He says at least five black ministers he knows have left the denomination quietly over the past year. But Ware felt it was important to speak up about his views.“For me, it’s important to articulate why I was leaving. Leaving quietly leaves the system unchanged and doesn’t force [the SBC] to address the voices of those who are marginalized,” he said.
The SBC is a national network of autonomous, predominantly white, evangelical Protestant churches. As previously reported, the denomination drew headlines in June when, at its annual meeting, its leaders initially refused to consider a resolution submitted by a black pastor that condemned white supremacy and the alt-right, a group that seeks to re-inject racism and anti-Semitism into the American conservative movement.
After significant backlash from outraged black and progressive clergy members, the delegates approved another version of the resolution the next day. The revised version was passed near unanimously.
In another serious misstep, faculty members at a Southern Baptist seminary in Texas staged a photo mimicking stereotypes of black rappers ― posing with hoodies, bandanas, chain necklaces and a gun. The university president later apologized for the photo.
Ware said what really helped him see the deep racial divisions in the SBC are surveys that show the extent to which white evangelical Protestants support Trump’s policies. A whopping 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in the past election. In April, a Pew Research Center survey found that 8 in 10 white evangelicals who attend church at least once a month approve of how the president is leading the country.
PHOTO: Oklahoma State University