

My name is Kyle, I am married to my “high-school sweetheart” and we have 3 children. I have a 7 year-old daughter (Hadassah), a 2 year-old son (Jonah), and 1 year old (Kesed). I am 32 years old and I am currently a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I have an Associates degree in Biblical & Theological Studies, A B.S. in Biblical Counseling, and I am finishing up an Advanced M. Div in Historical Theology. Click on the "About Me" link at the top of my home page to read my full testimony.

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